Young Leaders Award recipient Jade Algarín is a community organizer and agriculturalist from Vieques, Puerto Rico. Their work aims to address environmental injustice in frontline communities by empowering leaders to enact intentional, equitable change. Recognizing the scale and urgency of the moment, they emphasize connection, learning, and acting throughout their organizing and their leading of the No One is an Island coalition. Jade is guided by the principle of "they don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" as they strive to ensure those most disenfranchised among us feel welcome in the spaces they create.
Jade’s Project: No One is an Island
No One is an Island is a community-driven coalition space building and furthering efforts that strive for a more environmentally just St. Croix.
We recently checked in with Jade to learn more about her background and her plans for the conservation and regeneration of the planet.
Walking Softer: What brought you to your work in climate and environmental justice?
Jade: My passion for climate and environmental justice is a direct product of where I am from and who I am in relation to the U.S. and oppressive forces more broadly. The combined impact of my home island of Vieques being occupied and used as a bombing range for the U.S. Navy coupled with the devastating wake-up call that was Hurricane Maria in 2017 was what galvanized me into becoming the activist and community organizer that I am today.
Walking Softer: What do you do for self-care and fun?
Jade: One of the greatest lessons I've learned in my journey as an organizer is the importance of self-care and radical joy. A daily meditation practice, making time for the sunset, and farming all help me find balance with a role that can oftentimes, due to how embedded we are in the work, be clamorous and lead to self-sacrificing habits.
Walking Softer: Who or what sparked your interest in becoming an environmental changemaker?
Jade: I am grateful to say that there are many leaders that have served as references for me throughout my life. My grandfather, a leader in the effort to remove the U.S. Navy from Vieques, is a presence that teaches me that peace is one of the few things worth fighting for and persevering. However, those that I am most inspired by on a daily basis are the fellow local leaders I work not only here on St. Croix/USVI but my peers in Puerto Rico as well. The creativity, tenacity, commitment, and warmth of the community of leaders that have embraced me is a constant source of inspiration and nourishment.
Walking Softer: Any people or organizations that you would like to thank?
Jade: I would most like to thank the St. Croix Environmental Association for believing in my vision and supporting me every step of the way. I would also like to thank a collection of local organizations that have also uplifted me and my work on St. Croix, Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism (CHANT), Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, St. Croix Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy.
Follow Jade’s journey:
As we look ahead, we wish to express our gratitude for accompanying us on this journey. Your participation has played a pivotal role in fostering a healthier future for our planet.
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