LatinaLista — Long before Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, Latinos knew that man had a hand in climate-induced disasters. A 2015 poll by EarthJustice and GreenLatinos found that 66 percent of Latinos believed global warming and climate change were mostly caused by human activities.
Since then, that intuitive conviction has only strengthened.
A new study by Yale University, Climate Change in the Latino Mind: May 2017, reveal the extent of that belief.
According to the study:
- More than eight in ten Latinos (84%) think global warming is happening, including nearly nine in ten Spanish-language Latinos (88%).
- Six in ten Latinos (63%) are “very” or “extremely” sure global warming is happening, including seven in ten Spanish-language Latinos (70%).
- Seven in ten Latinos (70%) understand global warming is mostly human caused, including three-quarters of Spanish-language Latinos (76%). By contrast, only about two in ten Latinos (21%) think it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.
- Three in four Latinos (78%) are worried about global warming; one in three (35%) are “very worried”, including 43% of Spanish-language Latinos, who are “very worried”.
- Half of Latinos (50%) think people in the U.S. are being harmed by global warming “right now,” including nearly two in three Spanish-language Latinos (63%).
- A majority of Latinos think global warming will cause “a great deal” of harm to plant and animal species (68%), future generations of people (64%), the world’s poor (61%), people in developing countries (55%), or their grandchildren (54%).
- More than half of Latinos (53%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.
- About half of Latinos (48%) discuss global warming with family and friends “often” or “occasionally,” including 58% of Spanish-language Latinos.
- Fewer than half of Latinos (41%) hear about global warming in the media at least once a month or more frequently.
- Eight in ten Latinos (83%), including nine in ten Spanish-language Latinos (90%), say that global warming is at least “somewhat” important to them.
- A large majority of Latinos (85%) support schools teaching children about global warming, including more than half (57%) who “strongly agree” that schools should teach children about it.
- Nearly one in four Latinos say either providing a better life for our children and grandchildren or preventing the destruction of most life on the planet are the most important reasons to reduce global warming (each 23%).
A review of the answers show just how intuitive Latinos are to co-existing with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, in a society that values corporate profits for the few more than a high quality of life for everyone, it’s not surprising that Latinos see a disconnect in Washington with their feelings on the issue.
- Three in four Latinos want corporations and industry (77%), citizens themselves (74%), President Trump (74%), and the U.S. Congress (73%) to do more to address global warming.
- A large majority of Latinos (68%) think the U.S. should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions “regardless of what other countries do.”
- Eight in ten Latinos (81%) support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax.
- Half of Latinos “strongly support” funding more research into renewable energy (55%), regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (50%), or providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (48%).
- Many Latinos are willing to take political action on global warming, including a majority who would vote for a candidate for public office because of their position on global warming (60%). A majority are also willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming (51%), including 61% of Spanish-language Latinos.
- Seven in ten Latinos (71%) have never been contacted by an organization working to reduce global warming.
- Latinos face different barriers to contacting elected officials about global warming, including about three in four (73%) who say nobody has ever asked them, and more than six in ten (64%) say they do not know which elected officials to contact.
As the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues, there’s no doubt that more voices will be added to raising the alarm over global warming and the human role in it. It can only be hoped that memories are not short in Washington when it comes to drafting policy that will protect everyone’s way of life, which in the end leads to stronger profits all the way around.
Featured Photo: In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans have been driven from their homes and face a food shortage, no electricity, and limited cell service and running water.