NLCCC Urges EPA and Lawmakers to Address Needs of Latinos in the Climate Change Debate

WASHINGTON, DC-The National

Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC), the leading Latino organization

dedicated to the issues of energy and the environment has been engaging with

government agencies and lawmakers to discuss ways to engage Latinos in

environmental issues and the green jobs movement.  The NLCCC has been monitoring the federal

climate change debate as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee initiated

hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733).  The bill intends to create clean energy jobs,

promote energy independence, reduce global warming pollution, and transition to

a clean energy economy.  The NLCCC has outlined

several issues that the Senators must consider to ensure low and

moderate-income Latinos are not detrimentally impacted by passage of the bill.

“Global warming is a real, serious,

and growing threat.  There are multiple

social, economic, public health, and environmental threats posed by climate

change and the more we learn about it, the more urgent the need to educate and

engage Latinos on this issue becomes. We are engaging with elected officials,

Latino and environmental advocacy groups to ensure that the Senate climate bill

is inclusive of the needs of the Latino community throughout the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

We are talking about consumer protections, worker training and transition

assistance, public health, and local preparedness to extreme weather events

among many other critical issues,” stated Rafael Fantauzzi, NLCCC Chair and

President and CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC)

This week, the NLCCC presented at ‘Beyond

Translation’, a forum hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to

discuss the involvement of the Latino community in issues surrounding climate

change.  Jason M. Leon, NLCCC Vice Chair and LCLAA’s

Executive Director pointed to a 2008 survey of Latino voters commissioned by

the Sierra Club demonstrating that Latinos consider energy and environmental

issues as having a significant impact in their quality of life and that of their

families.  The survey also found that

nature and the environment have a cultural, spiritual and religious

significance among Latinos resulting in a belief of a moral responsibility to

protect God’s creation. (To see the video of the presentation click HERE)

Jason M. Leon stated, “Environmental

hazards pose a risk to the Latino community but efforts to combat them provide

a positive opportunity.  Green jobs in construction, technology, and

energy retrofitting are anticipated to pay more than today’s construction jobs

where 27 percent of the Latino workforce is represented.  As the Senate works on the climate bill, one

of our goals is to ensure that we not only to move Latinos into quality green

jobs with living wages but also into green careers.  Apprenticeship programs provided by the

unions provide workers with the skills necessary to prepare for jobs in a clean

energy economy.”

Advocates face multiples challenges

as they inform and work to engage Latinos on the green environment and the

green economy such as: language barriers; gaps in educational attainment; issues

of access and affordability of having environmentally friendly behaviors; and distrust

of government agencies.  “In order to

fully engage Latinos in the climate change debate we must disseminate culturally

and linguistically relevant information on environmental issues.  We must not only offer green job training but

also encourage the pursuit of careers in science, technology,

engineering, and mathematics. To address the distrust of government agencies, organizations

with experience working with the Latino community must be engaged.  There is so much distrust of government

agencies within the Latino community due to immigration concerns.  Latino organizations are a better messenger

for a crucial issue that yields such a disproportionate impact on the health

and wellbeing of Latinos,” declared Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, NLCCC Vice Chair

and President of the Hispanic Federation.

The NLCCC is

holding regional briefings throughout the U.S. to inform and engage Latinos

on the issues of climate change, global warming, energy and the environment at

the local and national level.

The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) is comprised of

a number of national Latino organizations seeking to inform, educate and engage

the Latino community on the critical issue of global warming, to ensure that

Latinos have an integral voice in the national dialogue on climate change.  For more information visit www.latinocoalitiononclimatechange.org

You must be logged in to post a comment Login