A couple of months ago I wrote about the Green Kids Conference I attended in Silicon Valley where I represented Moms Clean Air Force. I wrote about how impressed I was with an 11-year-old child (and his parents) who inspired a future generation of adults to care about our planet. What I didn’t write about was how disappointed I was at the lack of Latino presence both as attendees and as exhibitors.
The conference was the first of its kind and was attended by about 800 people. I spoke to only two or three Latino parents and their children the whole time I was there. While it is true that Latinos come in all shades and colors, so there probably were a few more than what I gathered, it was undeniable that the overwhelming majority of attendees were of Asian descent or non-Hispanic whites. Sadly, I must admit I wasn’t surprised, but I was surely disappointed.
Do Latinos not care about our environment? (Please note that I’m not saying they don’t, I’m just asking if they do.) I don’t know the answer, but many times it feels that, if they care, they are not showing it.
Take the following as an example: I recently saw one of my co-workers print a bunch of extra copies of a document that he promptly proceeded to dump into the trash can next to his desk. I was appalled because the recycling bin is right next to the printer, so all he had to do was turn his body around and throw the extra paper in the bin. When I called him on it, he told me he didn’t believe there was any value in recycling. I winced because I’ve heard this many times before from lots of other Latinos. A healthy discussion ensued, but I’m sad to report I wasn’t able to change his mind. His biggest argument was that recycling was just another ploy to exploit people financially while making them believe they are doing their part to save the environment. If we can’t even get people to do something as simple as recycling, how can we get them to fight for clean air?
Another example of the disconnect between Latinos and the environment is something that happened – or didn’t happen – over at our Spanglish Baby blog a few weeks ago. Ana wrote a post offering to give away $100 to one of our readers if they joined MCAF. We promoted it heavily on both Twitter and Facebook. And, even after extending the original deadline, the amount of entries we got were an embarrassing eight. Why?
Again, I don’t know the answer, but I sure enough hope that together we can figure out a way to change this because not only are Latinos more likely to be affected by dirty air, but this is really the kind of topic that needs to be brought to the attention of everybody who cares about our planet.
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