Research Library

23 March 2021

2021 CONSERVATION TOOLKIT: A Guide to Land, Water and Climate Issues and the Impact on Latino Communities

Publishers: Hispanic Access Foundation
Author: Arielle Lopez
Topics: Conservation
Geographic Focus: National

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Now more than ever, it is essential to demonstrate the importance of public lands and waters to the Latino community in the US, as well as the policies necessary to maintain them. The COVID-19 crisis has shown how badly we need close, accessible, and abundant public lands and waters for health and wellness. Each section of this toolkit covers the health, economic, public opinion, and cultural implications of the policies that protect our public lands, water, and ocean, as well as the threat posed by the climate crisis. This year, we have added a section on the COVID-19 public health pandemic, and how conservation and climate protection policies can mitigate the severity of the current pandemic and help prepare for future health crises.

With scientists urging policymakers to protect at least 30% of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030 to address the biodiversity and climate crises, the strong pro-climate support of Latino voters can be pivotal in protecting far more lands and waters over the next decade. The Latino community’s support for climate action can ensure that every child in the United States has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature near their home. 

Latinos remain the largest untapped segment of the population with a passion for environmental stewardship and the willingness to protect our nation’s natural resources for future generations, which is embraced as a moral obligation. This represents huge growth potential for the recreation and tourism economies. Combined with the Latino community’s increasing electoral power, we find a growing political force with the potential to shift the balance on conservation issues. Moreover, there is mounting desire to do so.

Recent polls have shown that Latinos care deeply about the environment, a sentiment that is rooted in a culture and history of taking care of the land for future generations. At Hispanic Access Foundation, our goal is to bring this perspective into environmental decision-making. Latinos are vocal advocates for creating new national monuments, protecting water sources like the Colorado River, encouraging the permanent reauthorization and full dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and establishing and maintaining regulations under the Clean Air Act.

This is also available in Spanish.

Last modified on 24 March 2021

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