As Serenity Begins to Sink

Aug 8, 2017

Napier Kentish, Communications Intern

At 12:00 pm, the sun is overhead, shining rays of warmth upon your skin as the air from the ocean’s breeze sooths your developing tan. As the water from the ocean sways back and forth effortlessly, your lips release an “ahh”—you are vacationing at one of the most popular destinations for summer: Miami, Florida. With beautiful beaches and landscapes surrounding you, your mind is relaxing from your day to day back home. This feeling of enjoyment is overpowering and fulfilling, but so unreal for the residents of Miami, or those whose families still live there like Alfredo Ramirez.

Growing up in Miami, Alfredo recalls the days in which everyone’s favorite vacation destination wasn’t exactly serene. “I was raised in a suburb of Miami on the border of the Everglades and the front lines of climate change.” He wasn’t able to attend elementary school on days when his childhood asthma flared up after uncontrollable wildfires left the skies dark and spewing ash from their clouds. “I remember vividly the days we couldn’t swim at the beach because there was too much waste in the water.” Miami—a beloved vacation spot for some, but home for thousands—is just one of many communities feeling the devastating impacts of climate change.

Climate change is impacting communities across the globe as sea-levels and temperatures rise. Unfortunately, the adverse effects of climate change disproportionately impact communities of color, and with Miami’s large population of Latino families, work needs to be done in order to combat climate change.

Today, Alfredo works to fight climate change and protect our children from exposure to pollution as an associate digital campaigns manager for the League of Conservation Voters’ Chispa program. Through Chispa, a Latino organizing program, he ensures that Latino communities across the United States have online and digital avenues through which they can #ActOnClimate in their specific state, while the program’s local work focuses on community organizing.

In states like Arizona, Nevada, Connecticut, New Mexico, Colorado, and Maryland, Chispa is organizing Latino communities around environmental issues that impact the wellbeing of the community, which often includes highlighting environmental policies that affect the quality of the air their children breathe, the water they drink, and places they live. Alfredo’s work engages people in the online realm on relevant issues while building digital partnerships with like-minded organizations to grow the Latino voice in the environmental movement—amplifying what is happening on the ground in communities across the country.

Alfredo wants you to remember, “that whether or not you know it, the environmental movement involves everybody, and environmental issues like climate change and pollution affect you whether you care about them or not.” Whether Miami is one of your potential next vacation spots or another city, remember that communities are impacted by the decisions our elected officials make. Take a look at our National Environmental Scorecard to get a better grasp on whether your representatives in Congress are championing the task of protecting our environment for future generations to enjoy.  Join the movement and text “CHISPA” to “877-877” to help safeguard places like Miami for future generations to enjoy.