With a steadily growing population, parts of the community and residents of San Marcos, Texas have been making efforts towards living sustainably and helping the environment.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2021 the state of Texas had a population of 29.53 million people. Every single one of those people individually live their own lives and have their own values. However, one thing that they all have in common is energy consumption.
The Texas power grid is operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which uses a mix of different energy sources to meet the demands of the residents in Texas. According to ERCOT’s 2021 annual report, only two of the five main energy sources in Texas are renewable. With wind energy at 23% and solar at 1%, these two have the smallest percentages being used in Texas.
Even with the small percentage of wind and solar energy being used in Texas, the City of San Marcos offers the Renewable Energy Program that allows residents to have access to these renewable energy sources. The city is also involved in many other programs and events, and provides a list of sustainability resources to give others the opportunity to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
With those events and resources available to the public, one large project that took place March 4 was the 38th Annual Great Texas River Clean Up. The event focuses on cleaning and maintaining waterways in San Marcos, and is made up of volunteers. The reach of this project spans across the entirety of the city and even stretches up to Kyle. When volunteers sign up there are many different watershed locations to choose from, each with their own headquarters.
The most recent event that took place in San Marcos was the 10th Annual Earth Day Festival on April 22. The festival was hosted by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and offered many different activities and eco-friendly booths whose goals were to educate the community and bring awareness to taking care of the environment.
Where’d The Wild Things Go was a booth present at the festival being run by creator Emily Tolipova. Tolipova is a wildlife illustrator focused on bringing awareness to endangered species by using watercolors and typography.
“Based on the people that I’ve talked to at the different booths that are doing stuff for the Greenbelt and also the different groups around the river cleaning up trash and debris and just keeping it green,” Tolipova said. “I think San Marcos is doing a really great job and are really trying different ways to keep the rivers clean and helping out our environment.”
Another booth at the festival was Hunter’s Hive Candles, who were selling beeswax candles with recyclable containers and packaging. Owners Hunter and Kelsey think there should be more events like the festival and share the same opinion of the younger residents in San Marcos interested in sustainability.
“The youth is the future,” Hunter said. “And I think Earth is in good hands as far as keeping it alive.”
“I think that the youth is going to save us and that they’re the ones that care the most,” Kelsey said. “ They will probably actually be the ones to change it.”
With Texas State University growing and with its location in San Marcos, the youth of the city is steadily growing. In 2022 Texas State had a total of 38,171 students enrolled at the university, and had the largest freshman class with over 7,500 incoming students.
On the university’s campus there are many different clubs and organizations that students can choose to join. There are five main organizations focused on sustainability and environmental efforts.
One organization is Engineers for a Sustainable World. President Sydney Shanahan and other officers work towards educating members and anyone else about what sustainability is.
“Our goal is to find some sustainable solutions to the community’s problems,” Shanahan said. “And that includes Texas State or just anywhere in San Marcos.”
With plans to work with another organization, Bobcat Build, and many other projects in the future, members are currently working on their first project in the Ingram Industrial Makerspace. Those interested work in teams to take old license plates and give them a new purpose by creating bags or boxes made out of the material.