“Latino voices need to be heard,” said Brenda Gallegos, conservation associate for Hispanic Access Foundation. “As a council, we’re all bringing our different backgrounds, lived experiences, and expertise to focus on how we can work together to uplift our comunidades. Seeing this community of dedicated climate leaders come together from all over the country showcases their commitment to the council and it represents how much they value the importance of climate justice.”
To kick off the convening, the council members hiked at El Yunque National Forest and were able to network and chat in-person for the first time, listening and learning from each other to create a community of collaboration. They also visited and volunteered at a local cacao farm and learned about agroforestry in Puerto Rico and how it can help with the local biodiversity.
Lastly, council members visited Interamericana de Puerto Rico Recinto Metropolitano and talked to local students about the importance of getting involved in a conservation career and why it’s so important to advocate for our environment. They also distributed fact sheets on climate Justice to the group with resources.
“After two years of meeting virtually, we finally got the opportunity to meet in person,” said Luis Vidal, Latino Climate Council member. “I believe it is important for us to meet in person to form these connections that we’ve already been making since day one. We got to meet other leaders, share ideas organically on the ground and connect with other people. This feels like the organic kick off for the council into 2023 as we come with new challenges, goals, connections and a new will power based off meeting in person.”
The Latino Climate Council was formed in 2022 by Hispanic Access to serve as an advisory council on the subject of climate change and to help us navigate the complex, intersectional nature of climate change and just transition policy and Latino communities.