Lorena joined Just Share in July 2021. She holds a BSc Hons in Zoology from the University of Sheffield, an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management (with distinction) from York University, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Sheffield, for which she received a number of scholarships and awards (including the Interdisciplinary Research Scholarship of the Economic & Social and Natural Environment Research Councils of the UK, and the Slawson Award of the UK Royal Geographical Society).
After her studies, Lorena worked for two years for the Working on Fire Programme, one of South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programmes, where she developed first-hand experience of the realities of adapting the country to the impacts of climate change. Thereafter, she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and then worked at the University of Cape Town (UCT) for nine years, where she is still an Honorary Research Associate. She is a World Social Science Fellow in Sustainable Urbanization (International Social Science Council) and a contributing author to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Africa chapter, section on climate change perceptions).
While at UCT, Lorena worked in various capacities, as a researcher, lecturer, consultant, research coordinator and fundraiser. Her research spanned the interrelated areas of individual, organisational and institutional change towards greater sustainability and resilience to the impacts of global changes, focusing on the “wicked problem” of climate change. The unifying theme of her research was exploring the key factors and processes that could drive transformative change in society – at various levels – towards a more sustainable and resilient future. Some of her areas of specific research work and recognised expertise on climate change include: the governance of climate change issues at local government, urban and policy-making levels; climate change psychology, engagement, communication and behaviour change; climate change risk, vulnerability and adaptation; transformations to sustainability; and climate change health impacts and vulnerability.