“PODER is where I got to learn about how to work for solutions that are environmentally based. And how to stay connected with Mother Earth in my everyday life.” Mariana spoke about how she got her start in EJ work, through a friend who invited her to PODER. ) “I told her about how my mom has been working around grassroots for most of my life and how that really shaped my values and shaped my life,” explained Mariana.
In CJA’s Youth Video, Mariana talks about how mental health and environmental justice intersect. “An example I would use is that I live in California, a place that has a “fire season” because of the fires that keep happening around the same time every year,” said Mariana. “Though not all start naturally, some are human caused and due to the dry lands during the fall, they spread really fast and become catastrophic. It impacts communities, people lose homes…wildlife loses habitats,” says Mariana.
“The air is also filled with more CO2 and it affects lands and their neighboring cities and our health, not to mention the earth’s health. People lose a part of themselves and it doesn’t just impact us physically but internally. We face so much loss of land and loved ones that it takes a toll on our mental health.”
“Youth can get involved by joining organizations, spreading awareness and even just being more thoughtful about how their actions impact the earth and all who live in it,” Mariana shared some tips for youth looking to be a part of EJ Movements. “I think it’s important that youth know that our future is determined by what we do. The damage that continues to be done by people in power is affecting us and the land.”
To hear more from Mariana Rodriguez, check out CJAs Frontline Youth Video, and visit our Youth Highlights Blog to read the full interview here: https://climatejusticealliance.org/workgroup/youth/