Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mujeres de la Tierra

Check out Mujeres de la Tierra (Women of the Earth) at:


(Yes, I know I could just have added the hyperlink, but I wanted to address itself to show too...)

Environmental Justice in LA

L.A has been quite the laboratory for Latinos and environmental issues. Definitely because of the huge Latino population there, but also because of the very clear environmental problems that the communities are exposed to. Communities and groups have mustered the strength to start the fight against the problems and also have begun to redefine what it means to be an environmentalist in the contexts of the barrio.

A recent story (April 2009) in Newsweek paints a general picture of how the issues play out in the LA area, and how a "Green Latino Movement" displays that environmental issues are not a "luxury of the elite" (that has been a main complaint of the "environmental movement", that it's a white middle class endeavor, basically a cause for those that have the time and can afford it...)

I think more and more of these stories will be coming out. When I was doing research on these topics (the fruits of which I hope I'll be able to condense soon enough...) I was finding that it was there were few mainstream publications and news outlets mentioning the struggle, and of course, community groups have few resources to devote to websites and media outreach. But big organizations are beginning to take up the issues (for good and bad) and be more responsible about them, and the grassroots are not going to be going away.

I want to close now by saying that I think the Newsweek article does a fair job of providing some of the main "ideas" or issues when it comes to Latinos and the environment, which are:

1) It is about community and familia
2) The health aspects of the issues are just as, if not more, important than "traditional" environmental issues (wilderness preservation and the like)
3) Latinos need access to green spaces, and such spaces are valued as family spaces
4) Latinos do have a history of wise resources use and conservation
5) Latinos need to be part of the discussion and solutions, not just the "victims"

ok, more later

Let's give this a Shot...

So this will be another attempt at working with the title of "Green Chicanismo", which is synergizing of Chicanismo with environmental issues. It will be a place to share thoughts and ideas, to communicate. I will not ignorantly claim to always be in the right or correct all the time, but it's important to to keep discussions going.

So feel free to always provide constructive comments and join the blog if you are interested.

First off, the issue of brown faces and the environment is not new. Mind you, I will not share a long history of it here, but I suggest you begin by reading the work of Devon G. Peña. In particular the book Tierra Y Vida.

Some stuff I'm sure will be preaching to the choir, so to speak, but I'll be attentive some terms and issues that may seem obvious or not clear at all. For example, I am going with the term "Green Chicano" because I think it captures what I'm trying to say about how "brown" people interact and engage with environmental issues. They are issues of social justice and environmental justice, so again, these are not new things I am touching on, because environmental justice has a meaningful history as much as it is still developing.

But again, I use "Green Chicanismo" because I use the term Chicano in the broad and inclusive use of the term, not as a strict ethnocentric term. And I realize that Green Chicanismo is a term that is not commonly used, as a quick Google search indicated. So I will be using it and claiming it for my purposes to expand on issues that link "Latinos", "Hispanics", "people of color", "brown people", and environmental issues here in the US(more on why I use quotation marks with those terms later. Also international issues are just as important but I may not focus on them as much).

This matters not just for its own sake, but because the "green movement" is becoming more mainstream, it has obviously been recognized that Latinos matter and that they may engage differently with environmental issues. Just as "green" is becoming more commercialized and part of general public policy, it has important cultural aspects as well and it is important and interesting to see how it interacts with different cultures and perspectives.

So this blog will serve to discuss new polls, news stories, thoughts, culture, the artes, and so forth.

I am not a writer, so my thoughts may ramble a good deal of the the time. But again, jump right in and let's have a discussion where we learn from each other, especially when we may not agree.