Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Elsa Ramirez “Celebrating Earth Day and what it means for the Latino Community”

I grew up in a Texas border town along the Rio Grande River and learned early on about the value of preserving our natural resources. Irrigation transformed the Valley in South Texas and made it an important agricultural center in the state, but this also serves to underscore the importance of conserving our valuable and limited waterways. Areas all across the country, like the Valley, also have no shortage of sunlight making them prime locations for solar technology innovation and subsequent job creation. Today with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day approaching, we have the opportunity to call on our leaders to support comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that protects our country’s natural resources, national security and puts us at the forefront of the clean energy economy.

The Latino community is one of the fastest growing and youngest demographic groups in the country. We not only have the opportunity, we have a very clear responsibility to ensure that our country, our children and future generations will have clean air, clean water and a way out of poverty with well-paying clean energy jobs. In states across the country, from South Carolina to Missouri, Latino business and community leaders recognize that responsibility and are calling for change by raising their voices in support of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation through efforts like Voces Verdes. Much more remains to be done. In far too many communities, asthma rates are increasing, water is polluted and families are barely getting by while America’s failing energy policy continues to reward polluters, undermines our health and threatens our national security by keeping us dependent on foreign oil. There is a way to protect our health, environment and provide a pathway to prosperity with clean energy jobs and innovation.

An overwhelming majority of Americans are ready to move in a new direction. They know the value of conservation, energy efficiency and the need to keep the country at the forefront of technological development. Latino business leaders are clean energy technology innovators, young Latinos are organizing on campuses to raise environmental awareness and are enrolling in clean energy job training courses. We have the solutions, potential and resources in our community – we just need political courage from our members of Congress. We can revitalize our economy and create jobs by moving to a clean energy economy that lessens our dependence on foreign oil and protects our environment from harmful pollution.

As we count down to Earth Day, call on our leaders in Congress to take a stand and start working on the agenda we sent them to accomplish in Washington. We have a unique opportunity to write a new chapter in our American history, and it starts by passing meaningful and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. In states throughout the country, events will be held to highlight the need for such legislation which I hope you can be a part of. Please visit www.EarthDayRevolution.com to lean more. For the sake of our future and our children’s future, let’s stand up together as Clean Energy Patriots.

Elsa Ramirez is the Global Warming Program Field Director for The League of Conservation Voters and the Latino Desk at the Clean Energy Works Campaign. Her background is in issues campaigns ranging from children’s welfare to  womens health and immigration. She has worked on national political campaigns in the US including the Gore campaign and was a Labour Party regional organizer in the UK. Prior to returning to Washington, DC, Elsa was Chief of Staff to State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer. She is originally from South Texas.