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Latina leader wants to build a more inclusive climate movement » Yale Climate Connections


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Many Latino communities are among the most harmed by pollution and climate change.

“It touches our health, our pocket, our families, our food,” says Maria Santiago-Valentin, co-founder of the Atlantic Climate Justice Alliance.

She says despite these impacts, language and economic barriers often prevent many Latinos from participating in environmental causes. So she wants to build a more inclusive climate movement.

“Diversity is important because if we don’t have diversity, we’re always going to have one angle in the decision-making,” Santiago-Valentin says.

She says many people have busy work schedules and don’t have the time to study the research on environmental issues. And not everyone has equal access to information.

“We don’t have the same resources,” she says. “We don’t have the same connections.”

So she recommends environmental organizations provide information in Spanish and share resources freely so people can form their own opinions.

Then she encourages people in positions of power to elevate and listen to those opinions.

“And also be open to have … hard conversations,” she says. “Sometimes we don’t agree, but we move on because this is about growing and learning and for the benefit of the community.”

Read: Why climate change matters to Latinos

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media



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