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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator


Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Tell Senator Rubio: Stop turning your back on the Latino community! We need action on climate change now!

Dear Friend,

“There is climate change. The issue is whether there is legislative proposals before us that can do anything about it.”1

This is what Sen. Marco Rubio asserted after a media firestorm befell him in reaction to comments he made during an ABC News interview denying that human-caused climate change is real. He later claimed that while climate is “always changing,” he just does not believe that elected officials like him can or should do anything about it.2

As a scientist living in Florida, I see local and global climate change data and projections that are truly alarming. A new report on climate change impacts by the National Climate Assessment has named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels.3 It also happens to be nearly 70% Latino.4 I am not just worried about my family in Florida but I am also worried about those who live in other vulnerable states—like New York, California, North Carolina, and Texas.

It is unacceptable that Senator Rubio, a prominent Latino leader, refuses to act on climate change—especially since Latinos overwhelmingly support immediate action. In fact, a recent national poll confirms that other than immigration reform, there is no other issue that Latinos support more.5

So we are taking a stand along with Forecast the Facts. We're going to make sure that politicians, like Sen. Marco Rubio, who refuse to believe in or act on climate change are understood to be on the same level as being against Latino values.

Tell Sen. Marco Rubio: Stop turning your back on us! Latinos want immediate action on climate change!

While Senator Rubio has made efforts to support some version of the DREAM Act and to temper his anti-immigrant rhetoric, we have not forgotten his praise of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 law and his original opposition to the DREAM Act.6 We know his old Tea Partino habits do not represent what the majority of Latinos believe in.

His stance on climate change is just the latest example of his anti-Latino values.

We're already feeling the effects of climate change—heavy rainfall, wildfires, extreme temperatures—all concentrated in parts of the country where there are significant Latino populations.

Tell Senator Rubio: Stop turning your back on the Latino community! We need action on climate change now!

Thanks and ¡Adelante!

Nicole Hernandez Hammer, MBA, MS

Nicole Hernández Hammer, Presente member, is a sea level researcher living and working in Florida who focuses on climate change and Latino outreach issues.


1. What people are saying about what Marco Rubio said about climate change. Tampa Bay Times, May 13, 2014.

2. Rubio clarifies climate change comments. The Hill, May 13, 2014.

3. Miami Finds Itself Ankle-Deep in Climate Change Debate. The New York Times, May 7, 2014.

4. Important Issues to U.S. Hispanics: Add sea level rise to the list. Latina Lista, September 10, 2013.

5. Poll finds that Latinos overwhelmingly support climate action. Grist, January 24, 2014.

6. How Marco Rubio Evolved on Immigration Reform. National Journal, January 29, 2013.