SERES Spotlight: Alex Figueroa

Finding a Voice

Alex Alberto Perez Figueroa, 22, says that before participating in SERES, he was always fairly quiet: He didn’t speak much in public, and, in part because of the all-too real fear of gang violence present throughout El Salvador, he didn’t travel far from his community of Celina Ramos even to the central town of Suchitoto, a few kilometers away.

Now, though, he is able to express himself in public, speaking up and singing out about the environmental and social issues that are important to him, says Alex as he sits in the center garden of Centro Arte para la Paz in Suchitoto, where the SERES El Salvador office is located.

Alex’s passion is music. Since he was little, says Alex, he always has been interested in learning to play instruments and sing. Thanks to the leadership processes and sustainability education of SERES, coupled with a course in music activism which Alex took through Global Platform El Salvador, he is now working on combining his passion for music with his goal and action plan as a SERES ambassador to increase environmental awareness and consciousness about climate change in his community and among young people in general. This video of Alex performing a song he wrote recently about the necessity of caring for the environment is a testament to the inner and outward voice he has developed. Watch below!

 

Discovering SERES

Alex first participated in SERES in 2009, when some friends invited him to participate in a three-day youth congress near Suchitoto (at the time under the title “Youth Leaders for the Pachamama,” now known as our Actívate program).

“I knew almost nothing”about the environment and sustainability, says Alex, before participating in that first SERES program. But after he became involved in SERES, he was hooked. He wasn’t able to attend the first youth summit that happened after he participated in the youth congress, but the following year he was able to attend and says that it was “impressive” to be there in Guatemala with other youth leaders hoping to create more sustainable communities throughout the region.

From there, he completed the five-day Catalyzers program to become a local ambassador of SERES. He says that this program in particular impacted him profoundly.

“It changed my life even more,” says Alex, adding that “some friends afterward noticed the difference, and how I had changed.”

Right now, he’s working on his action plan with the rest of the members of the SERES network in Celina Ramos. They want to focus more on reforestation projects, and continue the cleaning campaigns.

In addition to his work with SERES in raising environmental awareness in his community and beyond with educational workshops and his music, Alex is currently studying the arts (music, painting, dance, etc.), teaches guitar, and is president of a youth group in his community.

Read the translated version of the lyrics of Alex’s song “Expresión Natural,” 0r “Natural Expression” below:

I’m coming here to express what few people express

Nature is a source of wealth

Many harm it and that bothers me

They destroy flora and fauna for convenience

So get conscious of what’s happening

Many things today are changing

Natural resources are disappearing

People are exploiting the earth

And it’s something that will mark the difference

Between a living world and one that becomes sadness

Ignorant people don’t see the consequences

Protect the earth or it will be the end of your existence.

 

I want to hear nature singing

And for it to become natural expression

I want to hear the birds singing

And for it to become natural expression. 

 

Value what you have and don’t damage it

The ozone layer is destroyed every year

With contamination it grows in size

They say it’s all good but it’s just a lie

We leave this sad reality

Where they make us unconscious, unaware of such trickery

And because of money they hide the truth

Industries contaminate our planet

And alter what is natural

Just like the mining companies

That are poisoning our mother earth

And are the reason why she is sick today.  

 

I want to hear nature singing

And for it to become a natural expression

I want to hear the birds singing

And for it to become a natural expression. 

 

[original version in Spanish]

Vengó a expresar lo que pocos expresan
la naturaleza es una fuente de riqueza
muchos le hacen daño y eso me molesta
destruyen fauna y flora por conveniencia
toma conciencia de lo que esta pasando
muchas cosas de hoy estan cambiando
recursos naturales se estan acabando
personas que a la tierra la estan explotando
y es algo que marcara la diferencia
que un mundo vivo se convierta en tristeza
personas ignorantes que no ven las consecuencias
protege a la tierra o será el fin de tu existencia.

 

Quiero escuchar a la naturaleza cantar
y que se convierta en expresión natural
Quiero escuchar a las aves cantar
y que se convierta en expresion natural

 

Aprecia lo que tienes y no le hagas daño
que la capa de ozono se destruye cada año
con la contaminacion aumenta su tamaño
dicen que esta bien pero solo es un engaño
salgamos de esta triste realidad
donde nos duermen con tanta mentira
y por el dinero esconden la verdad
industrias contaminan nuestro planeta
y alteran todo lo natural
asi como tambien las empresas mineras
que envenenan a nuestra madre tierra
y es por eso hoy ella esta emferma.


Quiero escuchar a la naturaleza cantar
y que se convierta en expresión natural
Quiero escuchar a las aves cantar
y que se convierta en expresion natural

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