Aqui Estamos: Celebrating Latino Conservation Leadership

January 14, 2016

Much has been discussed about the need to diversify the environmental movement, because it is the right thing to do (everybody should have access to clean air and water) and because it is the smart thing to do (a broader base will help us win). Here in California and elsewhere on the West Coast, demographic changes have put Latino

Since 2013, I have been traveling the West to meet Latino conservationists creating parks, fighting for clean air and water, and battling fracking and natural gas plants. I have been working with Resource Media to amplify their stories and capture their insights as part of a project called La Madre Tierra.

We sat down for dozens of interviews and spoke with over a hundred people.

Why? Call us eternal optimists, but despite the real challenges, we still believe a diverse and inclusive environmental movement is our best bet to meet the challenges confronting the world today.

Two years later, we are proud to be able share what we have heard and learned about the challenges and barriers Latino conservation leaders have encountered, as well as the opportunities for mainstream environmental funders and nonprofits to engage them in more authentic and constructive ways.

Our new report, which we’re calling The Verde Paperis a celebration of Latino environmental pioneers and grassroots voices, as well as an invitation to established environmental organizations to collaborate as allies.

We are not sugar coating or ignoring barriers to engagement, but we are celebrating victories brought about by collaboration, as well as the lessons we can learn from them. Still, there is no recipe for instant bonding. Our interviews and our experience indicates that relationships are at the heart of successful campaigns. We’re hoping The Verde Paper might give some of you a starting point, and others, the inspiration to deepen existing relationships.

Want to start some conversations? Support community based organizations in your area? You’re in luck! We are also publishing a an evolving list of grassroots Latino environmental organizations you can connect with.


Marce Gutierrez-Graudins

For more information on the Verde Paper and La Madre Tierra, go to