Ariel MacMillan-Sanchez

Age: 24

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

Why do you think the Colorado River is important?
The Colorado River is important because our livelihoods depend on it. 40 million people in seven different states use the Colorado River’s water in their everyday lives from their faucets to their Acequias (traditional irrigation system). The people of Mexico use this water for the same purposes.

Not only do the people in these 5 states and Mexico depend on the Colorado River, the United States as a whole depends on the Colorado because it supports agriculture in many of the basin states.

With the Colorado River’s water levels dropping rapidly, there is definite cause for concern as the whole country is at risk of losing a huge part of its agricultural system, countless people are at risk of losing a main source of water and numerous ecosystems depend on it to exist.

What do you think we need to do to protect the Colorado River for future generations?
The list of ways in which we can protect the Colorado River goes on and on. The most basic thing we can do is respect the river like we would a member of our own family.
One of the best things to do is to educate the youth so that they are better equipped to make choices that help protect the river. Another way that we can protect the river is through policy. If we can change the ways our politicians use the Colorado River, we can save it. To do so we have to get the politicians to stop using the Colorado and start working with it instead.

What has been your favorite part about being a NR Youth Leader?
My favorite part of being a Nuestro Río Youth Leader is definitely the people. I have had the opportunity to work with young people interested in saving the river as well as learn from those established adults who are already working hard to protect our water. I love that the organization functions like a family and find joy in the fact that I will know these people for the rest of my life. So far the experience has been inspiring and I can’t wait to see whom I meet next.