Focusing on Race, Gender and Environment at the Sierra Club


Tell us a little about your experience as a child in Puerto Rico and your relationship with the land.

My uncle had a house in the back of Yunque National Forest, and it’s where we celebrate all the important days from Three Kings Day to Mother’s Day to Holy Week, so it’s definitely a place I stay in touch with. that direction. I was a scout too, so my family used to go camping.

And my mother had a great influence. She was a nun, and although I didn’t focus on religious rites, she made a liturgical call. He was also a scientist and there was an ecology club at the school I went to. He was a teacher there and we were recycling when there wasn’t that much recycling.

How does the organization think about balancing conservation and climate change?

I can say both are the same. Over the last 10 years, the Sierra Club has focused a lot on transforming itself into an organization with fairness and equity at its core. This is important to realize because for many years the environmental movement and the environmental justice movement did not necessarily work together.

When we go somewhere, we want to make sure that we are invited and that there is an emphasis on bottom-up organisation. That there is a spirit of reciprocity and solidarity and that we are inclusive and also share resources. It’s our commitment to transformation at the Sierra Club that allows us to be better allies and better partners so we’re expanding the movement rather than just leading it.

We are an organization that aims to be a much better ally than we have been in the past. With that comes the acknowledgment of where we may have done harm in the past, where we are in the progressive movement, and the connection to other parts of the movement – ​​environmental rights are human rights, justice rights, gender rights and reproductive rights. .

You said conservation and climate change are basically the same thing, but more and more often we see these two things in real conflict from time to time, for example offshore wind farms or large transmission lines running through relatively undisturbed land. How should we now weigh the relative merits of each of these causes?

The climate crisis is the greatest threat in human history. There is also no doubt that everything humans do has a consequence in the natural environment. So I think the most important part is that science takes the lead in developing strategies and actions. Of course, renewable energy projects can have consequences and negative effects. But these are much less than fossil fuels.


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