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Green Latinos Weigh Environmental Issues as Heavily as Immigration Reform, Report Indicates

First Posted: Jan 31, 2014 05:48 PM EST

Latinos don't want to leave a carbon footprint -- and they don't want to leave behind a broken immigration system either.

Instead, in a perfect world, Latinos would like to leave behind a cleaner planet and a powerful legacy -- goals that every race and nationality would ideally like to leave behind. So are they even attainable? A survey conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council takes a closer look at these concerns that plague the minds of many Latinos.

According to the survey, "Latinos care as intensely about climate change as getting immigration reform passed through Congress," Latina Lista reports. "The poll reveals that even across party lines, Latinos recognize that the future looks pretty bleak for themselves and their children if elements of climate change aren't addressed soon."

Most Americans' stance, in conjunction with a majority of Latinos, is they want President Obama to step up to the plate to "prevent things from getting worse."

How did the survey break down the importance of establishing a plan of action on both fronts?

"Nationally, nine in 10 Latinos want the government to take action against the dangers of global warming and climate change -- Of those, 68 percent of Republican Latinos say that it is important -- including 46 percent of Republicans who say it's very or extremely important-for our government to tackle global warming and climate change," Latina Lista adds.

"Nationally, eight in 10 Latinos want President Obama to curb the carbon pollution that causes climate change -- Of those, 54 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Independents support presidential action."

Additionally, when presented with five ideas proposed by scientists to fight climate change, about 9 in 10 Latinos favored (somewhat/strongly): better gas mileage for automobiles (92 percent), use of renewable energy (92 percent), limit power plant carbon pollution (87 percent), build energy efficient homes/buildings (94 percent) and preparing communities for future weather events like storms, floods, and hurricanes (91 percent).

Another important factor to mention in the study are Latinos' global perspective -- "when asked if they thought about these concerns in terms of themselves, their families, community, country, entire world, or something else; the most common response was out of a concern for the 'entire world.'"

Other contributors to a more global perspective stem from "transnational ties Latinos share with family and ancestral homeland." Global perspectives comes with global concerns -- "in fact, 63 percent were 'somewhat to very worried' about environmental problems facing families abroad."

Do these concerns weigh on Latino men and women differently?

The survey also addressed gender, noting that 88 percent of male respondents feel that it is important for our government to tackle global warming and climate change and 92 percent of female respondents are also on board with their viewpoint.

From an economic standpoint, the survey zeroed in on income, noting that 91 percent of those making less than $20,000 a year say that it is important for our government to tackle global warming and climate change, and 86 percent of those with incomes over $80,000 hold this view.

"Latinos are a growing and potent force in America, and they'll be watching closely as the president's climate action plan advances in Washington," said Adrianna Quintero, senior attorney for NRDC and Founder of Voces Verdes. "Latinos have a deep sense of interconnectedness, not only to family and friends we see every day but to our cousins, aunts and grandparents, whether they live in the United States or abroad. That powerful sense of community extends to concerns for others. Fighting climate change is part of our obligation to build a more hopeful future, for all."

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