Open Letter about Climate Action

Because we, as knowledgeable faculty and staff at San Antonio’s colleges and universities, care very much about the imminent threat of climate change, we have individually signed this Open Letter to urge the San Antonio Mayor and City Council members (and all other political leaders) to make meaningful climate action and adaptation a top priority. We do not speak for our institutions.  We are, however, heartened by the growing awareness on our campuses of the urgency of Climate Action.

To: The San Antonio Mayor and City Council (as well as ALL candidates in local, state, and national elections)

We are college/university faculty and staff – teachers, scholars, researchers, counselors, and others – who are deeply concerned about climate change and its consequences for our children’s and students’ futures.

We applaud San Antonio’s 2017 City Council resolution to create a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Climate change is accelerating faster than previously expected. We therefore recognize the urgency to approve the plan and begin implementing its key mitigation and adaptation measures. As a city with a forward-looking City Council, combined with a public gas and electric utility and a city water utility (both capable of putting the public interest first), San Antonio is poised to make big strides in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and in making the transition to a more sustainable future.

Some detractors say the CAAP is too expensive to accomplish. The costs of doing only “business-as-usual,” however, are far greater: loss of life (and quality of life), damage to property and infrastructure, and destruction of critical natural resources. Sustainability – both economic and environmental – is predicated on production and consumption patterns that keep the planet habitable. Climate change is already hurting our local economy, but the CAAP shows the way to economic and social resilience.

Implementing the CAAP will necessitate some real lifestyle changes; however, most of those changes are accompanied by real co-benefits. Climate action cuts toxic air pollution, resulting fewer sick days and deaths. Upgrading buildings to be energy- and water-efficient results in lower utility costs and higher resale values. Repurposing used materials saves money, prevents landfill waste, and keeps money recirculating locally. The CAAP has the potential to turn San Antonio into an exemplary carbon-free community, attracting the kind of businesses that value environmental and social sustainability.

Furthermore, Climate Adaptation efforts must rapidly establish robust programs to make San Antonio safer and more resilient in the face of climate-linked disasters, like heat-waves and flash-floods. The CAAP’s equity emphasis is especially important for protecting vulnerable neighborhoods that lack necessary resources for such adaptation. We are all in this together, so making equity a priority in preparing our city for future climate crises is both just and practical. Some co-benefits of CAAP adaptation measures in all parts of the city include: Public health, jobs, conservation, cooling urban forest canopy, community gardens, local food production, and more integrated and mutually supportive neighborhoods.

Time is of the essence: San Antonio must accomplish both significant amounts of Climate Action and Climate Adaptation within the next 10-12 years. We urge you to approve and start implementing the CAAP as soon as possible, ideally in time for inclusion in the next City Budget.

As voters, we remind all candidates for local, regional, and national elections, that we will support only those who prioritize robust Climate Action and commit to a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

Sincerely yours,

Signed by ~

Trinity University faculty and staff:

  • Alfred Montoya – Sociology/Anthropology, Associate Professor, SA CAAP Advisory Committee Member
  • Meredith McGuire – Sociology & Anthropology, Professor Emerita, SA CAAP Technical Working Group member
  • Kelly G. Lyons – Biology, Professor. President, Texas Society for Ecological Restoration.
  • Professor David Ribble – Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Professor of Biology, and Director of Environmental Studies
  • Richard Reed – Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology 
  • Diane R. Smith – Herndon Professor of Geoscience 
  • Nancy Mills – Professor Emerita of Chemistry
  • Coleen Grissom – Professor, English Department 
  • John J. McCuster – Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor Emeritus of American History and Professor of Economics
  • and __70__ other Trinity faculty and staff listed below


GDPR Statement:

      • Your name and organizational information is collected ONLY  for the purposes of showing your support for this open letter.  It will be conveyed to the San Antonio Mayor and City Council and to other local political leaders. 
      • Your email address is collected ONLY to verify your signature.  It will NOT be conveyed to the Mayor, City Council, or other political leaders.  It will be kept completely private and will not be used for commercial or advertising purposes.  

University of Texas at San Antonio:

University of the Incarnate Word:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio:

St. Mary’s University:

San Antonio College:

Palo Alto College:

Independent Scholars:

[This is not a complete list, but we will add others when we have signatures from their faculty and staff.]

