Latinos see connection between pollution and public health
Although the economy and jobs are top concerns for Latino voters, the public-health effects of environmental pollution continue to cause worry in the Latino community. Pollution of our air and water resources is still the top environmental concern for Latino voters nationwide, with 61% saying it is among the top two environmental issues for them and their families. Since 2008, concern about air and water pollution and toxic waste sites has grown by 10 percentage points.
Today, 43% of Latino voters say they live or work near a toxic site, such as a refinery, a coal-fired power plant, an incinerator, an agricultural field, a major highway or a factory. This represents a significant increase since 2008, when 34% reported living or working close to a toxic site.
Latinos favor personal and government investment in clean energy
The Latino population clearly favors clean energy over dirty fossil fuels, and 83% agree “coal plants and oil refineries are a thing of the past. We need to look toward the future and use more energy from clean sources.”
Nearly 9-in-10 (87%) Latino voters, with all wages and benefits equal, would rather work in the clean energy industry than at a fossil fuel company or oil refinery. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of the Latino electorate supports the United States’ continued investment in clean energy sources rather than fossil fuels.
Global climate change is a reality for Latinos
More than three-fourths (77%) of Latino voters believe that global climate change is already happening, while another 15% say it will happen in the future. This compares with about half (52%) of all Americans who say that the effects of global warming have already begun, according to a Gallup poll conducted in March.
More than 9-in-10 (92%) Latino voters agree that they “have a moral responsibility to take care of God’s creations on this earth - the wilderness and forests, the oceans, lakes and rivers.” More than 9-in-10 Latino voters (94%) say outdoor activities such as fishing, picnics, camping, and visiting national parks and monuments are important to them and their families. Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) Latino voters say they would support the president designating more public land as national monuments.
Latinos strongly support environmental and public health protections
More than 7-in-10 (72%) Latino voters agree that “environmental regulations protect our health and our families by lowering toxic levels of mercury, arsenic, carbon dioxide and other life-threatening pollution in our air and water.” An overwhelming majority (94%) of Latino voters also believe that they and their families can help curb toxic air and water pollution by conserving energy.
Source: Sierra Club, 2012 Latinos and the Environment Survey, Executive Summary, August 2012.