Saturday, December 5, 2020

EPA and Latino Groups Hold Forum to Discuss Climate Change

On Monday, October 26, the Environmental Protection Agency hosted a forum on Capitol Hill to discuss the involvement of the Latino community in issues surrounding climate change.  The event was organized by several Latino and environmental advocacy groups including the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and the Sierra Club.

The panelists emphasized that environmental issues are indeed a top priority for the Latino community in the United States.  As evidence, Jason León, Executive Director of LCLAA, pointed to a study by the Sierra Club that found that global warming concerns are highest among immigrant groups.  While Latinos have indicated an interest in climate change issues, more has to be done to inform the community about environmentally responsible practices.   León suggested framing climate change in terms of an economic and health issue in order to convey its impact on the average Latino family.  The importance of environmental rehabilitation was underscored by Javier Sierra of the Sierra Club, who explained that two in three Latinos live or work near sites containing toxic waste.

While environmental hazards pose a risk to the Latino community, efforts to combat them provide a positive opportunity.  “Green jobs” in construction, technology, and energy retrofitting are expected to be better paid and offer more benefits than the construction jobs that today account for 27% of Latino employment.  The goal, according to Leon, is to not only move Latinos into the blue collar jobs created by climate legislation, but more importantly into professional positions.

In order to connect prominent environmental groups to the Latino community, the NRDC has launched La Onda Verde, an initiative that aims to inform Latinos about environmental issues on a national level.  According to the program’s director, Adrianna Quintero, La Onda Verde seeks to reach typical Latino families with a message of “going back to what abuelita used to do,” like conserving resources and using natural alternatives to modern, synthetic products.  According to Quintero, it is essential to give Latinos a voice on all issues, including the environment.

Comments

  1. About a time Latinos stand up for an issue besides immigration. We only have one TIERRA!

  2. Jason M. Leon is the Vice Chair of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC). The NLCCC is chaired by Rafael Fantauzzi, President and CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC) and Vice-Chairs Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez President of the Hispanic Federation and Jason M. Leon, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).

    The NLCCC has been holding regional briefings throughout the country to educate Latinos about climate change and engage them on the federal climate and energy debate.

    Follow the NLCCC on Facebook
    http://tinyurl.com/NLCCConFacebook