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San Marcos mayor seeks to combat climate change

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Photo by Josh Mends | Staff Photographer

After President Donald Trump split from the Paris Climate Agreement in September, San Marcos has decided to take the environment into its own hands and develop a city wide climate change plan.

Mayor John Thomaides was the 210th mayor to sign on to a nationwide agreement that each city would work to reduce its greenhouse gas emission.

Although, council and staff were given the direction to begin the assessment, Thomaides said there is no concrete timeline for this plan.

The city will begin by using internationally accepted software programs to calculate the total greenhouse gas emission of San Marcos. Utility, equipment, buildings and vehicles are all components the assessment will delve into. This software will be able to provide insight into what the actual population of San Marcos itself is producing.

The policy is still deciding how much emission it will be aiming to achieve. Some cities choose for 0 percent emission, while others aim for varying amounts. After the assessment takes place, San Marcos will be able to pinpoint what percentage of emission would be best for this community.

For at least 12 years, San Marcos administration maintained a strong focus on sustainability. Through this experience, they have learned that efficiency and conservation efforts are not as expensive as they seem.

“(The) interesting thing about efficiency and conservation is that there is quite a bit of payback,” Thomaides said. “Plans can end up paying for themselves through conservation and sustainability.”

San Marcos streetlights have already been on a multiyear replacement phase. Transforming from the old environmentally abusive energy lights to new efficient LED fixtures. Thomaides seemed optimistic that this progression will not come to a halt anytime soon.

“We believe that we can really have a positive impact. A lot of businesses have expressed interest in following our lead,” Thomaides said.

Thomaides notices that “this is no quick fix.” To see significant changes, he estimates that this will turn into a 5-year program. He urges the public to show support toward this new policy by coming to meetings and finding out ways to participate in government.

The Climate Action Plan has San Marcos looking toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

“This plan gives us a legacy to leave for our children,” Thomaides said.

Thomaides first gave the presentation at the City Council meeting on Oct. 3.

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