Why Climate Change Is Such an Important Issue for Hispanics
As a recent New York Times/Stanford poll found, climate change is becoming an increasingly big concern for all Americans. But a deeper dive into the survey showed that concern is highest among Hispanics. This New York Times article explains that Hispanics are more likely to feel climate change affects them personally, and more likely to support policies to curb carbon pollution. Our own research into ethnic groups came to similar conclusions.
Hispanic/Latino Americans have good reason to feel this problem is urgent – more than half of them live in the states of Florida, Texas, and California, all of which have suffered serious climate impacts including drought, flooding, and wildfires. They may live in neighborhoods that are more heavily exposed to pollution. And since many depend on agriculture for their livelihood, they are worried about the effects that severe weather and drought will have on farming. Their concerns are real – now it’s up to us to help turn those concerns into positive action, and inspire this growing population to wield their political clout and fight for climate solutions.
By Coral Davenport, Contributor to the New York Times
Alfredo Padilla grew up in Texas as a migrant farmworker who followed the harvest with his parents to pick sugar beets in Minnesota each summer. He has not forgotten the aches of labor or how much the weather — too little rain, or too much — affected the family livelihood.
Now an insurance lawyer in Carrizo Springs, Tex., he said he was concerned about global warming.
“It’s obviously happening, the flooding, the record droughts,” said Mr. Padilla, who agrees with the science that human activities are the leading cause of climate change. “And all this affects poor people harder. The jobs are more based on weather. And when there are hurricanes, when there is flooding, who gets hit the worst? The people on the poor side of town.”
Mr. Padilla’s concern is echoed by other Hispanics across the country, according to a poll conducted last month by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. The survey, in which Mr. Padilla was a respondent, found that Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. It also found that they are more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing it.
Image credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times