Andrea Echeverri: Climate justice organizer
Professional of the jungles and biodiversity area, CENSAT, Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia
Andrea Echeverri has dedicated her life to working on climate and environmental justice, and she quotes Colombian environmentalist Patricia Noguera when explaining why: “I believe that getting involved with this work is about the re-enchantment of the world.”
Born in Antioquia, Colombia, a region exploited for mining and hydroelectric expansion by the Colombian government and corporations, Andrea has long witnessed the ways in which social injustices and environmental injustices are inseparable. “Environmental chaos is threatening the future for everyone,” she says, and in particular “it affects women, Indigenous women, and poor communities, not only in the cities, but also in the country.”
At CENSAT, she works on issues of deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon as well as battling false solutions to the climate crisis. Organizing at the local, national, and international levels, she helps bring the decisions and implications of international policy directly to communities on the front lines of the climate crisis. For example, she was part of developing workshops for Indigenous women in the Amazon on the implications of carbon markets, which she led in the field. She also ensures that the communication goes in the other direction. She supports these communities to bring their stories to elected officials and in international policy negotiations, toward centering their solutions and needs in decision-making spaces.
Collaborating across Latin America
Andrea brings this deep and wide expertise to the Plataforma Latinoamericana y del Caribe por la Justicia Climática (Latin American and Caribbean Platform for Climate Justice), a collective of more than 30 organizations (including Corporate Accountability), movements, and activists from across Latin America. “I believe the Plataforma is an important space for people with political affinities to come together and have valuable conversations,” she says.
Through the Plataforma, Andrea collaborated with Corporate Accountability on a variety of projects, including “The Masks of the Green Economy,” and creating and launching The Climate Justice Glossary. This glossary defines more than 40 terms from a climate justice perspective—helping to unite organizers and activists around the world to understand the climate crisis. It gives a new meaning to the language used to speak about the climate crisis, unmasks the false corporate and polluters’ “solutions,” and shares the proposals from the frontline and grassroots communities closest to the crisis in Latin America.
Andrea sees her work as a necessary part of bringing about deep transformation. She says the climate crisis is both a huge challenge and a huge opportunity. “We need to think about radical change. We need to bring together everything that we have separated and understand that we are all part of this system. We need to think together about the transition away from fossil fuels and what the alternatives are. This is our reality.”
And in the end, she comes back to love: “We are promoting this out of love for all forms of life, including humans.”