Many Hispanics are very concerned about climate change.

Sanchez: “The Hispanic population is more likely to live in areas that have a lot of air quality issues. So I think part of it is a direct self interest that they realize, ‘Hey these issues out there that are environmental, they not only impact everybody’s livelihood and ability to be able to maintain their well-being,’ but Hispanics realize that they face some disparities on those issues.”

That’s Gabriel Sanchez of the University of New Mexico and the Director of Research for a firm that focuses on Latino political behavior. He says they also care because more than half of the Hispanic population in the U.S. is foreign born.

Sanchez: “I think a lot of Latinos realize this isnt just something impacting the U.S. This is global, and a lot of them have kind of global roots because of their notion of being foreign born.”

Some Latino immigrants work in industries which may have more limited opportunities in a carbon constrained future. But they, like many other Americans, realize job growth and reducing global warming are not mutually exclusive.

Sanchez: “Latinos are pretty sophisticated on these issues and they realize, ‘Look, it’s not necessarily an either/or situation.’ They understand that there’s the prospect of job growth in moving to industries like solar and wind power that might over time produce just as many jobs. So they’re looking at it like, ‘Can’t you have your cake and eat it, too?’”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal
Poll: Most Hispanics Concerned About Climate Change
The Poll’s Findings (Global Warming National Poll)
2013 Pew Foundation poll (Global Warming Tables)
2014 Study PLOS One (National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality: Outdoor NO2 Air Pollution in the United States)

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...