With more than 53 million Latinos currently living in our country, their cultural and political influence continues to grow at a rapid pace. During the 2012 elections, the Latino vote accounted for 10 percent of the total and their political participation is expected to double by 2030. And as diverse and young as this vibrant segment of the population is, the vast majority of Latinos share a common interest in protecting our environment.
A number of recent polls show strong support of Latinos towards policies to mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. With nine out of ten Latinos supporting government initiatives to reduce adverse effects of climate change and environmental pollution, regardless of political affiliation, this group is sending a strong message to our legislators -YES WE CARE!
But despite being the segment of the population that most supports climate action, Latinos remain underrepresented in the environmental movement and the health of their families are still disproportionally affected by poor environmental conditions - Latino children are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized with asthma as White children; in addition, pregnant women and children suffer from lead and other contaminants in the air and drinking water at higher rates. In many communities, problems are aggravated by the lack of environmental health education, civic engagement, and availability of language and cultural competent resources.
The Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund's Latino Outreach Program understands the challenges this emerging segment of the population faces in Maryland. We are currently working with Latino community groups, faith based and grassroots organizations, legislators, and trusted influential partners in an effort to identify unique environmental issues facing Latino Communities in Maryland, as well as to increase their political participation in favor of a pro-conservation agenda. These impacts will be achieved through:
- Civic engagement and education on environmental issues affecting the health and wellbeing of their families.
- Leadership development and mobilizing Latino Communities in support of climate change and emission reductions legislation.
- Coalition development to increase interaction between Latino organizations and to revitalize their environmental efforts.
Latinos know that climate change and environmental pollution affect the welfare of their families and the future of their children and are willing to take action. Our Latino Outreach Program will inform and organize Latinos in our State to advance and make a real impact in our communities by:
- Increasing awareness about the adverse health effects of environmental pollution and climate change among Latinos and the different ways they can protect the environment.
- Developing new Latino leaders who can take grassroots and legislative action on environmental and health issues and to increase the number of pro-conservation Hispanic elected officials in Maryland.
- Promoting partnerships and collaborations among Latino organizations and increasing their public participation to promote clean water, clean air and the health of their families.
This initiative is a step forward in addressing the impacts of climate change among Latinos to protect the health of their families and empowering them to augment their voice in Maryland's political process. Taking care of the environment is everyone's responsibility and Latinos are ready to act.
The Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCV Ed Fund) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to maximizing the participation of conservation-minded voters in public policy decisions made at the state and local levels regarding Maryland's environment and natural resources. Our programs strengthen and build the power of the environmental community, and they expand, deepen, and activate a base of conservation-minded voters around the state.
For more information on the Latino Outreach Program, please contact Ramon Palencia-Calvo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 531-5091.