New Toolkit Underscores Health, Economic and Cultural Impact of Conservation Issues on Latino Communities

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Hispanic Access Foundation held a webinar briefing with experts on wildfires, drought, extreme heat, health, occupational safety, and our nation’s public lands to release a new conservation toolkit “A Guide to Land, Water and Climate Issues and the Impact on Latino Communities.” The toolkit explores issues around public lands, air, water and climate, and identifies the health, economic and cultural impact on Latino communities.

“Latinos are changing the face of conservation leading it to be more reflective of our nation’s communities. As they become leaders in this movement, they are creating solutions that represent the needs of their communities,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “With the growing electoral power that this community is just beginning to harness, you have a political force that has the potential to shift the balance on conservation issues.”

Latino communities across the United States experience disproportionate health and economic impacts of poor air quality, extreme heat and aridification, wildfires, drought and other severe effects of climate change. With our nation’s shifting demographics and Latinos on track to becoming 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, Latinos will continue to experience these severe consequences at a disproportionate rate.

“Latinos across this country, especially children and the elderly, face numerous health risks associated with air pollution from the oil and gas industry,” said Dr. Juanita Mora, a National Spokesperson of the American Lung Association and CEO and Physician at the Chicago Allergy Center. “It is critical to fully implement the Clean Air Act, and support action on climate change to make sure that all Americans, including Latino Americans, have healthy air to breathe.”

Public lands are a key component of our American identity and they weave a narrative of the diverse and complex history of our nation. These places preserve our shared cultural heritage, provide places to recreate and connect with nature, spend time with family and our communities, and significantly contribute to industries, local economies, and provide millions of jobs and employment opportunities. Latinos have been an integral part of this shared history. However, access to public lands, equal representation of our cultural heritage, and workforce contributions are not always acknowledged or represented.

“When you recognize how many aspects of our lives are affected by the environment, it’s not surprising that Latinos are so passionate about conservation,” said Chela Garcia, Director of Conservation Programs at Hispanic Access Foundation. “We wish to uplift Latino voices as proactive environmental stewards. Programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Antiquities Act, as well addressing climate change, serve to close the gap in these inequalities for Latinos and other diverse and underserved communities.”

Our webinar briefing “Conservation Toolkit & Public Lands, Water, and Climate Impacts on Latino Communities,” explored issues around public lands, air, water and climate, and identified the direct impact on the health and well-being of Latinos and other diverse communities.

The full toolkit is available for download at https://www.hispanicaccess.org/sites/default/files/2019CongressionalTool...

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