From Mexico to Seaside Sustainability: Environmental Education and Community Action

I believe that we are all capable of change. May it be large or small, everyone can take considerable measures that positively affect other people. I am Juan Sandoval and I live in Monterrey, Mexico. I have found many connections between Gloucester, Massachusetts and Monterrey, such as the widespread love for the local environment and the strong sense of community in both. I have participated in many projects that I am proud of and continue to work toward goals that will make a genuine difference. We all share more than we think we do.

Monterrey is home to the Sierra Madre, a massive mountain range with many hiking trails and beautiful sites. We appreciate this natural treasure similar to how Gloucester cares for its oceans and waterways. We spend a lot of time in the mountains and are grateful for all they give us. However, Monterrey has its problems with air pollution. We are one of the most air polluted cities in Latin America. Many factories, national and foreign, have their industry plants residing in my city and operate with dangerous amounts of chemicals and waste. In school, we often have to stay inside for our breaks due to the toxic air quality and the health risks many face because of these conditions.


These harsh conditions prompted an opportunity for change. I am a part of the MultiCity Challenge hosted by the University of New York (NYU) and my local government. Together, we are developing green infrastructure to better the local air quality and hopefully create more suitable conditions for pedestrians in the city. I am also a business owner and have my organic garden startup, teaching children how to grow their own plants so that they can be sustainable and responsible adults in the future. As a child, excitement rushed through my veins when I saw tomatoes grow from my seeds. I want to instill that same passion in others.


After working in my startup, I noticed education is a critical component of the future. Without changing the adults of tomorrow, there is no hope for my community or any country in the world. This is why I conducted a research project on effective strategies for pedagogy on climate change, undertaking a systematic literature review to discover strategies that may translate into future change. This research was reviewed and published and has been an exciting project that I believe will have an impact someday.


I am passionate about the present and future of our world. Many people like myself care about these issues and want to protect their surrounding communities and beyond. I am optimistic and hopeful that sustainability measures and implementation will be taken more seriously in the future. Here at Seaside Sustainability, there are unique and passionate interns from around the world that share this passion to educate and take action. In this environment, I never fail to leave more inspired than ever and with a desire to learn and do more.

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