Water Equity and Ocean

GreenLatinos believes that Latine communities have a right to access clean, healthy, reliable, and affordable water for drinking, recreation, economic stability, and community health. We also believe that clean and healthy water is vital to a healthy environment. Water is a human right and unfortunately, Latino/a/e communities and other historically marginalized and underserved communities lack access in disproportionate ways.

Latines spend more money on water access due to reliance on bottled water due inequitable access to clean water.

A study found Latine households spend $2.17 more a month on water than non-Latines and are almost three times more likely to live in housing units with unsafe tap water

Our infrastructure is aging, yet federal funding for infrastructure has decreased from 60% to below 10%.

A study found it will take $109 billion a year in the next twenty years to fix the water infrastructure gap. Government agencies and utilities are raising their prices to fill this gap making water unaffordable in low-income communities and communities of color.

Moreover, to this day, more than two million people in the U.S. lack basic access to clean water, and our Latino/a/x communities are twice as likely to lack complete plumbing in their households.
Extreme weather events, like hurricanes and storm surges, are increasing in frequency and severity.

93% of climate change impacts are affecting bodies of water, with none more devastating to communities of color than the cycle of flooding, inequitable disaster relief, and the associated difficulties of staying in place during the recovery process. Most notably, in 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. A Harvard study estimated that Maria and its aftermath is responsible for more than 4,600 deaths.

Latine communities are disproportionately on the frontlines of the climate crisis and while often overlooked in the ocean stewardship and broader ocean-climate action movement, 89% of Latines believe in protecting the environment as a means of protecting their communities.

According to a national poll done by Azul in 2022, 78% say they would support actions to ban offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, and replace them with renewable fuels like solar and wind.

There is a clear need and a lack of federal funding to protect clean water for the most vulnerable in our community. While our nation's water is under threat, now more than ever, our Latino/a/e community needs to be at the forefront to advocate for equitable policies that protect our water and the basic human right to access it.

Nuestra lucha for conserving 30% of United States and Territories lands and waters in their natural state is a fight for social, economic, cultural and environmental justice. Latino/a/e and Hispanic communities have deep-rooted connections to the ocean that define our cultures and affirm our rootedness in the past, present, and future of this continent.


Our priorities

  • Cultural heritage: Only 24 of the more than 400 National Park units specifically preserve Latino/a/e history, cultura, and contributions to the United States of America. There is little evidence that any of the 1,000 marine protected areas preserve Latino/a/e heritage. Our stories of the ocean should equitably reflect the histories, futures, and contributions of everyone. GreenLatinos is on the frontlines of the movement for inclusive cultural interpretation at conservation areas that conserve cultural heritage like the Chumash Heritage and Hudson Canyon national marine sanctuaries, and an equitable land, water and ocean management workforce across federal agencies.
  • Climate: We resist generations of public health violations like urban heat, polluted air and water, lack of access to healthy food, and the effects of other extreme weather events by advancing nature’s power to address climate change. From marine protected areas to community garden conservation, we fight for our lands and waters to sequester carbon, provide clean air and water, allow water infiltration, reduce urban heat, and for fossil fuels to stay in the ground.
  • Biodiversity and habitat: Our cultures are rooted in the soil, bodies of water, plants, animals, and fungi that come from America’s lands, waters, and ocean. Somos hijos de la Tierra y el Mar. By protecting non-human species, water, and soil health, we protect our identities. GreenLatinos is here to ensure that these unique cultural assets to the Latino/a/x communities across the nation are properly protected by growing and sustaining federal, state and municipal conservation areas across our country’s lands and waters.  
  • Equitable access to nature: Communities of color are three times more likely to live without access to parks, creeks, and other natural areas compared to white communities in the U.S. It is a right for everyone to receive the healing powers of nature, not a privilege. Our vision for environmental liberation includes equitable and carbon neutral access to nature for all.  
  • Equitable public process: Language justice in the public processes for decision making about our public lands and ocean is one of many efforts that GreenLatinos advocates for. Our Public Land and Ocean Colectivo strives to ensure that outreach and communication across the decision-making process are available in English and Spanish. Only about 30% of Latines speak exclusively in English, and 71.1% speak a language other than English at home. Furthermore, our advocacy is for equitable access for all, and we ensure that we center and value the diversity of our community members, particularly those that may be undocumented or have non-citizen status.
  • Community: GreenLatinos cultivates deep, authentic relationships between Hispanic and Latino leaders and allies committed to addressing public lands and ocean conservation issues at the Public Land and Ocean Collective. 92 % of Latinos support setting a goal of conserving 30% of the country’s land and waters by the year 2030 (source)

How We Can Help

Our GreenLatinos Water Equity program is addressing these issues through awareness, advocacy for strong policy and equitable investments, and outreach in communities. GreenLatinos' work on water equity seeks to advance our Latine communities through infrastructure investment, access to clean water for rural and urban communities, addressing water affordability, and advancement of racial justice.

Water Equity and Ocean

Recent Achievements

GreenLatinos, along with nearly 100 organizations, presented a comprehensive blueprint for Ocean Climate Action, outlining recommended actions that served as a crucial tool in shaping the Administration's Ocean Climate Action Plan, a pioneering initiative that was unveiled in 2023.

In February 2024, staff at GreenLatinos, as part of the Ocean Equity Collective, provided training to over 200 participants of the NOAA Voyage to Justice Forum on Ocean Justice and relevant language.

Join Our Water Equity Collective!

The Water Equity Collective at GreenLatinos focuses on the current issues and opportunities in and around water-related issues. The Water Equity Collective seeks to address and advocate for water equity, affordability, and accessibility.

The collective focuses on these efforts through sharing information and resources, uplifting and learning from our Latino/a/e experts and leaders in the water sector, and taking direct, intentional, and meaningful action.

Learn MoreJoin the Public Land & Ocean Collective

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