Nico Matthews on Combining Humanitarian Issues with an Environmental Education

May 24, 2021
Nico Matthews headshot

What is your field of study/year in school?

Junior, Environmental Science

What are you involved in on campus or in Tucson?

I am the President of the Defenders of Wildlife Campus Club, an organizer with UArizona Divest, and currently am an intern with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Arizona-Sonora Border Programs. Additionally, on the weekends I recently started volunteering with Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, helping deported and vulnerable migrants stuck in Nogales. 

What is one book/documentary/podcast you would recommend someone looking to get involved in climate activism?

I would suggest anyone interested in environmental issues watches Even the Rain (Tambien la Lluvia). It's a masterful film that examines environmental injustice and exploitation through the lens of a filmmaker and Indigenous communities in Bolivia.

What inspires your activism?

As a child my father was often gone doing humanitarian work in Africa and Central America, his selflessness imparted to me the necessity of real action in the face of very real injustice and existential issues, versus words and rhetoric. 

What is a goal you hope to accomplish before graduation?

Before I graduate, I hope to see the University of Arizona foundation divest from fossil fuels ;).

What is your favorite part of being an environmental science student at UArizona?

Environmental science provides the scientific background to understand the beautiful world around us, and to work to better it. There are so many amazing opportunities to get involved at the UofA.