The NRDC recently examined the relationship between work, health, climate, climate health, and Latinos. The report informs that Latinos are supportive of the renewable energy transition (just like almost everyone else), and particularly as a means to better employment and improved health conditions.
Higher percentages of Latinos work outdoors. They are more often working in climate and weather conditions such as intensified heat and areas affected more often by flooding than other parts of the population. A heating climate is clearly not a good thing when it comes to these challenges.
Coupled with such weather and climate challenges, Latino workers are also less advantaged when it comes to access to health care.
It follows that Latinos are critically aware of and support climate action and the clean energy revolution. It follows that Latinos would prefer to support and work for industries such as solar and and wind.
NRDC: “The nation’s 56 million Latinos are especially vulnerable to the health threats posed by climate change because of where they live, work and lack access to health care. … Latinos, therefore, stand to benefit greatly from concerted efforts to reduce carbon pollution, which fuels global warming.”
“They are extremely vulnerable to hazard and harm from this widening environmental threat,” said Adrianna Quintero, a co-author of the report and director of partner engagement at NRDC. “In so many ways — from where they live and work to dire challenges they face in gaining access to health care — Latinos are at Ground Zero for climate impacts.”
So, as a group of workers, they will see not only the economic benefits as the country shifts to renewable energy and cuts carbon pollution driving climate change, but also general health improvements and well-being.
The report continues:
Nuestro Futuro, a comprehensive review of dozens of the latest studies and reports in the United States lays out the array of health and economic impacts that Latinos face as a result of climate change:
- A majority live in California, Texas, Florida and New York, states that are among the most affected by extreme heat, air pollution, and flooding.
- Latinos are heavily represented in crop and livestock production and construction, where they’re at elevated risk from climate-change-boosted extreme heat. They are three times more likely to die on the job from excessive heat than non-Latinos.
- Latinos generally have less health insurance coverage than non-Latinos, so they struggle to access health care when afflicted by climate-related illnesses.
The Nuestro Futuro report highlights these polling findings:
- 9 in 10 Latinos want climate action, and 86% support carbon pollution limits on power plants — a key driver of climate change. In contrast, a recent Associated Press poll found that 65% of all Americans think climate change is a problem that the government needs to address.
- A majority of Latinos, 59%, do not believe there’s a trade-off between environmental reforms and economic growth.
There isn’t a trade-off between environmental reforms and economic growth — in fact, environmental action creates more jobs.
The report also catalogs these other health impacts Latinos face:
- Nearly 25 million of the country’s 56 million Latinos live in the 15 worst areas for ground-level ozone pollution, which puts people at risk for premature death, lung cancer, asthma attacks and other health ailments. The areas include Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, New York and Houston.
- In 2015, 48 percent of the nation’s crop and livestock production workers and 28 percent of construction workers were Latinos, working in outdoor jobs that put them at high risk from extreme heat.
- Nationally, farm and construction workers accounted for 58 percent of job-related heat deaths, and Hispanics had three-fold more risk of dying from the heat on the job than non-Hispanics, and the report cites studies in California, North Carolina, and Oregon.
- On average Hispanic children suffer the same from asthma as non-Hispanics, but they are 70 percent more likely to be admitted to the hospital and, alarmingly, twice as like to die from asthma as non-Hispanics.
- And millions of Latinos are undocumented immigrants and not eligible for disaster aid offered to help people recover from extreme weather damages to property.
- Flooding from sea level rise and storms, both amplified by climate change, also hit Latino families especially hard. Many of them live along the coasts, often lack health insurance and have fewer resources to become resilient when confronted by climate impacts, according to the report.
- For example, southern Florida—home to 2.7 million Hispanics—could experience some of the highest impacts from rising seas and hurricane-driven flooding in the country. Communities including Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg could see floodwaters rushing higher and farther into their streets with climate change, according to the report.
“Millions of Latinos live in cities with pollution-choked air and along our coasts where seas are rising. They are in the vortex of climate-health impacts,” said Juan Decent-Barreto, a health scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who participated in the report release. “We know this: If we don’t reduce the carbon pollution fueling climate change, more will become ill, and more will die.”
You can read more here.
And here are some relevant lines from Leonard Cohen via NRDC:
They’ve summoned up a thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me