In California, Asian Americans are emerging as a political force. This group is one of the fastest growing racial or ethnic groups in the state. From 1990 to 2000, the Asian American population grew 52%, outpacing the growth rate of Latinos (43%). From 2000 to 2005, their population grew 24%, from 3.8 million to 4.7 million, representing 38% of California’s gain in population. By 2025, Asian Americans are projected to represent 18% of California’s population.
Despite their current and projected population, Asian Americans represent an untapped and largely ignored constituency, one that could provide the critical support needed to advance environmental reforms and programs. Few organizations serving the Asian American community work on environmental policies or programs. At the same time, staff of environmental organizations report that it has been challenging to engage Asian Americans in environmental issues that directly affect their communities.
Ben Tulchin and Julie Lein of Tulchin Research assisted the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in a groundbreaking survey of Asian American attitudes toward the environment. The results highlight the Asian community’s commitment to the environment– with 83% calling themselves environmentalists and nearly seven in ten voters (69%) identifying global warming as a top concern.