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KANW is a member of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serves the Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues across the Mountain West.From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we'll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

Poll: Latinos in the West among the most concerned about environment, supportive of conservation

A screenshot from the presentation of Latino results that shows the high level of concern respondents have about climate change.
Hispanic Access Foundation
A screenshot from the presentation of Latino results that shows the high level of concern respondents have about climate change.

The 14th annual Conservation in the West Poll again showed strong, bipartisan support for conservation policies, and concern about a range of environmental issues. On many questions, results for Latino respondents showed even higher levels of support and concern.

For the poll, a project of Colorado College, thousands of residents of eight Western states were surveyed – among them hundreds of Latino voters. During a recent presentation of the findings, panelists said that Latino perspectives on environmental issues haven’t always historically been heard.

“Latinos are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” Daniela Zavala said in Spanish.

Zavala is the communications director for Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO). She added that many do not have air conditioning or struggle to pay for energy bills. They also make up a significant portion of the workforce in outdoor occupations like agriculture and construction, where workers are exposed to extreme temperatures and wildfire smoke.

In the survey, Latinos expressed the highest level of worry – 69% – about the environment, and were the most likely – at 89% – to seriously consider a public official’s position on conservation when voting when compared to white, Black and Native respondents. They also showed above-average support for policies like expanding public land protections and prioritizing conservation over energy production.

In another standout result, fully two-thirds of Latinos surveyed also said climate change is a very serious problem.

“The results of this survey reinforce existing evidence that Latinos are ready to be heard, and that they are worried about climate impacts and want to tackle climate change,” said Karina Meza, head of communications at the Hispanic Access Foundation.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Hey everyone! I’m Murphy Woodhouse, Boise State Public Radio’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter.