Climate Change’s Impact on the Latino Community

As Climate change continues, Climate Justice is moving to the forefront of the political and social agendas of Latino Americans across the country. The impoverished background of many Latino immigrants coupled with the group’s rapid expansion In the United States has left nearly 50% of the race living in areas that do not meet NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards). They are the most disproportionately harmed minority group in terms of climate and environmental justice issues in comparison to others. For example, Latinos are three times more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to develop asthma in their lifetimes. Many of these immigrants are uninsured and suffering at the hands of industry, but the leaders of these industries had better watch out. Latinos are quickly becoming the fastest growing group of voters in the country, with a strong, resonating voice that made a huge impact in the 2012 presidential election of Barak Obama over Mitt Romney.

The head of the E.P.A., Gina McCarthy, joined the lecture for brief comment. She stressed the importance of community based efforts against climate change, and discussed how climate change was second only to immigration issues in terms of the Latino political agenda. McCarthy also claimed Obama is leading a charge to encourage further climate change action. Granted the President is doing a better job than a number of his predecessors on environmental policy issues, but with the American economy so dependent upon fossil fuels, radical reform can be difficult to achieve.  

As Americans, we must band together to fight against the climate change that causes us physical harm and worsens our living conditions globally. This is an issue that affects all of us in our generation as well as those of future generations. 

Author: Brad Seidman, EDN Intern