Denver will host the 4th annual Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF) from October 13 – 16, 2016. The event, People & Forests First: Shades of Hope, is produced by Americas for Conservation + the Arts (AFC+A) and is co-presented by The Nature Conservancy, Sachamama, and GreenLatinos in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Amazon Aid, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Taskforce, and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
ALEF is a Latino-hosted multicultural gathering, elevating in particular the voices of communities of color, and of women in conservation and cultural leadership, fostering collaboration to better tackle environmental problems from many angles, and using art and culture to communicate environmental awareness and shared values. The four themes of this year’s ALEF include: People and Forests, Restoration and Public Lands, Acting on Climate Change, and Protecting and Honoring Environmental Fighters in the Americas and around the Globe. This year’s regions of honor will be the Amazon and Arctic National Refuge, with Puerto Rico as the country of honor.
“This year’s festival is more urgent than ever,” said Irene Vilar, founder of AFC+A and ALEF. “Our gathering comes at an historic moment in which the Latino community needs to voice their cultural heritage and shared values for the protection of our Madre Tierra and our children’s future, which depends on her health and the conservation of our natural resources. We look forward to having meaningful conversations and taking actions that will help in the conscious stewardship and conservation of our public lands and natural resources in our country and around the world.”
ALEF will welcome celebrities, artists, scientists, and community and public policy leaders of the Americas to discuss novel solutions in advancing a healthy environment, locally and globally, through advocacy, education, and engagement of culturally diverse populations.
The three-day event will include an environmental film series, leadership trainings, an eco book fair, a green impact fair, a leadership summit, and a family day full of kid and family-friendly events including a BioBlitz, an interactive and inclusive biological survey of local surroundings in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
Supporters for this year’s Festival include World Wildlife Fund, Great Outdoors Colorado, The City of Denver, Bonfils Stanton Foundation, Denver Arts & Venues, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Audubon Rockies, Amazon Aid, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, Governors’ Climate & Forests Taskforce, NRDC, Voces Verdes, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Global Greengrants Fund, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Jared Polis Foundation, National Park Foundation, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Que Bueno 1280 AM (KBNO), Telemundo Denver, among many other extraordinary partners.
WHAT: Americas Latino Eco Fest 2016: People & Forests First: Shades of Hope
WHO: Over 300 presenters and participants, and an audience of over 2000 individuals
WHEN: October 13 – 15
— IMAX Screening “Restoration” Produced by Tree Media & DiCaprio Foundation
— “Share the Love” pollinator conservation music video launch; artist Brooke Leifer, sponsored by US Forest Service
— IMAX Screening “River of Gold” Colorado Premier by Amazon Aid
— Diversifying Culture and Conservation Workshop
— Environmental Justice 25 Years Commemoration
— Special Event EJ 2016-2017 Call2Action: Puerto Rico
— Berta Caceres Tree Planting Living Memorial
— U-CAN Youth Leadership Training Program (United Cultures for Arts & Nature)
— Earth Women Rising: Launch of Latina Environmental Giving Circle
— Powering the Health of Forests & People Diálogo
— Fiesta & Nuestra Familia Awards
— #NatureArtsRx Family Day
— Colorado Rewild Book Fair
— Indigenous Voices & Ancestral Knowledge Special Event
— #DiscoverMiTierra BioBlitz: 4th Graders in a Citizen Science & Arts Inspired Day
— #ProtectMiTierra Impact Job Fair
— Graficomovil Community Exhibit Installation
— Forest & People Leadership Summit
People and Forests
ALEF will help people understand the value of trees and forests to their health and well-being. Planting trees and other vegetation in urban and rural settings, aids in climate change adaptation and resiliency. Land restoration improves lives and the health of individuals and communities by providing clean air, clean water, increased oxygen and reduced flooding, while improving mental, physical and emotional health through a deeper connection with nature.
Restoration and Public Lands
ALEF will invite, include, and involve Latino and other diverse communities in decision-making and restoration activities surrounding conservation and management of public lands, as a cohesive effort is imperative to all humans in the face of climate change. The U.S. Forest Service will engage Latino community leaders in a conversation surrounding the next 100 years of conservation.
Acting on Climate Change
This year’s festival will continue to be a venue to provide climate change education and opportunities to take action. Climate change discussions will include the Clean Power Plan, issues surrounding methane release, avenues towards a green economy, pathways to internship and careers in natural resource conservation, ways to take action through civic engagement such as voting, participating in the restoration of the land and daily actions that can make a positive impact into the future.
Protecting and Honoring Environmental Fighters in the Americas and around the Globe
One of ALEF’s missions is to advocate for the protection of the rights and lives of environmental stewards throughout the Americas. Berta Caceres, one of our recent environmental heroes, lost her life to the greed and corruption of anti-environmental forces. ALEF participants will plant a tree as a living memorial in honor of Berta and her valiant fight for the rights of people and the natural resources that sustain us all.
We invite everyone to join us in the celebration of people and forests, and our deep interconnection and symbiotic relationship, and the opportunity to make a positive impact for current and future generations.
Contributed: Hispanicize Wire – Colorado to Host Largest U.S. Latino Environmental Festival for the Fourth Year