Saturday, May 25, 2024

Guest Blogger Series: Lillian Rodríguez López “Clean Air, Clean Water and Clean Energy: Mobilizing Around Climate Change to Demand Healthy and Prosperous Communities”

Latinos are at the front lines of climatic destruction and environmental degradation, yet we are underrepresented in the public debate on climate change and global warming.   Today is Earth Day, and it is an opportunity for Latinos throughout the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to galvanize around an issue that affects public health, transportation and the quality of our air, our water, our land, our sustenance and livelihoods.  As a community, we have a voice and vote and it’s time for us to assert that the climate change movement is ours too.

To come out on Earth Day is to say ¡ya basta! to unchecked climate-changing gases and air pollution that degrade the quality of the environments we live, work and play in.  For decades, the environmental justice movement has been giving a voice to the voice-less on environmental and economic issues affecting communities of color.  And as the Obama administration and Congress debate climate change and energy policy, the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) is ramping up its efforts to engage Latinos on this issue and hold our nation’s leaders accountable to tackling this global challenge.

We cannot be myopic about what it is that Latinos care about.  There are a host of issues that impact us, and we are concerned with all of them, just like everyone else.  As an electorate, Latinos are a force to be reckoned with, and as Congress looks to address climate change, the NLCCC is here to remind them that global warming skepticism does not resonate with Latino voters.  Our study points out that an overwhelming majority of Latino voters in Colorado, Florida and Nevada: consider global warming a serious problem that Congress must address now;  say they are more likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate that supports proposals for fighting global warming and that switching to a clean energy economy will mean more U.S. jobs.  But beyond the public health and economic benefits of a transition to a clean-energy economy, Latinos see global warming as a problem that we have a moral obligation to address.  Not only are they are willing to make personal sacrifices to reduce global warming pollution and express a strong willingness to pay more in energy prices if it means we will get more of our energy from renewable energy sources.

It is time to demand that our communities, homes, and families are protected from the harmful effects of global warming and pollution.  Your environment needs a voice, your voice!

On Sunday, April 25th from 11 am to 7 pm, join me and thousands of others in DC, on the National Mall for the largest demonstration ever, as we take a stand for our environment.  The NLCCC will be there to show our commitment to mobilize an active constituency on climate change and address attendees at this great event.  We hope you will join us to show that the climate change movement is as diverse as the people who make up the fabric of this great nation: white, black, brown, red and yellow, unified in a demand for ‘green’ communities with clean air, clean water, clean-energy and ‘green jobs’.

The Climate Rally will feature leading voices on protecting the environment, and live music.   If you can’t make it, you can still be heard by signing this petition at: <>. Send a clear message to the U.S. Senate for a fair, ambitious, and comprehensive climate bill. If you have questions, you can contact Earth Day Network <>.

Lillian Rodríguez López serves as Vice- Chair of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change and as President of the Hispanic Federation, a non-profit membership organization serving close to 100 Latino health and human service agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  Lillian first joined the Federation in 1996 as Vice President. Under her leadership, the Federation has dramatically increased its organizational capacity to serve an ever increasing network of member agencies and respond to the Latino community’s local and natio

Prior to joining the Hispanic Federation, Ms. Rodríguez López was employed at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), a public benefit corporation which oversees New York City’s public health care system, in several capacities including Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Ms. Rodríguez López currently is Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, and serves as a member of the Citizen’s Union, the Wells-Fargo-Wachovia Bank Community Board, the News Corporation Diversity Council, the Nielsen Company Latino Advisory Board and the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino.   In 2008, she was selected as one of the 15 Most Influential Latinos in the country by People En Español.  She was also elected as the 2007 Coors Hispanic Leader of the Year.

Lillian received her B.A. in Communications from Fordham University and completed the Executive Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University under the 2003 National Hispana Leadership Institute


  1. Chris Espinosa says

    Excellent post Lillian. I also saw the NLCCC polling results referenced in Poder Magazine’s April 2010 issue. The full article can be read at:

  2. Hola Lillian, I just wanted to say YA BASTA!! I completely agree that the Hispanic community needs to show its colors and support for environmental efforts. I am based in Miami which is a great place to start supporting such important issues. I have been passionate about this and have sought a platform for supporting educational efforts in this arena. Cuenta conmigo!

