Yessenia Funes

Climate Justice Reporter
Picture of Yessenia Funes

Yessenia Funes is the climate justice reporter for Colorlines. She was previously an editor at YES! Magazine, where she covered racial justice with a solutions lens. Her work has appeared in Grist, AlterNet, Public Radio International, and Truthout. Her writing touches on how race and the environment intersect, but she is passionate about any and all social justice issues. Readers can find her essay on El Salvador's environmental degradation in the 2017 Women of Color Anthology. A daughter to Salvadoran immigrants, Yessenia dreams of reporting on climate and environmental justice in Latin America.

Follow Yessenia on Twitter: @yessfun

]A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for undocumented immigrants at a fence opening near the U.S.-Mexico border on January 5, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.

First Segment of Proposed Border Wall Would Run Through Wildlife Refuge

In Texas, the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge is attempting to bring back the endangered ocelot. The border wall could change that.

Crude oil pipeline construction in Jefferson County, Texas, in August 2008.

Texas Pipeline Spills Over 50K Gallons of Crude Oil

The incident led to the evacuation of 15 residences.

Bristol Bay, Alaska, in July 2007.

EPA Proposes to Remove Protections for Alaskan Watershed That Is Home to 30 Native Villages

The agency wants to re-open the discussion on the Pebble Mine Project, which could jeopardize the region’s wild salmon population.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

Did the Flint Water Crisis Increase the City's Infant Mortality Rate?

Current numbers don’t show a huge change, but researchers are keeping their eye on trends.

In this July 30, 2015, image, researchers found evidence that a white dwarf star may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close. The field of astronomy and planetary science subjects women of color to the most workplace harassment in the field.

STUDY: Women of Color Astronomers Face Most Racism, Sexism at Work in Field

Nearly 30 percent feel unsafe in the profession because of racism.  

Saginaw Street in downton is shown on February 7, 2016, in Flint, Michigan, where a lead crisis continues to plague its predominantly Black residents.

New Harvard Analysis Highlights How Media Failed the People of Flint

“There is not much hope for the environmental security of all Americans if the media does not respond to emergencies in a nondiscriminatory way.”

Protesters demonstrate against the G-20 economic summit during a protest march on July 08, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany.

U.S. Further Isolated As Result of G-20 Anti-Climate Change Decisions

The rest of the leading economies vowed their commitment to the Paris Agreement—and to aiding the developing world with climate change impacts.

A solar generating station at the Nellis Air Force Base on February 16, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Activists Launch a Solar Campaign to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

If the idea is successful, panels would dot the route instead.  

Earth as seen from a distance of 1 million miles by a NASA scientific camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft on July 6, 2015.

New Climate Change Study Shuts Down Climate Deniers

The peer-reviewed research shows that future global warming may be worse than scientists had previously projected.

Military veterans confront police guarding a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 1, 2016, outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota, during a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Company Behind DAPL Removes Private Security Firm From Site

Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson: “We continue to have security measures in place in North Dakota, just no longer need boots on the ground.”

An abandoned lighthouse is seen surrounded by water in Plaquemines Parish August 3, 2006, near Venice, Louisiana.

READ: In Southern Louisiana, A Question of Whether to Stay or Go

Climate change has hit the region hard, and residents must answer an urgent question.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello at a news conference about the June 11 vote in favor of U.S. statehood June 15, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Puerto Rico Ends Toxic Dumping of Coal Ash, But Increases Its Commercial Use

“This law is one step forward and two steps back,” said one environmentalist.

A view of the beach along a barrier island in the Chukchi sea, on July 8, 2015, in Shishmaref, Alaska. This Alaska Native community would be opened up to offshore drilling, under the Trump administration.

Why Opening Up the Atlantic and Arctic for Offshore Drilling Matters

A new effort by the Trump administration endangers waterways necessary to livelihoods and ways of life.

Yailin Melissa Turcios, who was born about 20 minutes prior, lies in the arms of her mother, Rosa Turcios, on a bed at the Birthing Center of South Florida October 16, 2006, in Florida City, Florida.

Black and Latina Moms Are Most Concerned With Climate Change

Most surveyed agreed that not enough was being done to keep children safe.  

A street floods as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017, in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains came to the state.

STUDY: 3 Ways Climate Change Will Have Unequal Economic Impacts Across US

Poor people of color will experience the worst of it.

Carolyn Kinney speaks about her book, "Black Faces, White Spaces: African Americans and the Great Outdoors," on April 12, 2012, at the University of San Francisco in California.

5 Questions With the Woman Keynoting a POC-Only Environmental Gathering

Carolyn Finney speaks on the land, privilege and the environmental sector’s White dominance.

The Flint River is shown in downtown Flint April 20, 2016, in Flint, Michigan. The switch to Flint River from the Great Lakes Water Authority ultimately led to the water crisis. Now, officials want the city to stay with the water authority.

Michigan Sues Flint for City's Decision on Drinking Water Contract

The city council decided to extend its current contract short-term instead of going with a 30-year one, as the mayor and state had suggested.

Indigenous children at the L'eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp on June 24, 2017, in southern Louisiana.

New Louisiana Anti-Pipeline Camp Increases Security by Requiring Water Protector Application

The vetting process is intended to keep out infiltrators and protect camp occupiers.

david.dames/Flickr

Flint Advisory Board Upholds Tax Liens Against City Residents For Unpaid Water Bills

The state won’t help subsidize the city’s water, but it is allocating $4 million to defend employees who were charged for their involvement in the lead water crisis.

Drinking water sources will be in greater jeopardy under President Donald Trump's repeal of the Clean Water Rule, argue environmentalists. Here, Lake Powell in Utah, which is fed by the Colorado River Basin.

Trump Administration Moves Forward to Remove Protections on Drinking Water

The Clean Water Rule may be killed before it was able to take effect.