‘It’s up to all of us’: Local advocacy leaders on the path to environmental and climate justice
Our public lands are at the heart of what makes Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley a unique place, but many people face barriers to enjoying them. At the same time, climate change has arrived — although it’s not impacting everyone equally.
Local advocacy leaders, including Beatriz Soto and Omar Sarabia, are working to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to create more-equitable access to the outdoors.
“It’s a challenge for us to educate and inform the Latino community that public lands are for us as well, and the Latino community doesn’t have enough representation or familiar faces in environmental programs,” said Omar Sarabia, director of Wilderness Workshop’s program Defiende Nuestra Tierra (Defend Our Land). “As the new director, I am trying to be that familiar face.”
Started by local nonprofit Wilderness Workshop in 2018, Defiende Nuestra Tierra is a Latinx-led environmental advocacy program that focuses on protecting and increasing access to public lands.
The program’s previous director, Beatriz Soto, is now the Protégete director at Conservation Colorado. “Protégete” means “Protect yourself,” and the program advocates for equitable access to a healthy environment.
“Environmental justice is intersectional, too, right? Who has access to affordable housing? Who has access to affordable child care and health care?” Soto said. “All of these are intertwined with the amount of time that people can spend outside and participate civically in our democracy, in our community.”
Aspen Public Radio recently talked with Beatriz Soto and Omar Sarabia about the path to environmental and climate justice.
Listen to the conversation above.