coffee with


Adolfo is a Strategist for the Synthesis Futures Team and double hats as a core part of the Synthesis Sustainability Lab. He enjoys bringing in perspectives from the Global South and linking the analysis to environmental considerations. In his free time, he’s looking out for birds or searching for his next destination to travel and explore.

A book I’d really recommend

Ivory, Apes & Peacocks. I stumbled upon this book right before boarding a 73-hour train and it was the best possible companion. The book delves into the exciting life of Alan Root, a documentary filmmaker who has spent the bulk of his life in the African continent. Its full of stories of ballooning over Kilimanjaro, being lost in Congo, dealing with wildlife and all other kinds of crazy things that seem worlds away from life in Singapore.

The podcast I’m listening to

Huevos Revueltos con Politica - A daily podcast delving into political, social and environmental news from Colombia. It is now a ritual to keep myself connected with the happennings of home while taking the bus to work.

The place that means a lot to me

Our family farm back at home. I was fortunate enough to grow very connected to nature. This is the place where I first started to photograph birds and learnt to ride horses. Going back to those fields with mountains in the background is my favourite thing to do in life.

I have a collection of

Elephant and tapir figurines. My favourite animals are tapirs, but finding statues of them is often impossible. Elephants have been easier finds, and now they decorate all corners of my home.

I daydream of travelling

Overland from Cairo to Nairobi. This region is incredibly diverse in its history and nature. There’s too many reasons to go: Humans are known to have evolved from this region, ruins from the ancient Egyptians and Nubians, the religious diversity of Ethiopia and all the wildlife too. It WILL happen, its just a matter of when 😛

As a child my dream was to be

A pilot. I was obsessed with planes when I was a kid (even today). We lived close to the airport and I remember spending some evenings with my dad just looking at the planes land. The idea of flying and exploring the world was too exciting.

A memory I’d like to relive is

Coming back to my host family after a day of university in Tanzania. I did a student exchange programme in the outskirts of Arusha, a small city in the north of the country. After classes I would go back to a wonderful family that took me in as one of their own. We spent our time playing around, going for long walks and eating lots of kuku choma. It’s been 5 years since but we keep in touch very regularly.

My hidden talent is

Knowing all 197 countries, their location, flags and most capitals. I’m quite geeky when it comes to geography so I’m very happy to jump into conversations around geopolitics and anything related to ongoing news in obscure little parts of the world.

My proudest achievement is

Tracking down 1200+ of the ±10,000 bird species that exist. I’m a big birdwatching fan and I love to look for birds in every new place I visit.

If I could live in a fictional universe, I would (still) pick

Planet Earth. But trying not to take it for granted. Our planet is truly wonderful. The levels of biodiversity, the wide array of landscapes and infinitely diverse lived experiences are just wild for us to comprehend. I just hope to live long enough to explore a lot of it!

I hope for a future that

Supports biodiversity and provides access to a good quality of life to everybody - regardless of where they are born.

I am most looking forward to

Showing Singapore to my family. I first moved to this island 7 years ago but I have not yet shared this part of my life with them. Eating dumplings, cycling east coast park and having them meet my friends are all part of the to-do list.

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