Land and Nature
From a single tree to a national park, protecting nature in all of its forms is beneficial. Natural areas improve our health, make our world cleaner and safer, and bring family memories, stress relief, and protection from heat and natural disasters. Latinos are much more likely to need these benefits, as they are more likely to lack natural areas around them. Protecting nature is also a matter of protecting Latino cultural heritage. Throughout the US, there are places with rich histories in need of protecting and sharing their stories.
Rivers and Watersheds
Rivers, and the watersheds they belong to, bring us clean drinking water and the water we need for cooking, hygiene, growing food, transportation, and industry. They are also a source of fun, family memories, and economic benefits. Even if you don’t live near a river, we all live in a watershed, and our sources of clean water are in need of protection from pollution, development, and overuse.
Ocean and Coast
As with rivers, the ocean is a source of life, even for those of us who live inland. Regardless of where we live, we are connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the beaches we visit, the aquariums we wonder at, the seafood we eat, the medicine we use, and the watersheds that act like arteries to the ocean’s beating heart. But the ocean and coastal communities that rely on it are threatened by pollution, climate change, overfishing, and offshore drilling. By protecting the ocean, we protect this awe-inspiring source of mystery, landscapes, and creatures large and small.
Our Changing Climate
When the climate changes, it threatens the most basic human necessities, such as food, water, and shelter. It also increases the risks of natural disasters, such as wildfires and hurricanes, and helps spread disease and pollution. Latinos who are outdoor workers, who live in precarious housing, or who live in polluted and vulnerable areas are highly threatened by climate change. We can work to protect the climate at the same time as we create jobs, increase health and safety, and promote equity for our communities. Indeed, we must.
Engaging Generations to Come
In all of these areas, it is Latinos and other communities of color that suffer the most from environmental problems, and receive the least benefits from all that the outdoors has to offer. We must work to correct the inequities that cause this and engage across generations and cultures to leave our children a more just, vibrant, and healthy world.