25 Voices Against Deforestation

By: DejusticiaMay 7, 2018

From 17 cities around Colombia, these boys, girls, and young adults between the ages of 7 and 26 were the impetus for the First Lawsuit on Climate Change and the Future Generations of Latin America.

Tutela Merged

Get to know each of the young leaders of this historic case, which recently mandated the state of Colombia to take concrete actions to protect the Amazon Rainforest.

AMAZONAS

 

Tut-01

José Daniel Rodríguez Peña
Age 14
City: Leticia

José Daniel is an eighth-grade student at the Normal Superior in Leticia, and a member of the school’s ecological group. Just like his mother, José belongs to the indigenous Ticuna group, who live along the Amazon River. The river sustains the Ticuna people, providing the fish that make up the principal source of protein in José Luis’ diet.

 

 


Tut-02Félix Jeffry Rodríguez Peña
Age 20
City: Leticia

Félix Jeffry is a student of zootechnics at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Amazonia Campus. Because his father has worked closely with indigenous communities in the department, Félix has traveled through much of the Amazon territory, where he has directly witnessed the social and environmental problems that the inhabitants of this region of Colombia face. It was these trips along the Amazon River that motivated Félix to study zootechnics.

 


ARAUCA

 

Tut-03

Claudia Andrea Lozano Barragán
Age 13
City: Arauca

A sixth grade student at the La Enseñanza High School in Arauca, Claudia Andrea believes that the earth is sacred. For this reason, every day she waters and cares for the rose apple tree that sits in the garden just outside her front door. Claudia cares for the plant because it provides her fruit and because she knows it is a home for iguanas, birds, and toads. Claudia enjoys this work, knowing that the health of many birds also depends on the health of the tree.

In her free time, Claudia Andrea helps plant plantains and yuca on her uncle’s farm, located in Tame, Arauca. When she goes on vacation in Cartagena, in the north of the country, Claudia enjoys playing sports on the beach.

 


VALLE DEL CAUCA

Tut-04Acxan Duque Guerrero
Age 8
City: Buenaventura

A third-grade student at the Seminario San Buenaventura, Acxan plays soccer and is part of the Scouts of Buscajá. He also helps his mother with an educational program on recycling called Projecting Peace [Proyectando Paz]. Acxan suffers from atopic dermatitis, and when he is exposed to temperature changes he experiences symptoms similar to those of asthma. These conditions do not allow him to participate in his normal activities, affecting his rights to bodily integrity and health.

Acxan is worried because the watersheds around Buenaventura are drying up as a result of climate change; he fears that the future of his rights to recreation and culture are at risk


Tut-05

Antoine Philippart Marín
Age 15
City: Cali

A student in the eighth grade at the Liceo Francés Paul Valéry high school in Cali, Antoine has participated in the Ambassedeurs En Herbe competition that the Liceo Francés hosts at the global level, which addressed environmental problems such as climate changes, the greenhouse effect, deforestation, and mining. Antoine has been a member of various United Nations projects, in which he has represented indigenous communities and highlighted the importance of their environmental protection practices. To Antonie, “we are not owners of the earth—we are its children.”

Antonie has defended the medicinal uses of plants and celebrated ancestral wisdom in the fields of natural medicine and farming. Since he was a child, Antonie has tried to be prudent with this use of natural resources; he knows that taking short showers, using only small amounts of water to wash dishes, recycling, and composting for his garden are important contributions.

 


Tut-06Victoria Alexandra Arenas Sánchez
Age 19
City: Palmira

Victoria Alexandra is a third-semester law student at the Universidad Icesi in Cali. While in school, Victoria was part of an environmental group at the Institución Educativa Cárdenas Centro, which focused on developing a culture of recycling in Palmira. Since then, she has been dedicated to teaching her friends and family about the importance of recycling. Victoria enjoys weekly ecological hikes in Palmira and helps to care for fruit plants on her family’s farm in Santa Elena, Valle del Cauca.

