Linda Escalante
NRDC Southern California Legislative Director Linda Escalante

As a child, Linda Escalante moved from Bogota, Colombia to Burbank, California. There, she and her mom lived in a neighborhood stuck between a freeway, an airport, and a toxic waste cleanup site.

Escalante: “This is kind of the story about a lot of folks in my community. You have to live close to the sources of pollution in order to afford housing, and of course nowadays it’s just gotten worse and worse.”

In the U.S., one out of two Spanish-speaking people live in areas where air quality violates health standards. Click To Tweet

In the United States, one out of two Hispanics live in areas where air quality violates health standards. The traffic and industry that cause air pollution also contribute to global warming. And Escalante says that Latinos bear the brunt of that, too.

Escalante: “We live in areas here in the West primarily that are dealing with a lot of drought. So we feel it …”

… but she says that language and information barriers often prevent Latinos from getting involved in climate action.

Today, Escalante is the Southern California legislative director for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. She sees herself as a bridge between lawmakers and communities on the front lines of pollution and global warming.

Escalante: “I’m helping to build power and voice within the community so they tell their own stories … because that’s my story.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Linda Escalante image credit: NRDC video screen capture.

Topics: Policy & Politics