Six Latina climate activists you are going to want to meet

Six Latina climate activists you are going to want to meet. 1

Wikimedia / Twitter / Telemundo

It’s about time that Latina climate activists got a moment in the spotlight. Mainstream calls to protect the environment and fight global climate change do not always include the hard truths about environmental injustice. But when these women call for change, they speak about the lived experience that is the result of inaction.

Bad environmental policy and failures to hold polluters accountable have a disproportionate effect on working-class people and on communities of color. The Latino community is more vulnerable to the effects of pollution and climate change because of where many live and work. 68% of Latinos in the US live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. And over half of Latinos live in states which are already experiencing serious negative effects linked to climate change, like drought, record-breaking heat, and flooding.

It should come as no surprise that more and more members of Latino communities are calling for action on climate change and environmental responsibility. Here are six Latina climate activists who are leading the way.

Yessenia Funes

Latina climate activist and reporter Yessenia Funes. 

As a reporter for Gizmodo’s Earther, Yessenia Funes reports on “the intersection where race and the environment meet.” This Latina climate activist educates the public through her writing.

Salvadorian-American and queer-identified, Funes looks into how climate change has a more severe effect on marginalized communities. Working from a mix of hard science and breaking news, her recent work covered topics like how Trump’s border wall threatens wildlife, emerging technology to help framers generate clean energy while growing food, and how Hurricane Laura reveals environmental injustice.

Vanessa Hauc

Latina climate activist and reporter Vanessa Hauc.

Emmy Award-winning climate reporter Vanessa Hauc is a senior correspondent on Telemundo. When she didn’t see climate stories being reported in Spanish, this Peruvian made that her focus. Hauc heads up Planeta Tierra, a news unit of Telemundo which covers the climate crisis and how it affects Latin American countries. Whether it’s the impact of a natural disaster or a conversation with the Pope, she travels right to the action.

Because of her priority on spreading awareness to vulnerable groups, Hauc has become a vital source of information for Latinos living in the US. This Latina climate activist has worked with The Climate Reality Project and Vice President Al Gore. Hauc also co-founded Sachamama or “Mother Jungle,” an organization that works to “empower and educate the Latino community on climate issues and sustainable attitudes.”

And Vanessa Hauc knows that one of the most important parts of climate activism is voting.

Jamie Margolin

Screenshot / Zero Hour countdown clock

Jamie Margolin helps organize and lead climate awareness events. This Colombian-American activist from Seattle is a co-founder of Zero Hour, which focuses on youth activism.

Raising awareness and demanding action from elected officials, Zero Hour runs a countdown clock for the time we have left to make meaningful changes to combat climate change. “We cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish.”

This Jewish and queer Latina climate activist has even testified to congress about the climate crisis.

Francia Márquez

Latina climate activist and reporter Francia Márquez.


Winner of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, Francia Márquez focusses on where environmental activism intersects with human rights, specifically in the way these issues affect Afro-Colombians like herself. She organized and led a ten-day march from the Cauca Mountains to Bogotá, where she and 80 other women spent three weeks protesting an illegal mining operation.

In the face of death threats from the miners, Márquez and the other women stayed until national attention forced the government to create a task force to end illegal mining.

Samarys Seguinot-Medina

Screenshot / Twitter

Samarys Seguinot-Medina made an early splash in environmental justice when she founded the Sierra Club chapter on her native island home of Puerto Rico. Focussed on the intersection of health and the environment, this Latina climate activist has traveled a long way to her current work.

As the environmental health program director for the Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), Seguinot-Medina connects the work of the ACAT research team with the communities on St. Lawrence Island and other Alaska Native tribes.

Alexandria Villaseñor

Latina climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor.


If the name Alexandria Villaseñor sounds familiar, it may be because of her recent appearance among the speakers of the Democratic National Convention. This teenage Latina climate activist has protested in front of the United Nations and held climate strikes in even the most extreme weather. Villaseñor has stood with Jamie Margolin and world-renowned climate strike leader Greta Thunberg to demand better climate policy.

Villaseñor founded Earth Uprising, which organizes young people to take action towards addressing the climate crisis. “It’s a battle cry. We are young people across the world who won’t stay silent while our future is destroyed.” She regularly posts ways that activists can work to protect vulnerable populations from environmental injustice.

Disclaimer: This sponsored article was produced and distributed in partnership with Latino Victory Project, in support of the Vote Like a Madre campaign.

You May Also Like:

Back To Front Page