Fortunately, a powerful cadre of climate leaders is emerging from Latin America. Domestic-level climate and energy policies—from countries like Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica—are setting standards for others to follow. In addition, Latin American countries have provided energy and momentum to previous UN climate talks, breaking the traditional stalemate between developed and developing countries.
All politics is local
Those advances in the southern hemisphere also make it increasingly vital that WWF play its part, and partner with both US-based Latinos and leaders in Central and South America to present a unified, powerful call to action—one heard not only in international meetings, but in the districts many members of the US Congress call home.
Moms Clean Air Force, for example, helps local people make their will known to government representatives in Florida. "We focus on educating parents on air pollution and climate change, and then connecting them with their elected officials, so we can drive a policy forward that protects our children's health," says Hernández Hammer. "For a long time now, we've had enough science to begin implementing sound policies that help us adapt to the impacts of climate change."
Building people's awareness can translate into powerful action, Lopez confirms: "We want Latinos to feel comfortable explaining why they are involved in this fight. We need more champions in Congress to address climate change. And we need this work to start in the local communities."