My feature interviewing Ana Claudia Araujo, a plant scientist at the Natural History Museum, reveals the groundbreaking, pioneering work she is doing to discover as many plants around the world as quickly as possible before they become extinct in the face of climate change adversities. She is starting with Brazil where she grew up and contains some of the richest biodiversity in the world, many of which are unknown. This means we don’t know how the decline or extinction of one species could impact an entire ecosystem there. However, the story aims to be a positive one, highlighting that there are specialists out there working on fighting climate change issues in an attempt to curb the climate-change-anxiety experienced by the audience (general public).
The focus on the story was equally as much about Ana Claudia’s home - a once-beautiful and pristine island in southern Brazil - as well as her research. The audience are drawn to human-focused stories as opposed to scientific investigations, so it was important that I included details of Ana Claudia’s childhood and family life. This elicited a sense of connection between the readers and the subject, and compassion for her plight to save the fast-declining nature in her hometown. The story is also on-going research and therefore will be current news for a long time.
Natural science is still predominantly white, middle-class and male but things are slowly changing. I am seeing some diversity in the PhD students working at the museum and interviewing a woman of colour was important to me and therefore a deliberate choice for us. Writing a story about a woman of colour encourages other women and people of colour who may be interested in working in natural science to explore it further.