‘Not about polar bears, but people.’ Latino lawmakers shift focus on climate change

State Sen. Ricardo Lara’s environmental awakening came when he left home and realized he didn’t have to shut his windows to avoid the dirty air.

Lara said he learned that not everyone played in rail yards, or had trucks idling in their neighborhoods because of the heavy congestion. When he asked his parents why they lived so close to the freeway, they told him it was out of convenience.

“The people that come from these communities are the ones that are having these discussions,” Lara said, reflecting on his upbringing this week at the UN climate talks in Germany. “There’s a been a big push for us to talk about how the policies are impacting people.”

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