by Mark Magaña
The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC)
This past Thursday, July 26th, I had the pleasure of being the moderator of an outstanding panel at the 19th National Membership Convention of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). Thanks to the sponsorship of AREVA, a select group of guest speakers shared their expertise and thoughts on “how Latinos and Unions Can Lead the Way in environmental Protection and Job Creation in the Green Economy”.
One might think that Latinos are not that concerned about the environment, or simply don’t understand what the “green economy” really means. As a Latino, please let me tell you that this issue is very important and it is present in the daily lives of Latino community members.
This topic can seem a little bit daunting but thanks to panelists such as Sean Sweeney, Director and founder of the Global Labor Institute at Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR); Susan Hess, Director of Public Relations and External Communications at AREVA Inc.; and Francisco Carrillo, Director of Latino Affairs and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, audience members and I could broaden our understanding of the environmental health risks the Latino community faces and the policies essential to both improving the quality of our environment and assisting Latinos and unions in laying the foundation for a new green economy.
I strongly believe that Latinos care deeply about the environment and will play a key role in the climate change and the green economy conversation. We just need to think about our “abuelas”; the consummate recycling queens. Through my grandmother, I learned that all things have a value and should be conserved, and not to be wasted.
Back home in Washington, DC, I reflect on what I learned at the panels and I’m grateful that organizations like LCLAA and companies like AREVA are part of this very important conversation. I have no doubt that climate change will remain a central issue to our community, and we’ll continue to play a leading role in the green economy.
Mark Magaña is the Executive Director of The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC), a coalition of 14 of the nation’s most prominent Latino organizations to fight climate change. Led by the National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the Hispanic Federation, NLCCC vigorously supports and puts forward initiatives to educate Latinos about climate change, energy independence, and a green, healthy environment.