Almost 50 percent of New Mexico’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. In the United States as a whole it is 18%, with a projection of 25% by 2050. Hispanic and Latino culture has existed long before the founding of this country and continues to grow and solidify in the fabric. national.
In this Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s recognize the influence Latin Americans and Hispanics have on how we conserve land and water. Acequia’s irrigation systems and sustainable agriculture are just a few of the deep-rooted environmental traditions held by Hispanic, Latino, and Indigenous communities.
While the country’s colonial history resulted in the downscaling or downscaling of many of these ancient practices, the values ââof conservation and sustainability continue to thrive in Hispanic and Latin American communities. A strong sense of gratitude for the environment around us is ingrained in the way we view the world.
With many Hispanics now living in low-income communities, these environmental values ââhave been reinforced out of financial necessity. Whether it’s energy, water, or food, conserving resources as a family continues to be an important part of Hispanic culture. This despite a lack of reciprocity in the environmental field.
Both financially and socially, Hispanics and Latin Americans continue to be excluded from environmental opportunities, despite a demonstrated commitment to sustainability. Recreational activities on public lands are often inaccessible due to high fees, equipment and cost of travel. Socially, our voices are under-represented in decision-making discussions, regardless of our ingrained history and our connection to these lands.
As we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, we must address these inequalities that exist for nearly half of New Mexico’s population. Our state is teeming with exceptional public lands that should be accessible to people whose ancestors have historically explored and cared for them. To do this, Hispanic voices must be heard, amplified and validated.
Today, “Latinos are strong supporters of creating new national monuments, protecting water sources like the Colorado River, encouraging permanent reauthorization, and fully dedicated funding from Land and Water Conservation. Fund, and the establishment and maintenance of regulations under the Clean Air Act. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, “support for wildlife, public lands and conservation is higher among Hispanics than among any other ethnic group in the country.”
To our fellow Hispanics and Latin Americans, let’s honor our legacy by demanding a voice in decision-making arenas around public land and water conservation, advocating for more conservation practices like the 30 Ã goal 30, and by guaranteeing access + to public lands for future generations.
To our fellow environmentalists, we urge you to seek out and include Hispanic and Latino voices in spaces where they are lacking. The effort to establish fairness and inclusiveness needs support and solidarity, so show your commitment today as we honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
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