GRID at Americas Latino Eco-Festival

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September 29, 2014

Last week at the Americas Latino Eco-Festival (ALEF), GRID Colorado had the privilege of joining the Sierra Club and a distinguished group of speakers for a panel on Race and Renewable Energy.

The Americas Latino Eco-Festival – only in its second year and already attended by celebrities, artists, scientists, and community and public policy leaders from all over the Americas - was started to promote environmental awareness and create a platform for dialogue and mobilization for a just society to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy environment. Naturally, GRID Colorado jumped at the chance to participate!

According to studies conducted by the NRDC and others, 9 of 10 Hispanic voters prefer investing in clean, renewable energy sources to fossil fuels. Eighty six percent of Latinos support the Obama administration taking action to limit carbon pollution – an even higher percentage than the 61 percent of all Americans who support the President’s climate action plan. This is because people of color, including Latinos, are disproportionately affected by water and air pollution.

By 2021, Latinos will make up over 50 percent of Colorado’s high school students, 32 percent of Denver County’s population and 24 percent of the under 18 population in Boulder. “If conservation initiatives do not become relevant to our cities, engage with youth and diverse communities, our ability to shape the future of our planet will be undermined,” said Irene Vilar, ALEF founder.

Clean Energy Action moderated the Race and Renewable Energy Panel, which addressed the effects of our current energy industry on the health and welfare of communities of color, how investment in renewable energy and policies can benefit them, and how these communities can become involved in and profit socially and economically from a new energy economy. Beatriz Hernandez, with our local construction team, represented GRID Alternatives and brought her personal experience - growing up in Mexico and California and now working as a renewable energy professional- into this essential dialogue.  

Watch the full panel here, which includes insights from the following speakers:

Samuel Assefa – Senior Urban Planner, Department of Sustainability and Community Planning, City of Boulder (introduction)

Christina Gosnell – Clean Energy Action (moderator)

Beatriz Hernandez – GRID Alternatives Colorado

Marc Steward - 2nd Vice President, Denver NAACP

Donald Bufford - 3rd Vice President, Denver NAACP

Brett KenCairn – Senior Environmental Planner, City Of Boulder

Kendra Sandoval – Sandoval And Sandoval LLC, Latino Eco Festival