By Ronald D. Pogue
So much about the quality of our life on Galveston Island depends upon maintaining a harmonious balance with nature. In that special sense, Galveston is a microcosm of the planet. Through production and use of renewable energy and other practices that are good for our environment, we can set an example for the other human inhabitants of this fragile earth. It is inherent in Galveston’s heritage to do things that others find worthy of duplication elsewhere. Many things they said couldn’t be done were first done right here on this small island!
Look at what we already have going for us. Development of the new biodiesel production facility and the potential consumers of that fuel here are positive signs that Galveston welcomes those who are helping to preserve the environment. We are proud to have non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses working to promote awareness and conservation of everything from sea turtles to rainforests, to estuaries, to butterflies, to migratory birds, to historic buildings. Ecotourism is emerging as an attraction for Galveston. The wind farm under development off our coastline in the territorial waters of Texas will provide a tremendous amount of clean energy and generate tens of millions of dollars in annual royalties for our state.
Our mayor and city council are encouraging us to take a closer look at making Galveston a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly city, as well as to be more intentional about recycling. There are simple, positive ways each of us could contribute personally to such an obvious common cause. Hopefully, we can all get behind those initiatives. Many of our religious congregations, scouts, service clubs, businesses, and households are already exercising good stewardship of the environment. Let’s hear more about those efforts and recognize them.
Perhaps T.A.M.G. and U.T.M.B. could even find new ways to creatively and usefully recycle some of our pungent annual seaweed crop. What if seaweed could be an additive to make ethanol a more efficient or less costly fuel? What if it became a cash crop for us?
With a little extra effort, we can set a great example that will inspire visitors to properly dispose of recyclable materials such as aluminum cans, plastic containers, and empty bottles. Maybe they will return to their homes and tell others that spending a little time in Galveston helped them to realize how important it is for us to be good stewards of the environment that sustains our life. My personal awareness of the importance of recycling was influenced years ago when I spent a few days as a tourist in Durango, Colorado where signs proclaimed, "This community recycles."
I write as an Episcopal Priest and resident of Galveston for the past seven years. My faith tradition teaches that in the very beginning our Creator placed the care of creation in the hands of human beings. No other creature bears that privilege or responsibility.
However small or large the plot of ground each of us lives on, we cannot expect any other creature to exercise responsible stewardship for it. It is a privilege and a responsibility to be a contributor to the care of the island, the nation, and the planet we call “home.”
This article was submitted for publication in the Galveston County Daily News on June 7, 2006.
The Reverend Ronald D. Pogue is Rector of Galveston’s Trinity Church.