This week, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa joined Latinx communities across the country to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Latino Conservation Week. Since launching, the Hispanic Access Foundation initiative has uplifted the integral connection of Latinx comunidades and Madre Tierra and ongoing work to ensure equitable access to healthy outdoor spaces for all.
From July 15 to 23, community, nonprofit, religious, and governmental organizations host outdoor and educational events across the country. These activities support local conservation efforts and the long-term preservation of our land, water, and air.
Chispa, the Latinx power-building program within LCV, and their state affiliates joined in on the action. Chispa AZ, Protégete CO, Chispa MD, Chispa NV, and Chispa TX planned and participated in events to promote environmental stewardship, uplift conservation efforts, and connect as a Latinx community in the natural beauty of the outdoors.
The importance of Latino Conservation Week could not be more relevant as deadly heat waves, extensive flooding, wildfire smoke, and increasing costs and energy bills plague households and disproportionately burden Latinx communities and communities of color. Now more than ever, we need policies that protect outdoor spaces, promote healthy air and water, and ensure all communities have access to a healthy, livable outdoors.
To highlight these issues, LCV and Chispa hosted a Twitter Q&A in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to celebrate and learn from CHC Chair Nanette Barragán and other members of the caucus, including Senators Alex Padilla and Robert Menendez, and Representatives Juan Vargas, Jimmy Gomez, Salud Carbajal, Andrea Salinas, Gabe Vasquez, Maxwell Frost, Sylvia Garcia, Raul Ruiz, and Raúl Grijalva. The Chispa team asked questions that reflect their shared concerns for our planet and communities, and the CHC members responded, discussing their efforts to confront the climate crisis, protect public lands, and improve equitable access to a healthy outdoors.
Read the answers to their questions below:
1). This year, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Latino Conservation Week to uplift Latinx communities’ long standing conservation leadership to expand equitable access to the outdoors. How do you celebrate and why is this week important to you and the communities you represent?
2). Chispa Texas: We are facing a climate crisis with more extreme weather events like record heat waves and flooding. What work are you doing to address this crisis and ensure our communities can enjoy access to a safe and healthy environment?
3). Chispa Arizona: As historic climate investments in the IRA are implemented, how can Congress work with @POTUS to advance a just, clean energy future & protect sacred lands like Oak Flat from extractive uses?
4). Chispa Nevada: ¿Qué harán para proteger MÁS tierras para que se conviertan en monumentos nacionales o en áreas preservadas y que no sean ocupadas por industrias contaminantes? ¿Cómo trabajarán para resguardar la flor, la fauna, y nuestros espacios abiertos? (What will you do to protect MORE lands so that they become national monuments or other preserved areas and are not occupied by polluting industries? How will you work to protect flora, fauna, and our open spaces? )
5). With Protegete Colorado: States like Colorado are overdependent on tax revenues from fossil fuel industries, while Latinx communities shoulder the burden of its impacts and pollution. How can our economic needs be met while ensuring we have healthy communities?
6). With Chispa Maryland: What is the best way for promotoras and community members to advocate for conservation, improved air quality and clean transportation, environmental justice, and equitable access to the outdoors?