As relentless and historic heat waves hit most of the U.S. during the summer, and June, July, and August 2023 temperatures surpassed global records. Every year becomes the hottest year on record, extreme heat has become a risk for the thousands that participate in the annual Latino Conservation Week.
“The health risks due to extreme heat are as real as climate change itself,” said Jessica Godinez, Latino Conservation Week Manager. “Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can be a threat when doing physical activity during an intense summer heat wave, especially for frontline Latino communities. Extreme weather events that we are experiencing are a sign that we need to adapt and take necessary action to mitigate climate change. Hispanic Access is adapting by changing the event dates so we can continue advocating and protecting nature and wildlife."
The Latino population in the U.S. has grown to more than 62.1 million people—more than 18 percent of the nation’s population—and is projected to become nearly one-third of the population by 2050, yet according to a 2020 Outdoor Industry Association report, only 11.6 percent of Latinos are engaged in outdoor recreation activities. The future of public lands and waters depends on engaging and welcoming our diverse youth and Latino communities to take care of them and elevating their voices. Latino Conservation Week serves as a platform to highlight and raise the voice of the Latino community in wildlife conservation decision-making.
“Latinos are determined and resilient people,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access. “Latino Conservation Week captures the spirit and resiliency of the Latino community. We launched the initiative with nine events in 2014 and have been overcoming challenges, expanding since now with more than 300 events nationwide celebrated by thousands; extreme heat and climate events will not impede Latinos from advocating for the protection of nature.”
Last year, more than 300 parks, organizations, and community groups celebrated Latino Conservation Week and held events. To learn more about Latino Conservation Week and how you can participate this year, visit www.LatinoConservationWeek.com.