Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Comentarios From Maria: Listen Up GOP-Climate Change is a priority for Latinos


A few weeks ago, we heard the president’s State of the Union Address where he stated that there is no greater challenge or threat facing future generations than climate change.

Without question, this message resonated deeply with the Latino community because conservation and respect for the environment are fundamental parts of our histories and cultures.

Last week, The New York Times in conjunction with Stanford University and the environmental research group Resources for the Future, published a study confirming that climate change is not just an immensely important issue, but immensely personal for many Latinos. The study concluded that Latinos are more likely to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally compared to non-Hispanic whites in the United States.

This issue is personal because we cannot deny that the consequences of climate change have disproportionately affected our communities. More than half of Latinos live alongside or near power plants and other sources of pollution that affect the quality of air that our children and communities breathe. Furthermore, many Latinos in the country tend to live in areas that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, whose impacts have been exacerbated and worsened by climate change. Yet the truth is that we are not just concerned about the effects of climate change in our own lives – Latinos are especially cognizant of the fact that these are global changes, with global consequences.

The study also found that the majority of Hispanics probably support policies such as taxes and regulations aimed at effectively combat global warming. For the last five years I have had the honor and privilege of working with organizations like Voces Verdes, who are at the forefront of advancing environmental policies that protect our environment and are consistent with the needs of our economy and our community.

President Obama has worked diligently alongside the EPA in order to implement strict and concrete regulations that mitigate the effects of harmful pollutants. Last week, the administration announced new regulations what would limit that amount of methane produced by natural gas drilling by 45 percent. Last June, Obama proposed new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by power plants by 30 percent. As always, republicans are staunchly against all of these measures, which is why we must advocate for these policies and underscore our community’s continued support for these measures.

Only a person lacking common sense does not understand the importance of addressing climate change, yet Republicans in Congress, and many of the presumed GOP front-runners for the presidential nomination in 2016 refuse to acknowledge the reality of global warming. President Obama  does understand that this issue is a priority: our communities and our planet do not have the luxury of waiting for republicans to wake up to the reality of climate change and its irreversible consequences.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.