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Latino Conservation Action Week: Opinions, Impacts, and Responsibilities GreenLatinos The City Project #LCW2016

Exploring the causes of strong Latino support for environmental protection and government action to control climate change. Latinos and Climate Change: Opinions, Impacts, and Responsibilities by Sam García for GreenLatinos and The City Project (Policy Report 2016).



Latinos and Climate Change: Opinions, Impacts, and Responses GreenLatinos The City Project

Sam Garcia Boats in Pearl Lagoon Nicaragua 2016

Numerous recent studies have demonstrated that Latinos in the United States care deeply about the environment and the effects of climate change. A 2015 poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future, for example, found that Latinos disproportionately feel personally affected by global warming and support national regulation to curb its effects. Another poll conducted by GreenLatinos, Earthjustice, and Latino Decisions similarly demonstrates broad Latino support for environmental conservation and concern for the health impacts associated with climate change. In fact, registered Latino voters ranked several environmental concerns as highly as they ranked immigration reform.

These findings contradict several stereotypes about Latinos, their political beliefs, and concern for the environment. The first is that Latinos are a single-issue demographic solely concerned with immigration reform. Poll results clearly demonstrate that this is not the case. The second is that concern for the environment is a privilege reserved for “affluent, white liberals.” But as Gabriel Sanchez, research director of Latino Decisions, notes, “Latinos are actually among the most concerned about the environment, particularly global warming.”

This paper explores the causes of such strong Latino support for environmental protection and government action to control climate change. I will focus primarily on three major factors, namely local exposure to pollutants, the effects of climate change and pollution on migrant farmworkers, and impact of global warming on Latin American nations. I will also briefly address the influence of Pope Francis, the first Latino pope, and his strong calls for environmental conservation and climate justice. Lastly, I will examine the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) put forth by Mexico and Brazil in preparation for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in order to assess two major Latin American nations’ strategies for combating climate change. I will conclude by briefly discussing the significance of Latino perspectives on climate and the environment moving forward and offer several policy recommendations to help address the disproportionate impact of greenhouse gas emissions on Latino communities.

Samuel David García, Latinos and Climate Change: Opinions, Impacts, and Responses (GreenLatinos and The City Project Policy Report 2016)

Photo Boats in Pearl Lagoon Nicaragua 2016 Sam García

Land Conservation in a Changing Climate Yale 2016 Berkley Workshop NYC The City Project

Yale-Alliance Berkly Workshop Land Conservation in a Changing Climate

Pocantico Center NY. Click for larger image.

Convened by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science and the Land Trust Alliance, the “Berkley Workshops” explore a particular topic that most land trusts have not had the time, energy, or relationships to address. The workshops bring together experts with whom land trusts would not typically collaborate in their daily work. Participants explore ways to address access to conserved lands for a broader public – through physical design and facilities, social networks and programming, and the civil rights dimension of equal access to publicly funded resources.

For 2016, the workshop focused on “Land Conservation in a Changing Climate: Stewardship Science and Financing” to explore ways that land conservation can help respond to changing climate. The workshop took place at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Pocantico Center in New York.

Permanent protection of natural areas requires that people care enough about the earth and people to conserve land for generations to come. In July 2015, the Berkley Workshop met in Acadia National Park in Maine on ways to increase public access to conserved lands for a diversity of users. Key questions explored were: “Who uses what natural areas and why? How can design attract more users? How are land trusts engaging around these topics on their communities?” The City Project contributed to the report on Increasing Access to Natural Areas: Connecting Physical and Social Dimensions (at pages 20-27), which was generated from the 2015 workshop.

Thank you to Brad Gentry, Associate Dean, Yale FES, and Director, Yale Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation, for his leadership and vision.

Participants 2016

  1. Avery Anderson, Founder and Principal, Impairative, NM
  2. Judy Anderson, Founder and Principal, Community Consultants, NY
  3. Barbara Bedford, Professor, Cornell University, NY
  4. Forrest Berkley, Board Member, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, ME
  5. Eron Bloomgarden, Partner, Encourage Capital, NY
  6. Andrew Bowman, President, The Land Trust Alliance, DC
  7. Cody Desautel, Land and Property Director, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, WA
  8. Kim Elliman, President, Open Space Institute, NY
  9. Jay Espy, President, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, ME
  10. Torri Estrada, Managing Director, Carbon Cycle Institute, CA
  11. Robert Garcia, Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project, CA
  12. Brad Gentry, Associate Dean, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, CT
  13. Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt, WA
  14. Rick Huffines, Executive Director, Tennessee River Gorge Trust, TN
  15. Hilary Irby, Head of Investing With Impact, Morgan Stanley, NY
  16. Dylan Jenkins, Vice President of Portfolio Development, Finite Carbon, PA
  17. Chris Larson, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Island Capital, CA
  18. Tom Lautzenheiser, Central/West Regional Scientist, Mass Audubon, MA
  19. Darren Long, Program Director, Climate Adaptation Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, MT
  20. Rue Mapp, Founder, Outdoor Afro, CA
  21. Jen Molnar, Managing Director and Lead Scientist, Center for Sustainability Science, The Nature Conservancy, VA
  22. Michael Northrop, Program Director Sustainable Development, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, NY
  23. Smita Rawoot, Associate Director, Service Implementation, 100 Resilient Cities, NY
  24. Mary Scoonover, Executive Vice President, Resources Legacy Fund, CA
  25. Marc Smiley, Principal, Solid Ground Consulting, OR (facilitator)
  26. Bruce Stein, Associate Vice President, Conservation Science and Climate Adaptation, National Wildlife Federation, DC
  27. Peter Stein, Managing Partner, The Lyme Timber Company, NH
  28. Jonathan Thompson, Senior Ecologist, Harvard Forest, MA
  29. Leigh Whelpton, Program Director, Conservation Finance Network at Island Press, DC
  30. Ethan Winter, New York Conservation Manager, The Land Trust Alliance, NY

