September 19, 2022 /
Christina Hester

Latinx Environmentalists to Celebrate

September 15th marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize and highlight the contributions of Lanitx people through their history, culture, and achievements. Join us as we honor environmentalists in the Latinx community and share some of their amazing accomplishments.

Bertha Zúñiga was born in 1990, the daughter of Honduran environmental and social leader Berta Cáceres, who relentlessly fought the construction of the Agua Zarca dam in the Gualcarque River – on behalf of the Lenca indigenous community and their sacred territories in Honduras’s southwestern zone.  Even after the tragic assassination of her mother, Zúñiga continues in her mother’s activist footsteps and has even filled her position of general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). The organization fights for the environmental, cultural, social, health, economic and educational rights of Honduras’s largest indigenous group, the Lenca people.

Elizabeth Yeampierre is an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader. She is currently Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, and the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. Born and raised in New York City, and of African and Indigenous ancestry, Yeampierre is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around sustainable development, environmental and racial justice, and community-led climate adaptation and resilience.

Winner of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize and formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez became a local leader who took on the fight for environmental rights, successfully stopping the illegal gold mining on their ancestral land in La Toma. She also educated farmers in her region on sustainable agricultural techniques as well as joined the national Afro-Colombian network to promote Afro-Colombian cultural and land rights. In June of this year, Colombians elected their first leftist president, making his running mate, Francia Márquez, Colombia’s first ever Black vice president.

Mark Magaña is the founding president and CEO of Green Latinos, an organization that works bring together a community of Latinx leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of their culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, as well as win their environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles. Mark was also the first Latino to serve as senior staff at both the White House and in Congressional leadership, and he currently serves on the boards of the League of Conservation Voters, Green 2.0, and the Children’s Environmental Health Network. 

Stay connected with us as we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage throughout the month and share amazing stories and accomplishments of the powerful environmentalists in the Latinx community.