Giving the lie to the myth that lower income and minority Americans don’t care about the environment, Latino voters are proving to be some of the most dedicated environmentalists in California. For example, 74 percent of Latino voters approved a recent $2.6 billion parks and open space measure that was supported by just 56 percent of white voters. A 1999 survey found that while Latinos often felt cut off from the mainstream green movement, preserving the environment was important to an astonishing 96 percent of respondents — more people than supported protecting immigrant rights or ensuring bilingual education. As minority influence and interest in environmental issues has grown, the movement has increasingly recognized the need to focus on issues like lead poisoning, public transit, and air and water quality, in addition to preserving wilderness.

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