Colorado to host largest U.S. Latino Environmental Festival for the fifth year
Denver and its world-renowned Denver Museum of Nature & Science will host the 5th annual Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF) from September 15–17, 2017. ALEF, a Latino-hosted multicultural gathering, elevates the voices of communities of color, women in conservation, and cultural leadership by fostering collaboration to better tackle environmental problems from many angles.
Now in its 5th year, the festival has grown to become the nation’s premier meetup of Latino American environmental minds and a home for artists, scientists, advocates, public policy leaders, and communities from across the Americas committed to advancing a healthy environment, both locally and globally, through arts, education, and engagement of culturally diverse populations.
The three-day event with over 300 presenters and participants reaching an audience of over 10,000, will include an environmental film series, leadership artivism trainings, an eco book fair with authors’ presentations, a green exhibitors hall, a Colorado River summit, an international eco drawing arts Expo, a BioBlitz in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service that will engage more than 400 fourth graders in an interactive biological survey of local surroundings, and a whole day devoted to family-friendly programming including performances, workshops, eco shorts planetarium shows, a mariachis showcase, and much more!
The five thematic pillars of this year’s ALEF include: People and Waters, Restoration and Public Lands, Clean Air and Climate Hope, Food Safety and Sovereignty, and Honoring Our Water Protectors.
ALEF is an initiative of the Colorado-based non-profit Americas for Conservation + the Arts (AFC+A) and is co-presented with GreenLatinos in partnership with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association, Hispanic Access Foundation, and Benitez Strategies.
WHAT: Americas Latino Eco Festival V
WHO: Over 300 presenters and participants along with an audience of over 10,000 community members at large
WHEN: September 15– 17, 2017
WHERE: Denver Museum of Nature and Science
● The #GreenLatinos Learning Lab Summit: Accelerating Environmental Movement Gains & Intersectional Collaboration Through Strategic Communication and Art Activism
● Earth Women Rising: Latina Environmental Giving Circle Convening
● Colorado River Leadership Summit: A Source to Sea Vision
● Corals, Oceans & Colorado River Film Forum at IMAX Theater
● Fiesta & Nuestra Familia Awards
● Milk and Honey Shorts Screening
● #WaterIsLife Homage: Indigenous communities from Standing Rock, Guatemala, Chile, and Bolivia Lead the Struggle to Protect our Waters
● #LatinoEcoFest Family Day & Artivism Showcase
● Colorado Rewild Book Fair & Homero Aridjis’ “Maria, The Monarch” Book Launch
● International Activist Drawings Arts Expo
● Indigenous Voices & Ancestral Knowledge Special Event
● #DescubreElBosque BioBlitz: 4th Graders in a Citizen Science & Arts Inspired Day
● Graficomovil Community Exhibit Installation
“This year’s festival is more urgent than ever,” said Irene Vilar, founder of AFC+A and ALEF. “Our gathering comes at a historic moment of unprecedented threats to our communities’ health and to our planet. Now, more than ever, Latinos and communities of color need to raise their voices for the protection of our children’s future, which depends on our Madre Tierra’s own health and the responsible stewardship of her natural resources.”
“The 5th ALEF Festival comes at a pivotal moment for Latino communities, and all who are concerned about the environment and conservation. The looming threat of climate change, water security, deteriorating air and water quality, and increased exposure to toxins and pesticides are critical issues that our communities care about; and with a Congress and Administration hostile to addressing these concerns, our community must come together and cultivate our collective activism to compel action. ALEF is the incubator of that activism,” said Chris Espinosa, Executive Vice President & COO of GreenLatinos.
During ALEF, Homero Aridjis, laurated Mexican poet, environmentalist, journalist, and diplomat will present the English-language publication of María La Monarca/Maria The Monarch, a beautifully illustrated children’s book that seeks to raise awareness for the protection of monarch butterfly habitats and sanctuaries in Mexico.
“We are honored to support this important festival which brings together Latino leadership from around the world. We appreciate the value of working together to understand how we all can be stewards of the environment, in Colorado and across the Americas,” said Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director, The Nature Conservancy.
This year’s region of honor is the Colorado River. Its delta restoration efforts in Mexico represents one of the most complex and successful restoration projects in the world, and one of the most inspiring environmental stories in the past 25 years. In making the Colorado River our region of honor, ALEF will convene leaders in partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation to celebrate the cultural, hydrological, and economic interdependence of Colorado River users from source to sea.
Supporters for this year’s Festival include GreenLatinos, The Nature Conservancy, Hispanic Acces Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, The City of Denver, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, U.S. Forest Service, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, NRDC, Voces Verdes, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Jared Polis Foundation, National Park Foundation, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Que Bueno 1280 AM (KBNO), Telemundo Denver, Benitez Strategies, among many other extraordinary partners.
People & Waters
ALEF will showcase leaders of water resource protection who safeguard public health, fish, wildlife, and biodiversity all dependent on clean water to survive, and by extension defend our cultural heritage and the growing outdoor economy. ALEF recognizes the urgency of implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14 of conserving our oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and addressing marine pollution, ocean acidification, and protection and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems.
Restoration & Public Lands
ALEF will celebrate the importance of our public lands and help communities understand the value of trees 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.
Clean Air & 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 issues surrounding the small window of opportunity to save species and protect the most vulnerable, methane release, avenues towards a green economy, ways to take action through civic engagement such as advocacy, voting, and participating in daily actions that can make a positive impact into the future.
Food Safety & Sovereignty
Studies around the world show that bees, the planet’s most important pollinator, are dying at an alarming rate due in large part to neonicotinoid exposure. Crucial agricultural crops depend on the health of our bees, which in turn requires-just as our health does and that of our farmers- clean food production methods. ALEF will host leadership advocating for the importance of local food cultures and traditions and increased awareness of where our foods come from and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Protecting & Honoring Water Protectors
One of ALEF’s missions is to advocate for the protection of the rights and lives of environmental stewards throughout the Americas. We invite everyone to join us in the celebration of our water protectors, and our deep interconnection and symbiotic relationship, and the opportunity to make a positive impact for current and future generations.