Sunday, August 30, 2009

Latino recognized for environmental work

Latino to receive award for work in Environmental Justice
The Latino Journal E-News, August 24, 2009

In 2008, Congress deliberated a bill called the "No Child Left Inside Act" which would encourage the development and inclusion of curriculum for children to learn the importance of conserving and preserving the environment. It received bipartisan support, passing with a vote of 293 for and 109 against.

This new Act could not have passed without the leadership and commitment of Alberto "Abby" Ybarra, whose coordinating efforts brought people together from all walks of life. The Coalition established was comprised of more than 745 member organizations, with a minimum of one from each of the 50 states, representing well over 40 million people.

Because of his leadership in the passage of the No Child Left Inside Act and his continued activities in California and Maryland, where he taught children the importance of conserving and protecting the environment, Ybarra will be the first Latino to have the honor of being bestowed with the "Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Outstanding Service Award."

The Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Outstanding Service Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of their leadership to educate about and promote action that addresses environmental justice concerns at the local, regional, or global levels. The award recognizes a person that demonstrates the values and inner strength of Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs. These individuals were unwilling to stand by as they and others suffered injustices because of their skin color or heritage. Rosa Parks worked tirelessly to address social injustices while Grace Lee Boggs continues working to remedy environmental injustices at 90+ years of age.

Ybarra is being recognized for making significant contributions to working with and addressing environmental concerns of culturally diverse communities, including:

* Used environmental issues or situations for motivating culturally diverse youth to reach their highest potential by providing them with hands-on experiences that build practical day-to-day life skills.
* Used environmental education for empowering community residents to address local environmental concerns.
* Dedication to service and leadership that encourages the participation of multicultural audiences in environmental education.
* Made visible contributions in environmental education by promoting diversity and justice through research, innovations, curricula, legislation, publications, activism, or advocacy.
* Demonstrated excellence in educating the public about environmental issues as they relate to social justice, health and well-being, and environmental justice through print, electronic, or visual media.

Historically, environmental education has not recognized the education efforts of persons working on the social (environmental health, environmental justice) and economic (poverty, jobs) components of sustainability. In part this is because environmental educators in developed countries have tended to focus on nature education, which is a much more limited perspective than how environmental education is defined in the 1977 Tbilisi Declaration. Furthermore, many of the people working in these areas are persons of color, and the environmental education field has under recognized their leadership and achievements thus far. To help address this under-recognition the Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Award was established.

The Latino Journal congratulates Mr. Ybarra for his continued work in educating the young about conserving and preserving the environment.

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