CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment (CAPE) hosted their first virtual Climate Summit.
There were a wide array of topics that all lead to what contributes to climate change or how climate change is affecting us.
A professor from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi said the coastal bend is already seeing affects of climate change based on the freezing temperatures in February and the frequency of flooding in areas like North Beach and Rockport.
“Can we allow to have further expansion of this zone?" Errol Summerlin said of CAPE. "Our communities must not be handed over to industry not only are we putting ourselves at risk, but we’re putting the world at risk."
When it comes to those affected by climate change, environmental Protection Agency director of the Office of Environmental Justice said minorities are more harshly impacted. This because of the way cities were originally designed, with the placement of pollutants.
“What is happening to the people who actually live in these communities?" Matthew Tejada of the EPA said. "You look at their health, it all tracks. Those decisions have determined how our communities still look and have determined the health of the folks that are still living there. The folks that are still yet to be born in those communities.”
Locally in the coastal bend, its the indigenous people that fele they’ve been wronged as industrialization increased, leading to what they said is a loss of land, water and people.
“When I look at this photo and I see this with the flags here it is a representation of what I see Texas and the United States as being proud of," said Melissa Zamora, co-founder of the Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend, describing a photo of an industrial plant in the Corpus Christi Bay. "When I personally, as an indigenous person do not believe that this is smart growth."
“While the Port’s growth had beneficial economic benefits, decades of acquiescence in this expansion by local leaders had devastating effects on the north and west side neighborhoods of Corpus Christi," said Summerlin.
Speakers said the increased industrialization has contributed to climate change. The question remains, how do we mitigate those affects? Dr. Philippe Tissot of TAMU-CC may have the answer for dealing with the changes we already see.
“We should not build or encourage building in flood zones, the economic incentives are very important there," said Tissot. "If you’re building you want to build as high above water and we should not forget about natural processes about natural spaces our ecosystems, particularly coastal marshes. This is a big concern. And the more we mitigate our emission the easier it's going to be."