 


BOLÍVAR

 

Tut-07

Ariadna Haydar Chams
Age 12
City: Cartagena

Ariadna is a student in the seventh grade at the Colegio Internacional School in Cartagena. She was chosen by her school to participate in a Model United Nations conference in Bogotá in 2017. Ariadna enjoys spreading ornamental plants around her high school and her house. She also takes walks on trails close to her school, in the Botanical Gardens, and through the city’s aviary to learn about the biodiversity that surrounds her. Through these walks, Ariadna has discovered ecosystems that are at risk and in need of protection.

Although Ariadna does not live facing the sea, she has witnessed the floods that are occurring throughout her city as a result of rising sea levels. Ariadna suffers from atopic dermatitis that causes skin irritation and, on occasion, temperature changes do not allow her to participate in her daily activities.

 


Tut-08

Carmen Elena Rosales García
Age 22
City: Cartagena

Carmen Elena is a student of Public Accounting at the Universidad de Cartagena, where she has been part of the Environmental Studies Research Group [Semillero de Investigación de Estudios Medioambientales – SIDEMA] since 2013. As a researcher, Carmen has participated in projects to clean and collect garbage from the mangroves in the Ciénaga de la Virgen, where pollution levels have increased each year.

Although fish is a fundamental part of Carmen’s diet, contamination in the Bay of Cartagena is putting this resource at risk. Carmen has witnessed the decreasing availability of fish as well as its increasing cost—fisherman now have to travel 3-4 days into the open ocean for catches. This has caused a notable increase in prices of species such as the sierra, the barracuda, and the mojarra.

In her free time, Carmen visits the city’s beaches, like Bocagrande, which are shrinking due to rising sea-levels.

 


META

 

Tut-09

Adrián Santiago Cruz Rodríguez
Age 8
City: Cubarral

A student in the second grade at the Institución Educativa José Eustasio Rivera, Adrián Santiago takes ecological walks three times a week to the headwaters of the Ariari River and the Humadea River. He practices soccer on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and he occasionally skates. Along with his sister, Adrián cares for two cats that he wants to protect: Samanta and Violeta.

 


Tut-10Danna Valentina Cruz Rodríguez
Age 10
City: Cubarral

A fourth-grade student at the Institución Educativa José Eustasio Rivera, Danna accompanies her brother, Adrián, on ecological walks three times a week. She also trains as a skater Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Just like her brother, Danna is concerned with protecting the water they drink, which comes from the Sumapaz Páramo.

 


CAQUETÁ

 

Tut-11

Yuli Mayerly Correa Fonque
Age 18
City: Florencia

Yuli is a young woman studying psychology at the Universidad de la Amazonia in Florencia, Caquetá. Yuli was born in San Vicente del Caguán, and grew up in a rural area called Puerto Nuevo, Zabaleta, where she was part of various groups related to art, culture, and environmental protection, such as la ‘Vicaría del Sur’ (Visur). Walking through the forests of Caquetá, Yuli learned that activities that are harmful to the environment affect the wellbeing of people as well.

Yuli has led and been a part of young people’s movements to oppose petroleum extraction and energy mining in her area. She believes that we should leave for future generations “a healthy environment that allows boys, girls, teenagers, and young adults to enjoy the natural treasures that the Amazon region holds.”

 


Tut-12Aderly Rolando Chamorro Rubio
Age 25
City: Florencia

Aderly Rolando is a student of Psychology at the Universidad de la Amazonia in Florencia. He enjoys spending time in the cloud forest 30 kilometers from Florencia, on the border between Caquetá and Huila. Rolando also enjoys exercising near the waterfalls of La Diabla in the city of Morelia and El Salado in the city of Puerto Rico.

Products from rural Colombia are very important in Rolando’s diet. He typically eats plantain, yuca, corn, chicken, Caquetá pineapple, banana, and sugar cane from San José del Fragua. Rolando is interested in teaching his peers about climate change and its repercussions on biodiversity, as well as about the illegal deforestation occurring near the city.

