My name is Mireia Boya (@yeyaboya) and I am from Val d’Aran (“Aran Valley”), a small valley located at the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees. People here speak Aranese, a variant of the Occitan language which is Catalonia’s third official language
I am 33-years old and an environmental consultant in urban planning, environmental issues and landscape design and management. I studied environmental sciences at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and did my Ph.D at Université de Montréal in Québec/Canada about the social representations of the nature in protected areas, or how to integrate development and conservation policies.
I also teach at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Humanities Faculty. Currently, I am researching about geography and gender, focussing on the oral tradition of women in the Baish Aran area, the lower part of the Val d’Aran. I love to talk with grandmothers and to film them; their knowledge must be saved because it is part of our identity, like the landscape around.
I live in a little village called Les where I also run a rural tourism accommodation (www.bordaguilhamuc.com). It is my grandparents’ house, completely rehabilitated with materials, techniques and old local knowledge. With this business I am trying to develop and implement the values of sustainable tourism in rural areas. I love the mountains and the specific way of life they represent.
Moreover, I am a volunteer at the Col•legi Oficial d’Ambientòlegs de Catalunya (@COAMBcat), the professional association of environmental professionals in Catalonia, where I manage the territorial issues group. I am also chairwoman of the Women of Les association which works to achieve gender equality and empowerment in this small rural area. We still have a long way to go.
I decided to stay in Catalonia instead of emigrating like thousands of young Catalan professionals because I feel we have a moral duty to contribute to the improvement of public policies. I am doing this by using digital and social media, i.e. my blog territoriA and my Twitter profile (http://twitter.com/yeyaboya).
I hope you find my week at @CatalanVoices interesting!