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Maribel Lopez

Administrative Director

Madrid, Spain

I was born in Madrid, and for the most part of my life, I have also resided there. A few years ago, I moved to the island of Majorca, in the Mediterranean Sea. It was then that I realised how important the ocean was to me. I love to sail, to learn about the flora and fauna of our oceans and to enjoy their beaches.

I’ve always been interested in nature, which is probably why I left my job in an advertising agency to contribute through my work to the defense of the environment with Greenpeace, where I learned to understand the principles of defending nature, in which I’ve always believed, and to do something to protect it.

During those years, I had the opportunity to enjoy wonderful moments, such as in 1994, when the Antarctic Ocean was declared a whale sanctuary, and very tragic moments, including the dumping of mining chemical waste from Aznalcollar (1998), which reached the Doñana Natural Park, the oil spill of the tanker Erika (1999), which affected a large portion of the beaches in the north of Spain and the repairing of the nuclear submarine Tireless in Gibraltar (2000). Probably one of the most emotional moments I have had was in 2000, when a small fleet of ships surrounded the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington in the bay of Palma de Mallorca, asking it to leave because of the danger it represented. There were all kinds of boats present, and after several hours surrounding it, we were able to make it leave. It was a magical moment when people from different nationalities joined together to peacefully protect a small part of our oceans.

The conservation of nature is fundamental. The seas and the marine ecosystem are the principal link in the chain of life, and we should never forget that we humans are only another link in the same chain.
In 2002, the Prestige accident occurred in the North of Spain, which was a huge environmental disaster. Incidentally, a few months later I was offered a job at Oceana, where I will be able to contribute a small grain of sand to spreading the word about the need to protect our oceans. It will also allow me to enjoy myself while learning, and at the same time I will be part of a great team of professionals who share the same concerns that I have.