  3. Great blog post! Very true. We need to create awareness among Hispanics nationwide–the actions they take at home, at school, at work and their communities have an impact on everyone’s environment. Please visit our Earth Day Website in English and in Spanish and Commit to working for the environment.

  4. For those that couldn’t attend the Climate Rally, it was an impressive gathering n the National Mall where thousands of people came together to show support for renewable energy, responsible sustainable consumption, and the creation of a green economy based on green jobs. Supporters of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) signed petitions to Congress calling for policy that will promote the health and prosperity of our communities by reducing climate-changing emissions, promoting clean and renewable energy and creating training and employment opportunities. If you couldn’t attend you may find pictures of the event on the NLCCC Facebook page.

  5. It seems the real issue with illegal aliens is always evaded. It is not a good idea to allow illegal aliens from other nations to flood this nation.
    I don’t know how many illegal aliens are in this country. I don’t think anyone does. But the problem I see is THE continuing influx of undocumented people coming here.When will it stop? Is there no end to it? It appears not.
    So what should we expect in the next thirty years: one hundred million illegal aliens living here? They do multiply as do all men and women if given the opportunity. It is a natural thing to do. As natural as breathing.
    In the next forty years another 100 million illegal aliens? And the next forty another 100 million? It is absurd that Mexico and the other countries from where come these people take no responsibility for this.
    The English came here as we all know, supposedly to worship God. (God can be worshiped anywhere since he dwells in hearts not temples made with hands.) They came here undocumented and immediately claimed all the land theirs simply because they were in possession of the Bible. I disagree with mostly everything they did.
    But because God always works with what he has; the English speaking invaders did manage to create a document which has made this nation what it is today as far as laws. With the help of African slaves and the Conquistadors this land finally formed into what it is today.
    My point is it is ludicrous to think that the problem of millions upon millions of non-English speaking people flooding this nation illegally can be remedied simply by discussing it.
    Many of them have no clue what is required of them if they do manage to get here.
    I am sure the problem of illegal aliens coming here is unsolvable simply because it is being dealt with with the wrong motive.
    I am Hispanic but still I can see that the only solution that might even begin to address the problem is to STOP this flow now. How? Spread the word to them that they must rise up and demand that their own leaders do something to help them have a better life in their own country.
    America is not the land of promise it is a nation so deep in debt it is obvious it will never recover. And only adding to the problem is this influx of illegal aliens who seem to not know their right hand from their left as said God of the inhabitants of Nineveh before he destroyed them seventy years after he warned them of what he thought about their lifestyle.
    Ms Lopez start addressing the real problem,: the number of illegal aliens that come here.
    If this is not addressed it can only get worse.
    I saw you on C-Span today; this is how I learned of you and your work.
    A concerned Hispanic American

  6. Ms Lopez you said…”As an electorate, Latinos are a force to be reckoned with,”

    What good is a force if the force is mostly ignorant of the issues that concern them? Then vote for someone who promises to give them, instead of teach?
    And yet, it is not the responsibility of America to teach anyone who is here illegally.
    Ms Lopez you need to see what the problem really is.
    Numbers are important.
    Millions of illegal aliens here is not a good thing. And for you to think so is adding to the problem not eliminating it.

  7. If my comments are not published here I will just publish them somewhere else.
    Global warming, environmental issues, earth day, whatever is irrelevant as long as this illegal flow of foreigners coming here is not dealt with correctly.
    Can you not see what the problem is?
    Millions upon millions upon millions with millions more coming here, being born here is wrong.
    Everyone has rights to exercise, as we can see by the deplorable condition the world is in.
    But why add to the problem by allowing countless numbers of illegal aliens to come here?
    Can you not see that there is no safety in numbers here?
    Ignorance is dangerous.
    Education is no guarantee that a person will obey laws.
    Documentation is not proof of a law abiding character.
    Sometimes I think it is pure racism that motivates people like you.
    No offense but face reality the reality that this nation has its own internal problems.
    Why add to them?
    Can you answer this question?