 


SANTANDER

Tut-13

Andrés Mauricio Salamanca Mancera
Age 15
City: Floridablanca

Andrés Mauricio is a tenth-grader at the Colegio Agustiniano high school in Floridablanca, Santander. Andrés is in charge of caring for the vegetation of his city. He makes sure that the people around him don’t throw waste or trash into water sources or culverts. Andrés is aware that the Santurbán Páramo, located in the northeast of the department of Santander, has to be protected. The Tona and Suratá rivers are located there, which supply water to several nearby towns and to the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga, where Andrés lives.

 


CALDAS

 

Catalina María Bohórquez Carvajal
Age 22
City: Manizales

Catalina María studied law at the Universidad de Caldas, where she became interested in environmental law and joined a research group on Law and Environment. Catalina is part of the movement We Are All Río Blanco [Todos Somos Río Blanco], which gathers organizations and people concerned for the future of the Protected Forest Reserve of Río Blanco, located in the department of Caldas.

Catalina has observed how the water sources in Manizales are diminishing in volume as a result of global warming, which has occasionally led to the disruption of potable drinking water.

 


ANTIOQUIA

 

Tut-15

Aymara Cuevas Ramírez
Age 8
City: Itagüí

Aymara attends school at the Corporación Educativa Colombo Francés. Since she was very young, she has had a close connection with nature and a genuine interest in caring for and protecting it. Aymara has seen how the environment of her rural school has undergone small changes as the urban regions continue to grow. At times, her classes are cancelled due to increasingly heavy rains that flood the streets and block access to her school.

Aymara makes part of activities that involve planting and caring for trees and gardens at her school. These activities have developed positive habits for Aymara: she collects garbage that she encounters on her way, and makes sure that she deposits it in the proper bins. Her home and her school have encouraged the separation of trash and recycling, which has helped her to realize that using more is not necessary—it is always possible to reuse.

 


Tut-16Laura Jiménez Ospina
Age 23
City: Envigado

Laura will soon graduate from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellín with a degree in History. She enjoys biking and walking outdoors, but the heat waves that pass through her city have made these activities difficult to continue. Laura would like to complete a Master’s degree in Geography because she is concerned with the future of the ecosystems in her country, and the impact that climate change has on both the people and the land.

 


HUILA

 

Tut-17

Juan Darío Medina Carreño
Age 21
City: Neiva

As a business student at the Universidad Surcolombiana in Neiva, Juan Darío tries to educate the people around him to not throw garbage in the streets, to sort trash, and to recycle. In his free time, Juan hikes and plays outdoor sports like volleyball.

A while ago, Juan decided to change his diet and reduce the amount of red meat that he consumes as a conscious effort to care for the environment. Juan maintains a healthy diet, and eats lots of fruits and vegetables grown in Huila.

Sports and outdoor activities are an important part of Juan’s live. He hikes near the Las Ceibas and Fortalecillas rivers, and in the wetlands of Los Colores, where he has observed various damage to the ecosystems.

 


CHOCÓ

 

Tut-18Candelaria Valencia Arango
Age 9
City: Quibdó

Candelaria is an elementary school student in the fourth grade at Institución Educativa Comfachocó in Quibdó. Candelaria has a farm with chickens, a native forest, and springs of water in the municipality of Atrato. Eight months after her birth, Candelaria contracted bronchiolitis; ever since, she has suffered frequent episodes of asthma. Her health has been affected by the temperature changes ocurring in Quibdó.

 


SAN ANDRÉS Y PROVIDENCIA

 

Tut-19

Yurshell Yanishey Rodríguez Hooker
Age 22
City: San Andrés Island

Yurshell is a student of environmental engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She is part of the Raizal community, and lives in San Andrés where her interest in protecting the ocean was born. Since high school she has been part of programs to clean the mangroves in the area, and she works with the environmental organization Coralina on projects focused on caring for the island’s beaches. Yurshell is a diver, and hopes to continue enjoying the variety of species she has seen in the depths of the ocean around San Andrés and Providencia for the rest of her life.

For Yurshell, being Raizal means having a direct and vital connection with the earth and the sea. She is worried about the survival of the other inhabitants of San Andrés, as the island is one of the regions of Colombia that is most vulnerable to climate change. Yurshell wants to work to protect the third-largest barrier reef in the world, located in Providencia, in order to prevent the bleaching of coral and the loss of ecosystems in San Andrés.

