Claudia Galindo is pushing hard to be part of the first women’s beach volleyball duo to represent Colombia at an Olympics next summer in Tokyo, where she would team up with her sister Andrea.

The pioneering does not end there for Galindo as she today becomes the first EcoAthletes Champion from South America. According to the 30 year-old from Bogotá, her interest in the environment goes back to her childhood, thanks to another sibling…

“My older brother Mauricio, now a biologist, took me on his hikes in the mountains,” recalled Galindo. “I began to discover incredible colors and landscapes everywhere we walked, as well as tranquility. I ended up studying biology and learned that humans have degraded natural resources and our environment in the shortest possible time. Our indiscriminate use of resources is affecting ecosystems and other species, which is tragic. And now we are risking our own ability to survive. I ended up pursuing a master’s degree at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana that focused on conservation and sustainable use of resources. It was there I learned about a great deal about climate change as well as ecological restoration, which seeks to recover ecosystems that have been degraded, thus improving biodiversity as well as the ecosystem services nature can provide.”

Claudia Galindo (Photo credit: Andrea Galindo)

Galindo acknowledged that her passion for the climate fight is an exception in Colombia, both among athletes and the broader population.

“We are not where we should be on climate for two reasons,” Galindo enumerated. “One, there is ignorance due to a lack of education about the climate crisis. And two, we have other massive social problems like inequality of opportunity and lack of access to healthcare and education that are perceived as being more immediate and as such are given a much higher priority. Yes, there are some Colombian athletes who are engaged on environmental issues, but it is for now a small minority.”

Connecting with Eco Athletes Champions from around the world who are already using their platforms to raise the profile of climate change is a big reason why Galindo joined the group.

“Being an EcoAthetes Champion means that I can work with athletes who know what it’s like to advocate for solutions to climate change and other environmental problems while they are still playing their sport,” noted Galindo. “I also look forward to be able to create alliances with companies that are sustainability and climate advocates to create more powerful messaging here in Colombia. Then I will take what I learn and share it with my fans in Colombia and around the world.”

Claudia Galindo (l) and her sister Andrea (Photo credit: Bogota Volleyball League)

EcoAthletes founder Lew Blaustein believes Galindo will quickly become a powerful advocate for climate action in Colombia and beyond.

“Claudia Galindo is a great addition to the Champions roster because she is an athlete who is willing to be a leader on climate in Colombia, a country where interest is low…for now,” Blaustein offered. “I emphasize ‘for now’ because I know she will have a significant positive impact, and sooner rather than later.”

While Galindo’s main focus over the next six months will be on working with her sister to deliver the best possible result at the Olympic trials for South America in Argentina so they can qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next summer, she will also work with EcoAthletes to light the sparks of a #ClimateComeback in Colombia.

“It is an honor to be a pioneer in Colombia and South America of this beautiful project,” enthused Galindo. “For me, I am grateful to be able to collaborate with my fellow EcoAthletes Champions to help contribute to environmental and climate solutions that we need as a species. I feel like I have to use my platform to be an agent of real change, to offer real solutions on climate and the environment in my country. EcoAthletes will help me do this and I can’t wait to get started.

You can follow Claudia Galindo and her sister Andrea on Instagram and Twitter.

Photo at top: Claudia Galindo in action at a 2019 FIVB tournament in Vaduz, Liechtenstein (Photo credit: FIVB)