A sustainable Texas is possible, but we have to get to work



by John Hall, HARC

The challenges the nation and our state face are daunting, but there is a path forward that is sustainable, equitable and inspiring.

HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, water and climate issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes.

The changing climate poses direct threats to nearly every corner of Texas: more and stronger hurricanes on the coast, increased drought and heat, drastic flooding in central and east Texas. Subsidence and rising sea level put our coastal communities and economies at risk. And there will be more winter crises for everyone. Texas already leads the country in billion-dollar climate disasters, and that trend is not expected to slow down.

How do we develop solutions for these challenges?

Third, we must look to science and data — and not to politics — for solutions that will make a sustainable Texas achievable. That’s where my organization plans to play a central role. Science has been at the core of HARC since we were founded nearly 40 years ago. We are driven by science, and we follow the science where it takes us. That allows us to sidestep the usual debates that surround so many policy discussions. We follow the data, we show our work and we focus on solutions.

Make no mistake, the challenges the nation and Texas face are complicated, multi-dimensional and daunting. Still, I’m optimistic. You can’t work on environmental issues in Texas this long if you’re not an optimist at heart.