&&&&&&&&  Additional signatories  &&&&&&&&&

  • Ben Surpless – Associate Professor of Geosciences (Trinity)
  • Greg Hazleton – Visiting Assistant Professor, English and Environmental Studies (Trinity) 
  • Heather I. Sullivan – Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures (Trinity)
  • Judith Norman – Professor of Philosophy (Trinity)
  • Jennifer Mathews – Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology  (Trinity)
  • Shana McDermott – Assistant Professor of Economics (Trinity)
  • Julie Persellin – Chair, Department of Accounting (Trinity)
  • Diane Graves – University Librarian and Professor Emerita (Trinity)
  • Paul Myers – Professor, Department of Computer Science (Trinity)
  • William E. Kurtin – Professor Emeritus, Chemistry (Trinity)
  • Sarah K. Pinnock – Religion Department, Professor (Trinity)
  • Diane Persellin – Music, Professor (Trinity)
  • Fred Loxsom – Professor Emeritus, Physics and Environmental Studies (Trinity)
  • Sussan Siavoshi – Professor of Political Science (Trinity)
  • David H. Hough – Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy (Trinity)
  • Nina Ekstein – Professor of French (Trinity)
  • Katsuo Nishikawa – Director, Center for International Engagement (Trinity)
  • Douglas Brackenridge – Professor Emeritus, Department of Religion (Trinity)
  • Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz – Professor of Spanish (Trinity)
  • Victoria Aarons – Professor of Jewish Studies (Trinity)
  • Paula Hertel, Professor – Department of Psychology  (Trinity)
  • William O. Walker, Jr. – Professor Emeritus of Religion (Trinity)
  • Orinn Shindell – Physics and Astronomy, Assistant Professor (Trinity)
  • Lawrence Kimmel – Professor of Philosophy (Trinity)
  • Kathryn O’Rourke – Art and Art History Dept., Associate Professor of Art History (Trinity)
  • Michele Johnson – Associate Professor of Biology (Trinity)
  • Paul E. Golliher – Health Care Administration, Professor Emeritus (Trinity)
  • Beatrice L. Caraway – Head of Special Collections and Archives (Trinity)
  • Tim O’Sullivan – Professor of Classical Studies (Trinity)
  • Dante Suarez – Associate Professor, Finance and Decision Sciences (Trinity)
  • Mackenzie Brown – Professor Emeritus of Religion (Trinity)
  • Willis Salomon – Associate Professor of English (Trinity)
  • Angela Breidenstein – Professor of Education (Trinity)
  • Gerard M. J. Beaudoin – Assistant Professor, Department of Biology (Trinity)
  • John R. Herman – Associate Professor, Department of Political Science (Trinity)
  • Christina Cooley – Assistant Professor, Chemistry (Trinity)
  • Kenneth Hummel – Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics (Trinity)
  • Dania Abreu-Torres – Associate Professor, Spanish. Modern Languages and Literature (TU)
  • Jacob K. Tingle – School of Business, Assistant Professor of the Practice (Trinity)
  • Nanette Le Coat – Associate Professor of French (Trinity)
  • Tahir Naqvi – Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology (Trinity)
  • Nicolle Hirschfeld – Professor of Classical Studies (Trinity)
  • Mary E. Stefl – Professor Emerita – Health Care Administration (Trinity)
  • Curtis Brown – Professor of Philosophy (Trinity)
  • Claire Edwards – Biology, Visiting Assistant Professor (Trinity)
  • Kate Schubert – Sociology/Anthropology Department staff (Trinity)
  • Patrick Keating – Associate Professor of Communications (Trinity)
  • Peter O’Brien – Professor of Political Science (Trinity)
  • David L. Middleton – Professor Emeritus, English (Trinity)
  • Sarah Erickson – Assistant Professor of Communication (Trinity)
  • Michael Hughes – Instruction Librarian & Associate Professor (Trinity)
  • Kimberlyn Montford – Music, Associate Professor (Trinity)
  • Patricia J. Norman – Associate Professor of Education (Trinity)
  • Sarah Kaufman – Sociology/Anthropology, Assistant Professor (Trinity)
  • Carolyn Becker, Professor of Psychology (Trinity)
  • Kurt Knesel – Visiting Assistant Professor, Geosciences (Trinity)
  • Ellen Barnet – Assistant Professor, Science Education (Trinity)
  • Bill Christ – Professor, Department of Communication (Trinity)
  • Patricia Simonite – Professor Emerita, Department of Art & Art History (Trinity)
  • Rocio Delgado – Associate Professor of Education (Trinity)
  • Corinne Pache – Professor of Classical Studies (Trinity)
  • John Francis Burke – Department of Political Science (Trinity)
  • Roberto Prestigiacomo —  Associate Professor, Dept. of Human Communications and Theater (Trinity)
  • Wendy Apfel – Instructional Support Manager, Informational Technology Svcs. (TU)
  • Corina Maeder – Chemistry (Trinity)
  • Benjamin Sosnaud – Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology (Trinity)
  • Raymond Judd – Trinity University Chaplain Emeritus
  • Christina B. Cooley – Assistant Professor, Chemistry (Trinity)
  • Harry Wallace, Associate Professor of Psychology (Trinity)