Latinos Go Verde [Green!]
Starting this past Wednesday and continuing through tomorrow (Saturday), the National Latino Congreso is holding an extremely significant conference in Los Angeles. Why is it so significant? For many reasons...one reason is that it's the first comprehensive gathering of Latinos in almost 30 years! Another reason why the event is particularly significant is that the agenda includes an entire day to address environmental issues. According to a September 1 article by Inside EPA:
[...] a Los Angeles Latino leader says the environment is becoming a growing issue in the [Latino] community for a number of reasons. "We live in cities so brownfields are an issue, overcrowding, the aging industrial complex, these dramatically affect public health. . . . I hope the congress comes up with a vision of Latino politics for the next generation with a heavy emphasis on environment, community health and stewardship of wild lands."
Included on the agenda of environmental issues are climate change, environmental health (pdf), air and water quality issues, environmental justice, and much more. I am thrilled to see Latino leaders taking such an active part in environmental issues. As the Latino population grows in the United States (and in North Carolina in particular) it is becoming more and more important for this segment of the population to become involved in environmental issues...not only because Latinos (like many non-Latinos) need to be educated on sustainability issues to ensure public health, but also because their support has the potential to play a huge part in future fights on a slew of environmental issues, often directly impacting the thousands upon thousands of Latinos living in areas of low economic prosperity, where, unfortunately, landfills and other environmental hazards often seem to pop up.
As a person who's active in North Carolina's Latino community, I'd like to know what others are thinking about these topics. Are environmental issues important to Latinos in our state? If not, should they be? Is enough being done to educate and incorporate the environmentally-related needs of Latinos statewide and nationwide? If not, who should be taking the lead on this?