This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Councilwoman Ana Sandoval of San Antonio, Texas:
What is unique about protecting San Antonio’s resources and environment?
Our city is at a critical point in its development. We’re facing new challenges for which we need new solutions. San Antonio is expected to gain more than 1 million new residents in the next 25 years. To accommodate growth on that scale – and to do so with the least possible impact to our environment – we must strive to become an international model of water conservation, and continue to shift to cleaner sources of electricity. Also, building a true mass transit system will help reduce traffic congestion and the air pollution it causes. Another challenge is more extreme weather resulting from climate change, which will increase demands on our water supplies, namely the Edwards Aquifer, and put more pressure on our infrastructure and our air quality management. We must take action now to set up our future generations for success. I am committed to doing everything possible to leave a good legacy.
As a Councilwoman, are you worried about the effects of climate change the children of San Antonio and their future?
My City Council colleagues and I all care deeply about our city and its future. We have the ability, but also the responsibility, to act, to safeguard the welfare of our residents, and that of their children and grandchildren. That means that when we have clear evidence that climate change is having detrimental effects on San Antonio’s health, infrastructure, sustainability, and resilience, we are bound to act as advocates for this generation of San Antonians and all the ones that will come after.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
I have the privilege of serving in a city with nonpartisan municipal elections. Focusing on local issues gives me the opportunity to talk about shared challenges and concerns with all my constituents, regardless of political affiliation. Flooding stemming from the combination of inadequate drainage and increasingly extreme weather impacts our streets and yards equally, regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum. Air pollution harms our community whether it leans Democratic or Republican. We all face these challenges together. When we focus on the challenges facing us locally and look together for the best solutions, we end up with better answers and more connected communities.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
If we want action on climate change to be meaningful, it needs to include real reductions. Also, to be effective, our efforts must be based on the real participation of residents. Building meaningful support for action against climate change begins in the neighborhoods. Organizations such as Moms Clean Air Force are a great way to do that! Please also consider serving your community as an officer in your local neighborhood association, a member of a citizens’ advisory board at your local utility, or on a board or commission that advises your local leaders on environmental issues. Your participation and feedback guides the actions of your local leaders, and we need more local advocates like you serving our cities.
Ana Sandoval is a product of San Antonio’s District 7. After graduating as Valedictorian of Thomas Jefferson High School in 1993, Ms. Sandoval went on to obtain a B.S. from MIT in Chemical Engineering, M.S. at Stanford University in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. As a Fulbright Scholar in 1997-1998, she also obtained a Diplomado in Binational Business from the ITAM in Mexico City. Ms. Sandoval has dedicated her career to public service with over ten years of professional experience working with local governments, including working for VIA Metropolitan Transit in long range planning; the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District in air quality and climate change, environmental justice, and public information and engagement programs; and with both the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Texas School of Public Health-San Antonio on environmental health research projects. One of three daughters, Ms. Sandoval lives next door to her parents, Tomas and Julia, who still live in Ana’s childhood home.