Nature and Hispanics: Environmental Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ConCiencia) ­ The recent Sierra Club survey Hispanic Communities in Danger highlighted once again the importance of taking action against global warming among highly-populated Latino communities. A simple call to nature might be the most effective way of making that happen.

“For Latinos, experiencing nature is directly connected with family, friend and enjoying nature,” said Isabel Long from the Washington office of the Sierra Club. In addition, native Latin American cultures have an spiritual connection with Mother Earth or Pachamama as it is known in South hemisphere of the continent.

Cultural elements such as these emphasize the environmental spirit of Latinos and make this call an effective one in protecting local communities against global warming.

Today there’s a whole new green wave which mission is to create awareness for the protection of natural resources. Latinos, as the biggest ethnic group in the country, should not be an exception. According to demographic studies by the Pew Hispanic Center, they have the sense of community and cultural heritage to become the ideal partners.

Besides, many Hispanic immigrants in the United States work in the fields of agriculture, construction and services. Everyday, this type of industries manipulate great amount of led, mercury, pesticides, poison and other chemicals which can cause irreparable damages to one’s health. And although there are many environmental justice organizations who seek to protect workers’ rights and well-being, most of them are not culturally competent with the Hispanic community.

In consequence, each person should become aware of their environmental rights. “A organized community can demand environmental justice from their congress representatives, for environmental laws to protect everyone in the United States and the environment.”

Latinos should also be aware of basic things, such as the quality of the water they drink, the electricity they use at home and the origin of their food.

“Each person in his or her neighborhood can become a leader against environmental pollution,” long concluded.

For more information visit www.sierraclub.org/ecocentro