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Scrapbook: Beautiful Memories of La Isla del Encanto

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

June 23, 2008

Beautiful Memories of La Isla del Encanto

According to the first national Latino survey on global warming, more than 80 percent of Latinos say they have received information about global warming and 73 percent say they would be willing to take political measures to protect the environmental and fight global warming.

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Thus, Latinos and Latinas around the country are ready to take action to protect the environment.  Latinos in Puerto Rico seem to be leading the effort. This year, a Puerto Rican activist, Rosa Hilda Ramos, won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award for organizing the community to take action against corporate polluters. To this, we can add the extraordinary activism of the Puerto Rican Chapter, the first Spanish speaking chapter, which after only four years, already has 650 members. These members won the battle against the development of a resort in the conservation area of the Northeast Ecological Corridor. In addition, every year the chapter organizes an Earth Day Festival (Festival del Tinglar) and every weekend its outings program holds excursions with and average of 35 people per trip.

Activism in Puerto Rico is about conservation, environmental justice and a deep emotional connection to nature.

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While I was there supporting the organizing of the Earth Day Festival, I missed a fabulous night excursion to the San Patricio Park. Evalexa Tomei, the leader of this excursion, enthusiastically described the outing to me.  “We stood by looking at the different kinds of snails nearby a trash can.  People were amazed at how many species there were. We continued walking and we saw different species of frogs named coquis, different sized spiders grabbing food from their webs, a few glow-worms flying around, a big frog, lizards sleeping on trees or leaves, and heard an owl. The highlight of the night was when we found a snake, a boa puertorriqueña, which is an endangered species of Puerto Rico. At this point, everyone was really excited! We learned a few facts like her weight, age and length. After taking pictures and observing the boa… she was returned to the wild… and we went home happy!”

Indeed, Evalexa is content with her volunteer work at the Club as were the rest of the volunteers that expressed their love for the outdoors to me. I asked some of them, why they work to protect the environment, and these are some of their answers:

“Because nature is life.”
José Gilberto, 77 years old

“Because we need to create a sense of consciences, we are running out of time, we need to take immediately action.” 
Alberto Luis, 57 years old

“Because we need to protect nature. It is indispensable to our existence.”
Yesarí, 26 years old

“Because to enter nature is to enter peace.”
Juana, 57 years old

Guest written by Isabel Long, Associate Representative for Latino Partnerships

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