Nicolás Chesta

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

Board of Directors Member & Water Challenge Regional Coordinator
EarthEcho International

Chile

Nicolás (he/him) mobilizes budding conservation leaders through a community-based educational approach, equipping youth with the tools they need to preserve their local bodies of water.

How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities?

Leading environmental conversations to Water Challenge Ambassadors at Museu de les Ciències Naturals de Barcelona. Photo credit: EarthEcho Education is key to building more sustainable and equitable communities. In fact, all of my environmental work has been done through education, using all the tools I have learned at international environmental organizations to improve my community. As an example, I have done several water conservation sessions, with a focus on educating youth, in different schools in my city. I have led massive beach cleanups that engaged local politicians, and also supported the work of environmental nonprofits in their planning for lasting projects. On the other hand, I have amplified the opportunities available to young leaders from around the world related to water conservation. As the Water Challenge regional coordinator at EarthEcho International, I have guided 15 Water Challenge Ambassadors from Barcelona in the development of the program’s first chapter in Spain. I feel fulfilled to highlight that, for the World Water Day celebration on March 22, 2022, we succeeded in implementing a project that impacted over 200 Catalonian students in the creation of ocean awareness and water protection. I have no doubt that these educational opportunities generate personal growth in young people, which in turn generates change.

Tell us about your journey to where you are today.

My journey in the environmental space started when I was a child. I was stunned by how the rain frequency changed over the years, which brought drought to the region where I lived, and to my country, Chile, as a whole. I am passionate about doing extracurricular activities, especially volunteering, so I knew that an impact could be made in my communities if I got involved in work with an environmental focus. I began by promoting a vertical garden project in my high school, with the aim of changing the gray concept that it had to a green, more friendly-looking one. My path escalated importantly afterwards with EarthEcho International selecting me to join the Youth Leadership Council in 2018. Since then, I have participated in water related committees with the goal of replicating all of the tools and knowledge I have learned into my local communities. Then, I was selected for World Oceans Day’s Youth Advisory Council, developing important work like massive beach cleanups in my city, Concón. By 2020, I was nominated to join the Board of Directors at EarthEcho, and just last year I started to support the organization in my new role as the Water Challenge regional coordinator.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT ME

If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?

I would be a blue whale, given that blue whales play a huge role in maintaining the health and ecosystem of the ocean.

What makes you most excited to be an EE30U30 awardee?

That I will have the opportunity to learn and work with young leaders from around the world who have a unique and passionate leadership in the environmental space.

What book, film, or art piece has had the greatest impact on you?

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (a documentary series) showed me how beautiful and important the ocean is for the world, and the necessity of protecting it.

A thing you cannot live without?

Living next to the ocean.