February 16, 2017
Mariana López is the founder – C.E.O. of a social enterprise, The Ocean Corner, a platform to spread knowledge, collaborations, positive practices and love for the oceans. Her work, as a social entrepreneur is to ignite projects of international participation.
Currently, she’s leading an education project, partly funded by Royal Society of Arts –RSA-.
“Blue is for girls!” is at its starting point, making more visible women working for the oceans, in Art and Science around the world. The project also creates a context for them being able to collaborate together. The aim is to empower young girls to reach their dreams towards maritime fields. In Science or Art. It also envisages to meet or to know about women´s good practices around the world in this field. another goal is to lift boundaries in culture, landscape, background, languages and creativity. It is organised in pairs, collaborating from distant places, so as to recording in a short video joint work, giving talks or workshops. Activities are held face to face or Skype.
As an artist, Mariana is a fashion designer. Her theme is waste and water pollution. She upcycles second hand clothes with marine litter, that she finds cleaning the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. She is also part of the movement named Slow Fashion; her job is to repair old beautiful clothes and transform then with that litter floating in the ocean.
She was born within a family of different nationalities. As she says “they have the traveller bug” in their blood. Discovering and learning about different cultures has always been her leitmotif. Living by the sea her destiny as it is where she’s the happiest. Water is life.
For fifteen years, she was working as a personal executive assistant, for several international enterprises in a variety of fields and countries. Her job was to organize information, time and people. As she says, she really enjoyed “working within an international environment”, as it keeps her “ awake, aware and connected with others”.
Five years ago, she took a turning point in her professional career ; deciding to use her knowledge and skills to improve the community and environment, that´s is what a social enterprise is focused on. In 2015, she was awarded with one year´s scholarship and a grant by Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs that helped her to shape The Ocean Corner´s mission. And to answer her own motivations: why, how and what could she do as an individual.
In 2016, she became a fellow member of Royal Society of Arts. As such, she must keep open the channels of knowledge sharing. She underlines that she is an European citizen living in UK during this difficult time of Brexit. Thus, she presented to the RSA the project “Blue is for girls!” as a way of to carry on the connection and collaboration of people over political issues. Global problems need solutions from every individual; using of our collective intelligence.
The ocean unites people.
She chose to work for the Ocean because she’s a passionate about it, loves sailing, scuba diving, swimming, etc. She has been living for years by the seaside, in different countries. The relationship and, ways of living, of the coastal habitants with the sea have always interested her.
As a person living by the sea, who loves nature, he has also seen the fast increase of litter in the ocean. How consumer’s habits have changed at such a high speed, creating therefore the waste.
She started to clean beaches with locals, to create with that litter, to investigate where it was coming from, why it was there, how could we avoid it, how could be transformed. At the same time she was enticed to watch videos of ocean currents by the European Space Agency, to connect with mind-liked persons on social media, etc. to try to understand.
She perceives herself as a doer! A positive woman! So she has chosen to share the fabulous things being done.
As for the role of women in Sea affairs, she has the feeling that women are increasingly in relevant positions. Still, it is needed to work harder to get the higher placements and recognitions. There is a gender gap as in many other fields. As a woman, she knows it is an undeniable fact. But, she feels lucky because the women of her family, grandmother, mother, aunt, etc taught her to consider herself as an equal.
She adds that attitude, as a person, is what changes your role in life.
Men and women have a diverse way to tackle an issue and its solution. In her words “we have to make space for both approaches.”
For those women who hesitate to work in maritime affairs, she only has a word:
PS. Happy Birthday, Mariana!!Author : Atlantic Cities