Brenda got in touch with me because she found an article that I wrote about engaging Latinos in climate change work, for Toolkit partner Casa Michoacan's Mexican federation magazine this past summer, when they hosted a big gathering of federations in Chicago. That article is shared below.
How have you worked with the Latino community, in Chicago or other places?
What's your experience of how different Latino practices and values connect with sustainability and climate action?
How are these practices and values similar to or different from those you have found in other cultural communities?
How are they different among different Latino populations?
- The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) helped lead the successful fight to close down the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants, a major source of pollution and carbon emissions in the Latino neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village since the early 1900s.
- Other organizations in Pilsen are installing and running gardens, to grow food, provide more green space for play and socializing, improve health, and store carbon. Michoacán. They serve as a cultural symbol and as a powerful symbol of the ability to freely cross borders. The most recent garden installed in the neighborhood is the Mary Zepeda Native Garden, a collaboration between Casa Michoacán, The Field Museum, PERRO, and the daycare center El Hogar del Niño. It serves as a play space for the daycare and an outdoor learning classroom for the community.
- Latino organizations comprise 15% of the Energy Action Network, a city program that provides funding to community organizations across the city to sign up residents for home weatherization and engage them in energy conservation, to save money, reduce carbon emissions, and improve health.
- On the Southwest Side, the Academy for Global Citizenship charter school draws on their Latino families’ traditions of reuse and outdoor socializing to bring them together for a variety of climate action-related activities including a very popular community-wide rummage sale.
- The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) participates in national and international climate justice efforts and leads local environmental justice campaigns that also link to climate action, including public transit, water, clean power, and open space.
- Chicago’s Latino residents have a proud history of entrepreneurship, and a number of small businesses are incorporating climate action into their business models. For example: