Texas on the Brink… Turning My Rose-Colored Glasses Red

Living in Texas has been a mixed blessing. My husband and I moved here so we could be close to his Cuban family, which is very important to both of us. I started my first Art Studio along the River. We  bought our first house together in a very exceptional historic neighborhood- a hidden enclave for artists and gardeners in the middle of the city. We ride our bikes Whole Foods and I have met people who will be friends for life.

However, I can’t say that I have ever felt at home here or had a deep connection to the larger community. And, I could never clearly identify what caused my very “meh” regard for Texas other than the super hot weather, flat terrain and lack of Trader Joe’s… And then, I saw this…

The following stats of how Texas compares to other states:

50th=Lowest, 1st=Highest

  • Air Pollution Emissions 1st
  • Pollution Released by Manufacturing Plants 1st
  • Amount of Green House Gases Released 1st
  • Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Water 1st
  • Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Air 4th
  • Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Air 1st
  • Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Water 7th
  • Number of Clean Water Permit Violations 1st
  • Number of Environmental and Civil Rights Complaints 1st
  • Number of Hazardous Waste Spills 2nd
  • Amount of Hazardous Waste Generated 1st
  • Number of Hazardous Waste Sites on National Priority List 9th
  • Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emissions 1st
  • Consumption of Energy Per Capita 5th
  • Consumption of Electricity Per Customer 10th
  • Open Space Protection 50th
  • Drinking Water Quality 38th

I strongly believe in taking responsibility for and contributing to my community and environment- jumping-in to create positive change whenever and wherever possible- not just sitting back and whining like many of my lefty friends. On that note, I attended GreenCamp Houston and helped create, run and fund GreenCamp San Antonio. But, after reading the above facts I finally understand why my ire is raised when people tell Carlos and I that we would like Texas better if we would just move to Austin. My rose colored glasses turn red and foggy. Meanwhile, I convince myself that I can affect change in this strangely materialistic, largely uneducated part of our Great Country.

My attempts and small involvement will not create a single positive change to the above numbers.

Maybe Bill Maher is correct, “We ought to change our motto from E Pluribus Unum to I Am Sam?” His other point of absolutely requiring government involvement (and dare I say, guidance?) as we try to extract ourselves out of the deep economic-environmental shit hole in which we currently swim starts to make a lot of sense too.

It’s not hard. Sustainable businesses making a profit, growing the economy without killing the earth. Why can’t we get it right?

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