Oct 9, 2008

African Americans, Latinos less concerned about global warming

Communities lack education, worry over cost of implementation, according to survey

By Reginald James

Although people of color are most adversely affected by global warming, it’s a lower priority among African Americans and Latinos, according to a survey released by The Research and Policy Institute of California (RPIC). The survey also found that communities of color were under-educated on legislation and policies intended to combat global warming.
Education and awareness on environmental issues and legislation appears to be low – and frequently absent – within the communities of color, based on RPIC’s findings.
“Education is a key factor in the lack of awareness about environmental legislation and the many components within the legislation that goes beyond just providing a cleaner environment or improving air quality,” said Casanya Ursery, Executive Director of RPIC.
RPIC surveyed nearly 200 community leaders throughout the state to serve as a broad indicator of how educated their communities are and the perceptions they have regarding proposed state legislation such as Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2006.
The community leaders surveyed consisted of public policy leaders, civic leaders and key influential business leaders in the state’s African American and Latino communities. Participating organizations included the California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CHCC), and the state’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Though environmental education and awareness was not high, overwhelmingly respondents of the survey placed the development of renewable energy sources as the most pressing environmental priority.
“African-American and Hispanic small businesses and families will be hardest hit by the higher electricity, fuel and food costs resulting from AB 32, and yet this survey shows that there is very little known about the state’s proposed climate change plan in our communities,” said Aubry Stone, President and CEO of the CBCC

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