Latinos Have Greatest Concerns about Climate
September 26, 2016
Just one more reason GOP drums up the hate.
Violeta Maya lives on the west side of Brooklyn, along a busy highway, in a neighborhood spare of trees and green spaces. Now 80, Maya emigrated from Puerto Rico when she was a child. In the intervening decades, she has watched pollution from cars and factories cloud the skies above her home.
“We have a lot of pollution, and this has caused a lot of asthma,” Maya, who suffers from asthma herself, said. “They bring more stuff into this community than they do into Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, anywhere else. We can’t breathe.”
For Maya, the hazards extend beyond the noxious fumes seeping from tailpipes and smokestacks. Planet-warming carbon pollution is fueling record-breaking heat around the country and in New York. She can feel it.
“The heat is so bad that my doctor said to me, ‘You cannot go out in the heat,’” she said. “I see older people with umbrellas. I see people who have to hold onto the gate for a while to catch their breath. This is climate change. It’s going to get worse.”
Maya isn’t alone. Poll after poll after poll after poll after poll finds Hispanics and Latinos are more likely to acknowledge the climate is changing, worry about the threat, and support policy to slow the rise in temperature — even though they are less likely to identify as environmentalists. Why?
One possibility is that Latinos tend to lean left and vote Democrat. But even among Democrats, people of color are more likely to believe climate change should be a top priority for policymakers.
Among Americans of color, Hispanics and Latinos stand out: Several polls — see here, here and here — find they are more likely to support pro-climate policy than African Americans, even though they are less likely to identify as liberal or Democrat.