Why are rivers important to Latino communities?
Access to clean waterways, such as urban streams and waterfronts, is a powerful lever for changes that restore biodiversity, provide access to nature for Latino communities, and ameliorate the climate crisis. However, many communities around the world are cut off from their local waterways, because the rivers have been dammed, forced underground, diverted, or overdrawn. Centuries of discrimination, land theft, and redlining have ensured that in the United States, it is largely white communities who live near clean waterways. In addition, communities of color and low-income communities are often located in areas situated next to polluted water sources and flood-prone areas, contributing to environmental injustices and climate vulnerability.
Our public lands and waters are deeply connected to our stories, provide a place for families and friends to connect and relax, offer ample opportunities to create memories with loved ones, and are economic drivers from coast to coast. By including local residents in the protection and regeneration of their waterways, we can begin to build a strong foundation of community knowledge and enthusiasm to sustain positive change.