The Sand to Snow National Monument is a haven for outdoor recreation for families in the Coachella Valley. (Robert Fanger/Hispanic Access Foundation)

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March 22, 2021

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service – CA

LOS ANGELES — A new poll shows Latino voters in California are even more supportive than the general population of policies that protect public lands and combat climate change.

The new survey finds an overwhelming majority of Latino voters, 85%, support President Joe Biden’s new goal of protecting 30% of the country’s lands and waters by the year 2030.

Shanna Edberg, director of conservation programs for the Hispanic Access Foundation, which commissioned the survey, said even COVID-19 hasn’t shaken that support.

“For both Latino voters and California voters at large, we have nine out of 10 supportive of making conservation investments, even in the midst of a pandemic,” Edberg observed.

The poll also found 83% of Latinos surveyed support dedicating funding to address air and water pollution in lower-income parts of California, compared to 72% of all voters.

Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director for Audubon California, said Latino families often live in urban areas with little access to parks or nature trails, so 82% like the idea of setting aside funds to improve access to outdoor recreation, particularly in lower-income communities of color.

“Latinos really care about the environment, really care about the land, the water, natural resources,” Ruiz contended. “These communities need to participate. We just need to be heard.”

In the survey, more than three-quarters of Latino voters support gradually transitioning the state of California to 100% renewable energy, and barring oil and gas drilling from public lands that are important to wildlife migration.

Hispanic Access Foundation also has developed an online toolkit which explains the range of environmental problems facing the state.