Latinos and the Environment
LCLAA encourages Latinos to become informed about maintaining balance in our ecosystem. The health of our environment is important to everyone, especially Latinos who, according to the 2010 Census, make up 50.5 million or 16.3 percent of the total U.S. population. The Latino community is large and growing, and as such, has an important role and a high stake in helping to maintain a clean environment not just for future generations, but for our present day health as well.
We interact with our environment on a daily basis, but in an unhealthy ecosystem, we are damaging not only our environment, but ourselves. In trying to do something as simple as share a nice day with our family at the local park, playing a game of soccer on the field, or going for a swim in a nearby lake, we can encounter the unexpected consequences of an unbalanced ecosystem.
Unfortunately, a majority of Latinos live in areas where the EPA has determined that the air is unsafe to breathe and 15 percent of Latinos live within 10 miles of a coal-fired power plant, making the high level of air pollution seem inescapable. High levels of air pollution can lead to a medley of ailments, aggravate pre-existing illnesses, and increase emergency room visits. More medical issues are something most Latinos can ill afford with one in every three (32.4 percent) of Latinos lacking health insurance, one in four Latinos living in poverty, and 40 percent of Latino workers earning poverty-level wages.
Latinos are becoming more interested in the environment according to a study cited in the NLCCC April 2010 Report. The poll showed that out of 1,000 Latino voters nationwide, 51 percent of those surveyed state air and water pollution was the most important environmental issue. However, a lack of information has been prevalent. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed were unaware of the proximity of their homes to toxic sites (i.e. freeways, factories, chemical plants, and refineries) which are all sources of pollution that can lead to adverse health issues.
LCLAA emphasizes the importance of Latinos being aware of the current state of the environment and to be active in taking measures to keep it clean and healthy. As a group that is growing as a share of the U.S. population and electorate, the environmental movement would be remiss to ignore the potential of Latinos as leaders in the fight for environment protection, clean energy, and green jobs. Join LCLAA and support the Environmental Campaign today and take the first step to a better tomorrow!