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Óscar Romo

Óscar Romo

Fundador | Alter Terra

Oscar was raised on a ranch in rural Mexico and from an early age learned to appreciate the value of conserving natural resources from an anthropological perspective. Later, in college Oscar joined the Jesuit Order and as a seminarian was able to launch and lead various programs utilizing very limited resources to improve conditions in areas that lacked basic services. At this young age, he was put in challenging situations, living by himself in remote communities with no support or communication, where he needed to implement community solutions by empowering the community. It was during this period that he first explored the opportunity of trash revalorization by utilizing discarded products in the construction of water supply and sewer systems to bring potable drinking water to impoverished villagers. Oscar also worked on similar projects in Africa and the Caribbean during this time.

After earning degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning, from La Salle University in Mexico and Complutense University in Madrid, Oscar launched an IT company, where he understood the importance of involving diverse stakeholders in every process. Oscar worked for the United Nations and later the Border Environmental Commission (BECC), and in between, earned a doctorate degree in Environmental Sciences from La Salle University in Louisiana. Afterwards, he served as a delegate to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and worked as a researcher at Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF). After working with government and multinational organizations for many years, Oscar decided it was time to take efforts into his own hands, and he founded Alter Terra. He is now fully committed to the development of the organization and teaches Sustainable Development and Urban World Systems courses at the University of California San Diego.

Oscar has been recognized for his work through many awards, such as the California State Parks “Managers Award” 2006; the City of Tijuana “Environmental Conservation Award” 2007; the NOAA, “Wetlands Conservation Award” 2007; U.S. EPA, “Environmental Hero” 2007; Urban Land Institute, “Smart Growth Award” 2008; Urban Land Institute, “Visionary Award” 2009, Urban Land Institute, “Best of the Decade, Smart Growth Award” 2010, the San Diego Coastkeeper, “Coastal Champion Award” 2012, and the Mexican Consulate Award for “Remarkable Mexican-Americans who have made a difference in San Diego,” for his work to conserve the Tijuana River Valley, 2012.