Letters to the Editor

Climate change: A Latino priority

As a former president of the United States Conference of Mayors, I have always given serious consideration to the agenda of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda released every four years. The NHLA represents Latinos on all the major issues that face our country, from economic inequality, to healthcare and immigration issues.

This month, I felt particularly gratified when I read that this coalition of 40 powerful Latino organizations made the historic decision to feature climate change among its top line political priorities. Miami is one of the most climate-vulnerable cities in the nation. This is part of the reason I launched Miami 21 during my first term. We need to grow smart if we want to flourish and continue to spur sustainable growth in the region.

Economically, climate change presents both a host of threats and a wealth of opportunities. Our shift to renewable power and energy efficiency means monumental opportunities on every level of the economy. As mayor, I used policy tools to harness that potential for Miami’s economy and to help bring green jobs to Latino communities.

The NHLA was released at a crucial juncture. Key environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act are under attack, and Latino leaders will be increasingly vocal in their defense in the coming years. We recognize that a viable 21st-century economy has a base in renewable energy sources, and that this economic transition means an expansion of opportunities for Latinos and the workforce as a whole.

Speaking of warming climates, we are seeing a shifting political climate with increasing attention directed toward Latino constituencies and their priorities. Latino leadership recognizes the urgency of climate change and knows that the time to act is now, for our communities and for future generations.

Manny Diaz, former mayor, Miami