Yurshell’s diet has changed in the last few years: she now consumes more chicken and less fish, as fish is more difficult to obtain. Fishermen now must go into the open ocean, which has increased the price of the product.

 


Tut-20Violeta Posada Riaño
Age 22
Location: Providencia Island

This student of biology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia grew up on the island of Providencia where, through the ocean, she developed her love for nature. Violeta’s mother taught her that swimming on the island of Providencia is not only a sport, but also a form of subsistence and survival.

Violeta was trained as a certified scuba diver and has assisted her father in a restoration project of the coral reefs at the Old Providence Mcbean Lagoon National Natural Park [Parque Nacional Natural Old Providence y Mcbean Lagoon]. This experience made her much more aware of the place that she lives and of Colombia’s need to protect its unique marine ecosystems like those in Providencia, which have been labeled a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

 


CUNDINAMARCA

 

Tut-21

María Camila Bustos Ortíz
Age 24
City: La Calera

Camila is a researcher for Dejusticia and a woman passionate about the relationship between law and climate change; she was a legal intern for a team that successfully wrote and had approved a legal project that sought to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change in Rhode Island in the United States. Her preoccupation with the impacts of climate change in La Calera has encouraged her to investigate possible effects of this phenomenon on her city.

Camila frequently visits her parents’ farm in the municipality of San Joaquín, Cundinamarca, where the water they use depends on local rains.

 


BOGOTÁ, D.C.

 

Tut-22Pablo Cavanzo Piñeros
13 años
City: Bogotá, D.C.

A seventh-grade student at the Gimnasio La Montaña high school in Bogotá, Pablo is a young man who enjoys family excursions—he has traveled to various places around Colombia, including páramos and snow-capped mountains. Pablo is convinced that if people experience the the natural treasures of the country, they will be more responsible in caring for the environment.

 


Tut-23

Jesús David Medina Carreño
Age 24
City: Bogotá, D.C.

Jesús is an investigator for Dejusticia and a student of anthropology in his final semester in Bogotá. He is concerned about caring for the environment and reducing his ecological footprint; for example, he maintains a vegetarian diet and uses a bicycle as his principal means of transportation. In his free time, Jesús visits the paramos near Bogotá and practices various sports, including rock climbing and biking.

Six months ago Jesús decided to change his diet to reduce his consumption of meat and of overly processed foods. He also increased his intake of fruits, especially those grown in Colombia. Jesús tries to participate in growing and harvesting organic products on the farms that surround Bogotá.

 


Tut-24Valentina Rozo Ángel
Age 26
City: Bogotá, D.C.

An economist and a researcher for Dejusticia, Valentina tries to minimize her carbon footprint by using public transportation to get to work. She has also reduced her consumption of meats to reduce her environmental impact. Valentina takes advantage of the mountains around Bogotá by hiking through the ravines of La Vieja, Las Delicias, and Las Moyas.

Since her time at university, Valentina has been interested in the environment. She was a volunteer for the newspaper El Espectador, where she worked covering environmental themes; she wrote various reports, most notably “The River Boiling in the Amazon” [“El Río que Hierve en el Amazonas”].

 


Gabriela EslavaTut-25
Age 26
City: Bogotá, D.C.

A lawyer and a researcher for Dejusticia, Gabriela uses a bicycle as her primary mode of transportation in an attempt to reduce her carbon footprint. Gabriela has also been a vegetarian for a year—her diet is based around food grown in rural Colombia, like vegetables and legumes. She enjoys walking outside and frequently visits the Chingaza Páramo, which is the source for the water that she drinks daily. She also enjoys hiking the trails in the hills to the east of Bogotá.

Gabriela is interested in conservation and the sustainable development of the biodiversity in Colombia. In September of 2017, Gabriela spoke at the Second Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law, hosted by the Organization of American States in Chile. There she presented her article, “Payments for environmental services: a tool to reduce socio-environmental conflicts?” [“Pago por servicios ambientales: ¿herramienta para la reducción de conflictos socio-ambientales?”].

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