Blog post by Tim Mok, Cal Poly Pomona ’17 MS Regenerative Studies, The City Project Intern

‘It’s only working for the white kids’: US soccer’s diversity problem, The Guardian

Les Carpenter, writer at The Guardian, describes how talented players from lower income communities of color are denied opportunities for success due to rising costs of participation and exclusionary recruiting.

Football is the world’s great democratic game. But in the US success is often determined by the wealth of a player’s parents. . . .

Doug Andreassen, the chairman of US Soccer’s diversity task force . . . sees well-to-do families spending thousands of dollars a year on soccer clubs that propel their children to the sport’s highest levels, while thousands of gifted athletes in mostly African American and Latino neighborhoods get left behind. . . .

“The system is not working for the underserved community,” he says. “It’s working for the white kids.” . . .

Coaches, organizers and advocates say interest is there, especially among immigrants from Mexico and Central and South America, where devotion to soccer runs generations in families. But finding those kids is hard. Money has only hardened the divide between rich and poor, leaving the game to thrive in wealthy communities, where the cost of organized soccer has become outrageous, pricing out those in lower income neighborhoods. . . .

[A 2013 study on the effects of the pay-to-play system for US men’s national teams] found the soccer players came from communities that had higher incomes, education and employment rankings, and were whiter than the US average, while the basketball and football players came from places that ranked lower than average on those same indicators. Those numbers have tightened since 2008, reflecting more recent diversity in soccer, but the gap remains. . . .

Scholarships often cover the cost of the league but little else. They don’t provide transportation for the player whose parents might work during practice, or don’t have enough money for gas to drive to games. Some families don’t have email and can’t get the club announcements. . . .

[The Urban Soccer Leadership Academy in San Antonio] is using soccer in building teams similar to those in the suburbs – but at a minimal cost. . . .The program, which is designed to help send as many kids to college as possible, has recently expanded from largely Latino neighborhoods to include African American communities as well. . . . [It] gives hope to the kids who would otherwise be lost in the pay-to-play system the structure of a suburban team without losing their identity or style of play. . . .

[The creation of a national leadership academy would] give leaders in underserved neighborhoods the power to build their own San Antonios. . . . Once underground leagues now would be on the map, in view of college coaches and federation and professional scouts. The kids playing on the street corner would have a greater possibility of being found. They would get a chance.

Robert Garcia, Robbie LaBelle, and Raul Macias with Anahuak youth at Raul Macias Field, L.A. River Center Grand Opening, 2009

The City Project and Anahuak Youth Sports Association use soccer as an organizing tool to bring people together to build the kind of community where families want to live and raise children.

Read the rest of the story in The Guardian.

Central Park Body Painting Turtle Pond #BodyPainting #NewYork

Central Park Body Painting Turtle Pond Central Park Body Painting Turtle Pond #BodyPainting #NewYork

CLE California Coastal Law Conference Sept 22-23, 2016 Civil Rights & Environmental Justice

California Coastal Law Conference 2016

The 2016 California Coastal Law Conference addresses “Moving Forward and Speaking Coastal.”

The sessions on Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in the Coastal Zone include:

Robert García, The City Project
Marce Gutiérrez-Graudinš, Director, Azul
Amy Trainer, Deputy Director, California Coastal Protection Network
Coastal Commissioners Roberto Uranga and Effie Turnbull Sanders

Related sessions include sea level rise and climate justice by Coastal Commission staff, and low cost lodging with Susan Jordan, CCPN.

Robert, Marce, and Amy wrote California Coastal Access and Climate Justice For All in NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine.

Click here for more on The City Project’s efforts to “Free the Beach!” and “Save Our Coast and Climate for All.”

Click here for complete information on the California Coastal Law Conference.




L.A. County Board of Supervisors Approves Parks for All Ballot Measure

Solis AYSA

Supervisor Hilda Solis with Anahuak Youth Sports Association players


San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps

Solis Kuehl

Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl

Our Parks


Red, White, Blue – and Green!

NRPA GreenLatinos Host Historic National Summit at Grand Teton National Park

NRPA GreenLatinos 201607
NRPA GreenLatinos 201607 39

NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine July 2016. Click here for the PDF.

