Karina is a Xicana born to Mexican-indigenous parents. Raised in LA’s, San Fernando Valley, she found her passion for environmental justice experiencing the first-hand effects of environmental racism in LA and directly witnessing the effects of climate change in her family’s hometown in Michoacan, Mexico.
Karina is a first-generation student; the first in her family to attend kindergarten. Karina graduated with Honors from the University of Arizona in 2015 with a BA in Environmental Studies; soon after attending Northern Arizona University to pursue a Masters of Forestry. Karina got her start in the climate movement while working for Greenpeace USA. Holding several roles within the organization, including but not limited to, canvasser, campaigner, and opposition researcher. Karina has also worked on various environmental efforts on her campuses, such as: conserving endemic flora and fauna, educating children about earth science, and organizing fossil fuel divestment campaigns.
Karina was a recipient of the 2016 Brower Youth Award, the leading national environmental award for youth, as well as the recipient of the 2016 Northern Arizona University Sustainability Award, the 2015 SBS Excellence in Community Engagement Award, the 2015 SBS Excellence in Leadership Award among other awards. Her work has been featured on PBS, Democracy Now!, Earth Island Journal, the Arizona Daily Sun, Grist, and other news sources. Karina has been with SustainUS since late 2013; holding several positions including but not limited to, Agents of Change Coordinator, Steering Committee Secretary, and Board of Directors Secretary. She is currently a member of the Coordinating Body and a COP23 Delegation Leader. When she isn’t organizing Karina can be found, reading about political and social movements, hiking in the mountains, in a nearby pub watching rugby, or enjoying British comedies.