I went to college in Galveston, Texas – a coastal town where people often go to raise dogs and fish but not exactly famous for its beautiful, pristine beaches.
I don’t care: After growing up inland, I enjoyed being by the water. I like to lie on a hot towel, feel sweat particles begin to form, and then jump into the ocean to joyfully shock back into my body.
Living by the seaside also taught me to love my skin color: I went to a conservative, mostly white Christian college, which wasn’t the most welcoming place for a Mexican girl to live. in Texas. After a day full of sunshine and water, I feel my skin is full of vitality and at ease.
But in the end, the part of Galveston that stuck with me most was my time volunteering for the Texas Marine Mammals Network, where I helped with dolphin recovery. It is not uncommon for marine mammals to get sick in the Gulf and washed ashore. We will have to support them physically to keep them from drowning and essentially give up their life.
It was rewarding work, but obviously extremely sad. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but that experience helped me start thinking about how similar mining industries harm Earth’s wildlife as well. its people.