From the Great Flood to climate action, San Antonio’s equity struggles reflected in its environmental fights.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Who lives and who dies in the wake of disaster is largely a political decision. In San Antonio, this has meant agreement by those living upstream that those downstream must bear the brunt of environmental risk. That’s the key takeaway from “From Climate Thunder to Climate Strike: Unearthing South Texas Histories of Environmental Resistance,” a community conversation produced along with Southside community arts group URBAN-15. “Climate Thunder” tells the story of historic environmental justice struggles in San Antonio around energy, water, and development—all as precursors of today’s climate activism.
In addition to discussions about equity and disaster following the Great Flood of 1921, “Climate Thunder” explores illegal monkeywrenching activities intended to slow Northside development and contestations around energy generation, including the Eastside’s “Dirty Deely” coal plant and the South Texas Nuclear Project. Guests include Diana Lopez, director of Southwest Workers Union; Olen Sluder, reformed monkeywrencher; Russell and Karen Seal of the Sierra Club; Robert and Guadalupe Alvarado, “Toxic Triangle” community activists, T.C. Calvert of Neighborhoods First Alliance; and UTSA professor Kenneth Walker, whose current research reimagines San Antonio’s historical struggles for equitable allocation of resources in response to extreme weather events through the lens of climate justice.
This episode follows on the heels of the Global Climate Strike, that inspired more than four million people around the world to march for a future without fossil fuels. It precedes by a week San Antonio City Council’s 10-1 vote in favor of a climate action plan to zero out the city’s climate emissions by 2050.
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