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Aspen CORE Seeks To Engage Local Latinos In ‘Stories of Climate Change’ Project

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COURTESY OF THE COMMUNITY OFFICE FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENCY (CORE)
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As part of a valley-wide art installation launching in early March, Aspen CORE is inviting two hundred community members from all walks of life to submit their photographs and audio stories about their experience of climate change.

The Community Office For Resource Efficiency (CORE) is launching a valley-wide art installation to tell the story of climate change, in partnership with a host of local organizations, including Colorado Mountain College. 

The community mural project “Stories of Climate Change/Historias del Cambio Climático” is a part of both CORE’s third annual Imagine Climate series and the Inside Out Project created by renowned muralist JR

Community members are invited to join in the project by submitting a selfie and a voice recording in the language of their choice about their experience of climate change. Participant’s photos and stories will be displayed on the outside of Colorado Mountain College campus buildings in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs beginning in early March. 

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui

Glenwood Springs resident Carlos Ulloa-Jaquez joined the project team last year as a site designer, and he’s been working alongside local leader Beatriz Soto and others to help with outreach to make sure Latinos from all walks of life are included in the project. To get the word out, their team will be hosting community Zoom sessions and working with Spanish radio stations and news organizations including La Tricolor and El Montañés. 

“As a Spanish-speaking Latino myself, I think it's very important that we keep reaching out to the Latino community so that they feel included in everything that every organization does, and also so that we can hear their stories,” Ulloa-Jaquez said. “We really haven't been giving them a platform for them to raise their voices as to how they’ve been affected by climate change.” 

Ulloa-Jaquez also emphasized the importance of recognizing that “the Latino community” is not a monolith, and that is especially true when it comes to an issue like climate change. 

“Probably some of them truly believe in climate change and some of them don't believe in climate change,” he said. “And then we have some people in the Latino community who probably need to have the opportunity to have education and really know why the climate is changing or why it is warmer or why there's a lack of water.” 

In his 30 years living in the Roaring Fork Valley, Ulloa-Jaquez has seen the change in climate when it comes to snow and rain in recent years. But for the project, he said he will be submitting a story about the first ten years of his life growing up in Chihuahua, Mexico and he will be doing it in Spanish. 

“That way hopefully a few people from the Latino community can identify with my story and relate to it,” he said.  

The small city where Ulloa-Jaquez grew up is somewhat of a desert area, and now he says there is even less water than before. 

“When I was a little kid we used to have a lot more rainfall and we used to have this little river that crosses through the middle of the city,” he said. “And by the time I was a teenager, there was nothing, it was totally dry.”

Growing up, Ulloa-Jaquez remembers filling buckets with a day’s worth of water in the early mornings because that was the only time residents were able to get running water. 

“The planet is warming up and it's becoming a little bit more difficult to live,” he said. “We as humans keep adapting, but I think once we adapt we forget about the challenges that we're facing everyday.”

Ulloa-Jaquez looks forward to hearing others’ stories and hopes the mural can help community members find common ground on an important issue. 

“At the end of the day, climate affects us all regardless of our race or language or any thing that you want to classify us by,” he said. 

In a recent statement CORE’s Imagine Climate project director Lara Whitley agreed.

“It’s going to take all of us pulling in the same direction to restore the climate. We can’t do that by leaving 30% of our valley out of the conversation — especially a population that cares about and is motivated to address climate change. By including and representing all in the community, Stories/Historias will inspire people to see and feel what a just, equitable and inclusive future can look like.”

CORE is accepting the first 200 community member submissions through Jan. 20. 

 

Disclaimer: Aspen Public Radio is a community partner in the “Stories of Climate Change/Historias del Cambio Climático” project by CORE and will be assisting with audio production.