Summit Explores Stewardship in Protecting and Preserving Natural Resources
GRAND CANYON, AZ – This weekend over 40 Latino faith leaders from Arizona joined together to discuss the importance of protecting the Colorado River and how the Latino community can help lead the charge for its conservation. Following the meeting, the faith leaders also toured the Grand Canyon and explored how the protection of our national parks is crucial to our diverse cultural heritage.
“The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the southwest – its water sustains over 35 million people, including one-third of the nation’s Latinos, and endangered fish and wildlife in seven states,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “The Colorado River is an integral part of our heritage and way of life, and by taking action now we can make strides in ensuring that future generation can continue to benefit from this tremendous resource. These faith leaders embrace this and want to make a difference.”
Held by Por La Creación Faith-based Alliance, a Hispanic Access Foundation initiative that unites Latino faith leaders in an effort to develop stewards of God’s creation, the summit provided the opportunity for the attendees to learn more about the federal and local roles in the effort and how their local communities could get involved. Speakers included U.S. Department of Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, Assemblies of God Central District Superintendent Dennis Rivera and American Rivers Communications Director Sinjin Eberle.
“The sustainability of the Colorado River depends upon multiple and diverse communities and stakeholders who live within its seven state region in the United States and in Mexico,” says Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, who addressed the faith leaders. “It is critically important for everyone to share in collaborative efforts to ensure the Colorado continues as the lifeblood for future generations.”
WaterSMART is the Department of the Interior's sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify and implement strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART (‘Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow’) has provided about $250 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities and universities. These investments have conserved enough water to meet the annual needs of more than 3.8 million people. Each acre-foot of conserved water delivered means that an equal amount of existing supply is available for other uses.
“Latinos have an important voice in the protection of our public lands and waters. We have a moral responsibility to future generations to protect God’s creation — preserving the mountains, rivers, deserts and other breathtaking landscapes of our nation,” said Rivera. “Protecting the Colorado River is crucial not only to the majority of local economies in the area, but also to the spiritual well-being of our community.”