This past year, Delia Delrieu led Forces of Nature’s efforts to help our Latin American neighbors. Growing up near the beach in the Dominican Republic,  Delia has watched as her beloved beaches, a place she describes as “her paradise,”  wash away  at an escalating pace due to increasingly intense storms, loss of coral reefs, and rising seas caused by global warming.    “Our beaches are the economic and employment engine in the Dominican.  My concern is for my friends who rely on the beaches to make a living,” Delrieu said. Unwilling to sit by and watch the suffering, Forces of Nature has organized efforts to help those who’ve lost their job in the tourism field, calling for reef restoration and building resilience. “Half of the world’s beaches are on pace to disappear in my lifetime,” Delia said. “This is something we can’t afford to ignore.”

Delia’s work has taken her beyond the confines of her own neighborhood, to help her Haitian neighbors, one of the 5 countries most affected by climate change this century. Haitians have contributed less than .03 percent of global carbon emissions, yet thedevastation they’ve faced has played out across all our screens these past few years. Delia has spearheaded much needed relief to those directly in need, after  watching thousands of Haitians lose their homes, and some even lose their lives, to the effects of climate change. Though storms and earthquakes are not new to Haiti, climate-related disasters deal a deadly blow to the region due to the deforestation that began in the 17th century colonization of the beautiful country. Taking her efforts beyond providing aid, Delia is also doing her part to reforest the area.