Latinos represent the largest untapped segment of the population that has a passion for the outdoors and stewardship, provides growth potential for the recreation and tourism economies, and has the willingness to protect our nation’s natural resources for future generations, which we embrace as a moral obligation.
When you take this perspective and couple it with the growing electoral power of the Latino community, you find a political force that not only has the potential to shift the balance on conservation issues, but a mounting desire to do so.
In fact, Latinos carry strong concerns for the environment, which is deeply rooted in our culture and history of taking care of the land for future generations. Public opinion polls show that Latino voters express a high concern for protecting environmental health and strongly support protecting public lands and waters, transitioning to renewable energy, and having access to recreation opportunities and green jobs.
Hispanic Access has helped elevate these concerns and ensure Latinos have a seat at the table when it comes to decision making on environmental issues. Latinos have been 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.
We understand that healthy communities stem from a healthy natural environment. However, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by irresponsible environmental practices and policies. It is critical that Latinos be informed, have the tools, and are supported to elevate and prioritize their experiences, concerns, and interests within the conservation movement and in decision making around public lands, water, and climate policy in a way that reflects their heritage, culture, and community.