San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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April 23rd, 2008
COMMENTARY: Congressman Lloyd Doggett

My wife Libby and I hit the trail cycling this weekend and, as you may have heard, I hit it a little harder than I expected.  After surgery on my leg, I am now recuperating.  I have already received many thoughtful messages wishing me well—thank you for your kind words.  Although on crutches, I look forward to returning to Washington to stand up for you.  I am afraid that, for at least a little while, not only will I not be able to get back to Washington, but I have had to cancel a number of events across the district and will be unable to visit Hays County for a few weeks, such as for the Buda/Kyle Relay for Life, the TSU Young Democrats BBQ at the county courthouse, the Buda Weiner Dog Race, and the upcoming Cinco de Mayo events.

One of those issues we must address and that was to have been the subject of my Earth Day speech at Aquarena Springs, is the issue of global warming.  Hays County is replete with environmental treasures–Aquarena Springs/Spring Lake and the San Marcos River, Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole, which I visited last week to study some water quality issues.  Our waters are beautiful to behold, but they are also vulnerable.  The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.  At the fifth Earth Day celebration, as a much younger Texas State Senator representing Hays County, I spoke about the difference individuals can make.  Now, three decades later, after immense growth across Central Texas, our needs have not changed — clean air, clean water, and green spaces – but the challenge has.

In the recent past, we have seen what droughts and unprecedented growth can do to aquifers and waterways in Hays County.  Global warming is intensifying this threat.  And unfortunately, for the last eight years, the Bush Administration has been largely in a state of self denial about the near unequivocal scientific reports, while obstructing all effective initiatives to control greenhouse gasses.

When Gandhi said “We must become the change we wish to see in the world,”— he wasn’t talking about climate change, but it certainly represents one of our most significant challenges now.  When it comes to greenhouse gases, our country is the world’s leading polluter, and our State is our country’s leading polluter.  If we are to avoid catastrophe, we need to begin here and now.   The change we seek really must begin with us.

This challenge is being addressed by our own Texas State River Systems Institute.  It is one of the best places in the world to study aquatic ecosystems and species.  Here is the place to plan for the impact of increasing global temperatures that will lead to droughts and water scarcity, causing a decrease in the quality of water and increased conflicts over water allocation.  Also here in Central Texas, renewable energy is gaining popularity — wind, water, sun, and biofuels are increasingly available for powering our homes and communities.

Working together, with our neighbors and families, we can provide a healthier and safer planet for all of us.  A wish you a belated Happy Earth Day — and let’s make every day Earth Day in our homes and offices, across our great country, and around the world.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett

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