Eco Centro to educate the community on environmental sustainability through workshops.
By Bismarck D. Andino
Drilling oil has an impact on the environment, and we only have one earth and we have to take care of it, said student government President Harley Williams Jan. 27.
“We have a hole in the ozone — that is proven — it’s just growing and growing,” Williams said.
Williams talks about the Antarctic ozone hole that serves AS a “sunscreen” from ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and damage plants, which according to NASA scientists, grew 8.9 million square miles in 2016, nearly three times the size of this country.
As President Donald Trump anticipated for his first week in office — at the beginning of his campaign — “America First Energy Plan” became a reality as he took the oath of office.
According to the White House website, the new energy plan encourages the use of America’s fossil fuel reserves such as untapped shale, oil and natural gas to achieve independence from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Trump is also committed to revive America’s coal industry.
The project, which estimated $50 trillion in revenues, will help to rebuild roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure.
There is a risk in climate change, but recognizing it or not, depends on people’s political position, government Professor Elder McCants said Jan. 23 in an interview with The Ranger.
“There are some who see climate change as a serious threat and that it needs to be addressed right now,” McCants said. “There are others who acknowledge the threat of climate change, but also acknowledge the importance of America’s needs on energy.”
On the other hand, the Climate Action Plan, Obama’s effort aiming to stop climate change, was thrown out from the White House website. This plan encouraged the development of low-carbon sources and discouraged the use of coal for electricity to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. According to Obama’s White House Archives website, U.S oil imports dropped to 4,711 barrels per day in 2015 compared to 11,115 units per day in 2008.
Although McCants favors Obama’s climate plan, he understands that of Trump.
“I hope that he would still have in place safeguards that do protect the environment because climate change is a big issue,” he said.
Aiming to educate students and the community on environmental sustainability, this college has been offering educational activities through William R. Sinkin Eco Centro since April 2014, program coordinator Julie Cornelius said Jan. 23.
“The purpose of Eco Centro is to educate the community on how to be more sustainable thereby conserving natural resources,” Cornelius said. “We provide classes and workshops and information on all different areas of sustainability: Recycling, water conservation, alternative transportation, and alternative energy,” she said.
Cornelius said Eco Centro sponsors about eight educational activities per month, and that volunteers are always welcome. The event calendar for February-April will be posted on Facebook. The next event will be Feb. 8 on local air quality and climate challenges, policies and opportunities.
Although Cornelius did not comment when asked about Trump’s energy plan, she said Eco Centro hosts meetings for environmental non-profit groups as well as the City of San Antonio, which also uses the building for meetings on developmental and drainage issues.
She said San Antonio is going to add another million people to the population in the next 20 years, so she believes being proactive right now is necessary to do smart and low impact development.
“We need to look at our water source and make sure we are not draining the city and the surrounding areas of those natural resources or paving over the aquifer, which happens very often,” she said.
For those students who disagree with President Trump’s plan, McCants has some words of advice. “Protest, vote, and be educated,” he said. “Find where you want to protest, get a permit, don’t do it illegally, don’t do it violently, and make our political leaders think not only at a national level, but state and local as well.”
For information about Eco Centro and how to volunteer, call Julie Cornelius at 210-486-1874 or visit Room 104 of Eco Centro on 1802 N Main Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212.