“We have 24 million acres of forest in Colorado. Six million of those are in critical condition.” -Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director with the Nature Conservancy.
Carlos Fernandez will be participating in the 4th Annual American Latino Eco Festival (ALEF) in Denver on October 13-15. He talks with KGNU’s Maeve Conran about the role of fire in conservation efforts, the Latino leadership within the environmental movements, and the importance of having a diverse community becoming active in protecting the environment.
“For many, many years, we have been suppressing fires, and as a consequence of that, there’s an overpopulation in some of the trees, and that creates a weakening of some of our forest.”
As the director of the Nature Conservancy, Mr. Fernandez has been working to change attitudes towards fire in regards to how forests are managed. Although forest fires are dangerous to homes and people, they are a natural part of how forests have traditionally grown on their own. Finding a way to incorporate fire back into the management of forests while still keeping the public safe is a major problem.
“The Nature Conservancy has been working in its 65 years of history with indigenous groups throughout the world.”
Through this work, the Nature Conservancy has been learning from indigenous communities about how to live with the environment. These indigenous communities have great insight on how to manage forests not only due to their proximity with the forests, but also their reliance upon utilizing resources and creating sustainable practices.
“The audience for this is everybody…there is no way we are going to be able to solve this issue just by preaching to the choirs.”
The Americas Latino Eco Festival brings together different groups and voices from academia to environmentalists to corporations in order to find ways to work together to solve the world’s climate change problems. The festival opens up communication with leadership across the spectrum with specific goal of bringing indigenous or minority voices to add perspective on how to solve these issues.
The 4th Annual Americas Latino Eco Festival will be held Oct. 13-15 at the McNichols Civic Center at 144 W. Colfax Ave, Denver, CO. Speakers, events, music, poetry readings, and displays will be held all day throughout the festival.