Niria Alicia Garcia

United States of America

Regional Winner, North America

Run4Salmon - indigenous-lead conservation

Summary of Big Idea

The United Nations recognizes that Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the population yet we steward over 80% of the world's biodiversity. In the face of climate change, ecological collapse and pandemics, indigenous-led species restoration is key to building a resilient future that can withstand and thrive as climate change continues to unravel. Coupled with advocacy, campaigns and indigenous curriculum, the Run4Salmon prayerful journey for the past 4 years has engaged government officials, lawyers, advocates and everyday people on the 300-mile journey that the endangered Chinook salmon make along the waters of California’s largest watershed to inspire, educate and engage people in restoring this endangered keystone species that is essential to the health of California lands and waters. As we work to make this life-changing journey accessible for all in the times of COVID-19, we are working to make this tour accessible to anyone anywhere through a virtual reality video.


I am a Xicana human rights advocate, climate justice organizer, educator and storyteller dedicated to protecting the sacredness of Mother Earth and the dignity of historically oppressed peoples. I graduated Cum Laude from the University of Oregon with degrees in environmental studies, Latin American studies and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In 2019 my climate justice work earned me the national ‘Emerging Leader Award’ from GreenLatinos’ and the internationally recognized ‘EE 30 under 30’ award from the North American Association for Environmental Education. I am also a Human Rights masters candidate at Columbia University.

Niria Alicia Garcia's Bio

28 years
Indigenous environmental activist