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Latino Voters Are Crucial To the Environmental Movement; Studies Prove Most Consider Climate Change 'Very' Important

First Posted: Jun 07, 2015 04:30 PM EDT
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With around 54 million Latinos living in the United States these day, Latino voters are easily a major factor in determining the outcomes of elections. And this turns out to be good news for any environmentally-minded politicians out there.

A new study -- which comes to us from Latino Decisions, a political opinion research group, and the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation -- has revealed that 80 percent of Latino voters that participated in their "2014 Election Eve Poll" believed that it was “extremely” or “very” important for the federal government to take measures in order to reduce climate changing carbon pollution.

The recently released report took into account the results of four 2014 environmental ballot initiatives from the states of Florida, California, Colorado, and New Mexico.

As Maite Arce, the president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, explains, “This report provides definitive proof to what we’ve seen across the country – there is a significant, growing Latino movement that is both advocating and voting for greater environmental protections of our parks and public lands -- and having a real influence on Election Day outcomes on these issues.”

The new report corroborates an earlier The New York Times and Stanford University poll, which shows that over 54 percent of Hispanics said that global warming was “extremely” or “very important” to them personally, and that 67 percent of Hispanics stated that they would be hurt personally if nothing was done to reduce global warming.

“The Latino population is the fastest growing segment in the country,” says Arce, whose family emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico back in the 1970s. “Policy-makers need to realize that their engagement in conservation could have a far-reaching impact on elections, and the protection of our clean air, water and public lands."

A 2014 piece by Matt Cortina in the Boulder Weekly listed several reasons, economic as well as social, why Latinos cared about the environment.

Citing a Sierra Club study which noted that 92 percent of the Latinos polled said that they had a moral responsibility to take care of “God’s creations on this earth,” Cortina sees that looking after the land and water, for a majority of this fast growing minority, just might be a moral imperative.

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