My name is Ilka Vega. I’m 25 years old. I was born in El Paso, Texas and was raised by my mother in Ciudad Juarez. I’ve lived most of my life in the US-Mexico border, crossing back and forth between these cities at the heart of the Chihuahuan desert, which form a metropolitan area of over 2 million people.
I work for a Catholic human rights organization, Hope Border Institute, which does research and advocacy in border issues. I also serve as a representative for the Charter for Racial Justice of the United Methodist Women.
My faith has always motivated me to serve and taught me that we are called and empowered to construct a world reflective of God’s love for everybody and all of creation. I feel strongly called to be an advocate for environmental justice and strong climate policies because we are living in a climate emergency that is threatening communities like mine all around the world and exacerbating social issues such as poverty, violence, political instability and displacement. If we don’t take action now, the world in which we live in right now will change dramatically. We owe it not only to future generations but to the current generations and people being impacted by climate change.
I wish someone would ask me what steps can we take politically and in our own lifestyles to make a difference in climate action. There’s many things we can do every day to mitigate climate change; we just need to feel empowered, and build a strong movement.