Friend of The Village – Leticia Colon De Mejias


You are featured in The Village’s current art show, Thatcherians, by artist Jena Thomas, commemorating women of leadership and change. Let’s talk about your motto — “Creating a Culture of Sustainable Thinkers” – what does that mean to you?

  • I am a warrior for people and the planet. You are also a warrior, waiting to be awoken. I see myself and all people as the solution to our global pollution. As people, we all forget that it is our role to protect the places we love, the places like rivers, streams, mountains, farms, and nature which sustain all life, and provide all resources we use in our daily lives.

As an Eco Warrior, what drives your vision?

  • These days I see no sense in being upset about things I can not change; as warriors, it is better to focus our energy on areas we can make a positive impact on. Green Eco Warriors work to “Share what they know, and make way as we grow.” 

How would you describe the “warrior way?”

  • The first lesson of the warrior way is to understand that we are each powerful. Every one of us is born with a powerful warrior spirit. The world can be confusing with all the screens, apps and distractions, but when we focus our attention on the world that sustains us, we realize that all things are connected. It is important to remind kids to “look up”, to see the world that they are a part of, and to help them understand that even when we eat at a restaurant, that food comes from the natural world. 

As individuals, how do we do our part for the planet?

  • Taking care of the planet is easier than we imagine. It is really about paying attention to our choices and actions. Just like Native Americans and past communities who lived more in line with nature, we can live our lives in a way that does the least harm possible. The cool part about being a warrior for the planet is that many things that help the planet, also help people stay healthy. 
  • For example, buy some local food, and make a meal with your family. We all have to eat to live, but what we choose to eat does matter. When we cook at home and eat food, we create less trash, we use less energy to travel, and we support the local farmers. Eating food we cook is also healthier than eating food from boxes, or cans. 

Here at The Village, our rooftop garden is a key component of our sustainability story and a way for us to interact with our community. Do you have a garden of your own? If so, what’s the most valuable aspect to you?

  • Planting seeds simply feels good. Watching your plant grow is even more fun. The best part of growing things with kids is the part when you pick the yummy goodness that you grew together. You really can do this in a large bucket, or a small square of earth. Even a sunny window can support growing mint for tea or salad greens. Seeing our connection to growing what we eat can help a child understand how powerful they are. It helps show them that they are capable of caring for themselves and caring for things beyond themselves. 

What advice would you give to those who are actively trying to live more sustainable lives? 

  • We often forget that it is our collective life choices that have created the environment we live in today. That can be both good and bad. People are often in search of the next best thing. This leaves us to forget that each thing we seek to create or purchase comes from materials that were first harvested from the natural world.
  • Pay attention to what you use, and what you might waste. As humans, we often forget our actions make ripples beyond us. For example, we don’t think about the energy we waste when our phone chargers are plugged in, our TV or games are left on, or even simply running water at the sink. About 10% of our energy is simply wasted. That 10% of wasted energy is about what all of Italy uses in a year. If we pay attention and turn things off, and spend less time using electric power, and more time using our body and mind power, we become stronger.

You have also written children’s books on the topic of sustainability and are known for hosting storytime readings with kids of all ages. What sustainable habits can you recommend kids start adapting early on?

  • Knowledge is power and reading provides a direct connection to knowledge. When we first started seeking to help the community learn how they can be warriors for our future, we quickly realized we needed to create access to information on the ways we can create positive change. We decided that books could help people even if we can not be there in person. This is why we make the books easy to read, and easy to access. We also wanted to inspire action vs placing our communities as “victims to be saved”. This is why the comic books place youth as heroes and problem solvers.
  • The best gift we can give our kids is the gift of agency. Helping kids and adults understand that, “we all can make the world a safer place”, is an action based approach to educating. As warriors we ask people to “plant seeds as they go, and share what they know.” We all can work to help kids to learn, read and write. These critical life skills give kids a voice and empower them. Reading and writing, and teaching kids to ask questions, give kids a way to plan, to write to others for support, to push on policy issues, to engage civically, and it helps youth to work with others to implement change.