To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we are taking the opportunity to highlight Latinx leaders working in conservation who inspire us!
First up, we are fortunate to hear from Regina Romero, the Mayor of Tucson, Arizona. We asked her to share about how her conservation goals have shaped her career and about her experiences as a Latina working in conservation.
As the daughter of immigrant farmworkers who were exposed to extreme heat and pesticides, I have and continue to advocate for climate and environmental justice. For 12 years I represented Tucson’s Ward 1 on the City Council, where I championed water and pristine land conservation policies, advanced infill and transit-oriented development, and supported immigrant and workers’ rights. In November 2019, I became the first woman and first Latina Mayor in Tucson. As Mayor, in addition to keeping Tucsonans safe during the global health crisis, I have also been addressing the climate crisis by declaring a local Climate Emergency that commits Tucson to become a net zero city by 2030.
Latinx have always been conservationists, even if we didn’t always use that title. Our abuelas taught us to use renewable off-the-grid energy to dry our clothes in tendederos, to reuse our yogurt and jam containers, and to plant trees and grow vegetables in our homes. I continue to draw inspiration from my elders and from leaders such as Dolores Huerta, whose work intersects the environmental justice, labor rights and feminist movements. As a woman of color, to me “conservation” means holistically addressing racial, environmental, and other social justice issues.
Stay tuned to hear from more Latinx leaders in conservation this month!