Red, White, Blue – and Green: On July 4, Hopes for More Parks Access in L.A. County The City Project

Red, White, Blue – and Green: On July 4th, Hopes for More Parks Access in L.A. County
New America Media, News Report, George White

In Los Angeles County – like much of America — July 4th is a day many will celebrate at parks and beaches. Hundreds of thousands of L.A. residents will flock to grassy preserves and ocean fronts to frolic and observe fireworks, demonstrating their love of natural settings as well as country.

When the fireworks smoke clears, the LA County Board of Supervisors will take a big step towards protecting local parks and open spaces for generations to come.

On July 5, the Board is expected to decide whether to place a parks funding measure on the November ballot. If the board approves a new proposition, advocates for more parks access for people of color (who constitute a majority in the county) are hopeful it will pass.

Some of those hopes are based on recent parks improvements in underserved areas. Park lands in the Baldwin Hills region, a predominantly black community, are a favored July 4th destination. Funds from the Baldwin Hills Conservancy and the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas helped finance a hiking trail in one of the region’s recreational areas.

Robert Garcia, a prominent Los Angeles civil rights attorney, is among the hopeful. In an interview, he noted that Santa Monica Beach is a popular Independence Day venue for many because it is accessible via bus and rail lines. Garcia is a promoter of the county’s natural wonders but he has also spent much of his career fighting for the creation of more and better parks amenities for low-income communities.

“These communities have been willing to tax themselves, but the moneys from public bonds and tax measures have to be invested equitably,” said Garcia, founding director of City Project, a parks advocacy nonprofit that has won numerous legal battles to create and save park land.

There are signs that a new parks tax could regain robust support from voters of color.

In 2014, Proposition P, a countywide parks measure, was narrowly defeated. Responding to criticisms about implementation, the LA County Board of Supervisors embarked on a Needs Assessment in which every city participated, providing input on the unique needs facing their communities. Thousands of residents were consulted and helped to identify priorities based on a more specific needs assessment. Those priorities, in turn, informed the measure that the Board is considering placing on the ballot, helping to ensure that all communities, including communities of color, are represented.

Also, a June poll by a public opinion research firm (Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates) indicates that a new ballot initiative would receive enough of the traditionally pro-parks Latino, African-American and Asian-American votes to generate the two-thirds majority required to pass a new levy. The respondent tally: 79 percent of Latinos, 75 percent of African Americans, 65 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders and 64 percent of whites indicated a willingness to vote for a new parks ballot.

“The county has a needs assessment that is more promising,” said Garcia. The recent Fairbank public opinion poll reflects “the concern of people of color, residents who have the worst access to parks and the highest obesity rates,” Garcia said.

As July 4th draws near, other leading parks access advocates are weighing in on county voter predispositions, favored July 4th venues and the prospect of creating more outdoor recreation opportunities for underserved communities.

Consider the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, a 500-foot peak in a restored area of an urban park just southwest of downtown Culver City. The state of California purchased the property in 2000 and closed it in 2006 to create hiking trails and stairs for accessibility. The peak is now considered one of the best county venues for viewing fireworks. Parks access advocates such as Jose Gonzalez, founder of the Los Angeles-based Latino Outdoors, would like to make it more accessible to parks-poor communities.

Gonzalez and Rue Mapp, founder of Oakland-based Outdoor Afro – another parks access advocacy group – are among the founding members of Parks Now, a coalition dedicated to improving state and county parks for the underserved. Parks Now has used the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook as a backdrop to promote a “Parks Forward” state legislative initiative designed to create funding and programming to meet the parks needs of an “increasingly urban, diverse and young California.”

Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles is one of the preserves that could benefit from new parks funding. The annual Grand Park July 4th “block party,” which offers food, free music and fireworks, attracts a diverse population. That event will presage the decision on a possible new parks funding measure that may be made the following day by county supervisors meeting only 500 feet away.

Take Action on #OurParks, LA County Board of Supervisors Hearing July 5

Los Angeles County has the opportunity to improve park access for all. Safe, quality parks and open space play an essential role in the social, health, environmental, and economic vitality of our communities in Los Angeles County.

On July 5th, the LA County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to place a measure for parks and open space on the November 2016 ballot.

Take action on the future of parks by attending the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting and show your support for park funding!

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Meeting

Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Time: 1pm
Location: Kenneth Hall of Administration
500 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Click here to RSVP. Wear green to show your support!

En español 

#OurParks coalition is convened by Bruce Saito, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, San Gabriel Mountains Forever, The City Project, The Trust for Public Land, Phil Hester, Day One, Audubon, Heal the Bay, and The Nature Conservancy.

Be a part of the 50+ organizations who have committed to supporting #ourparks and #openspace! Click here to read the #OurParks coalition principles and sign on.

The City Project’s full-length comic book highlights our campaigns to create and preserve parks and open space in Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles State Historic Park and Baldwin Hills Park, working alongside diverse allies.