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Isa Buenfil van Rijs

What’s your story? 

Born and raised in Mexico I grew up in one of the most touristic cities in the world: Cancun a.k.a.the spring break paradise. Here my mom, a Dutch backpacker, met a random Mexican dude enjoying a beer at a terrace, same one who would become my father. Fast-forward and there I was, in this warm and beautiful Caribbean town where I enjoyed my youth until I was ready to leave my home go off to the world. The road was bumpy but in the end it just took me several existential crises and changing Bachelors 3 times to end up in the cold and rainy Amsterdam. After 3 years in this city I have come to love this place, regardless of its weather, for I have met incredible people who have challenged everything that I took for granted and pushed me to experience new and different things. As for now, I just have the single goal of graduating as soon as possible, hopefully leaving many seeds in the process, and then, we will see, maybe I’ll finally escape the tourists. 


Your guilty pleasure?

Driving. Even when I know that the gas pushing me forward is powered by fossil fuels, when I amp-up the music and put the windows down on a sunny day I can easily forget the ecological crisis. It is terribly, but that’s the whole point of a guilty pleasure right? 

What’s your favorite social / environmental project and why?

Although it is quite a controversial social movement I have a lot of respect for the “Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional”. This movement sprung in the late 90s as a protest against the implementation of the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Movement) and to raise awareness surrounding the precarious realities faced by millions of indigenous communities in Mexico. The reason why I have admiration for this project is that they challenged common forms of organizations and looked for alternative ways of social cohesion that dismantled multiple forms of oppression (class, gender, race). Since then, they have successfully created sustainable and autonomous communities that life in accordance with principles of harmony and respect that are aimed not only towards society but also towards nature.

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