Sunday, October 11, 2020

Climate Reality Globally and Locally in San Antonio, Planting a "Compassion Tree" as a symbol of commitment

Overlooking the Headwaters of the San Antonio River, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, UIW President Dr. Thomas Evans, and others symbolically planted a "Compassion Tree"  as part o
f the city Compassion movement. See  They united with the global  Climate Reality Day,  October 10, 2020.  See and listen to the local ceremony in a film created by Alejandro DeHoyos. 

See and learn from the Countdown Global Launch, a call to action on climate change and the first-ever free TED conference, Oct. 10. Presented by TED and Future Stewards.  Concerned people from many countries were speaking including Pope Francis.  He has given an urgent invitation to all people to unite in care of creation in the face of climate change. His writing is call "Laudato Si"      

Dr. Thomas Evans and Mayor Ron Nirenberg with their shovels for the planting. 

Dr. Thomas Evans, the president of the University of the Incarnate Word, said: “I would like to thank the City of San Antonio, Mayor Nirenberg, and every organization here today for making this moment possible. At the University of the Incarnate Word, we are guided by a Mission to educate concerned and enlightened citizens within a global community. Here, young people, with boundless potential, discover some of the world’s most pressing needs and how they can contribute to their resolution. Stewardship of the Earth has long been a treasured value at UIW. Catholic Social Teaching tells us that we have a responsibility to love and protect creation. By doing so, we hold sacred that which God has given us and preserve it for future generations. Upholding and serving future generations is at the core of all we do and at the root of who we are.  We at UIW are blessed to work, live and learn closely with other ministries of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. From my office in the Student Engagement Center, I can look out onto the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, the Village at Incarnate Word, the Headwaters, and Brackenridge Villa. Every day, students walk these historic grounds – our Incarnate Word campus – and see the work and effort made by each ministry to live our shared values, to value nature, and today, to plant a compassion tree. What better way to teach sustainability than to model it? I am proud to have shared the stage today with leaders of so many organizations striving to do the same. I always say that though we at the University of the Incarnate Word are many parts, we are One Word. Today, we have shown that while each of us here come from many different organizations with many different goals, we are truly One in our love for our city, our Earth and those who do and will inhabit it. Thank you all for being here with us today. May the planting of this tree at the Headwaters be a symbol of our dedication to the care of creation and our commitment to instilling this value in every student of the University of the Incarnate Word.”  

Ruben Garza, Oscar Guerra, and Pedro Garza, of the UIW Grounds Department, not only do such a fine job taking care of the university trees, flowers, and landscaping on a daily basis, they assisted with this tree in the area of the Headwaters. 

Darshana Gupte, a Climate Reality Leader and a Chairwoman of San Antonio Chapter, said: " The Climate Reality Project was founded by former Vice President Al Gore in 2006. Since then, he has trained over 31,000 Climate leaders in more than 170 countries worldwide. Today is a very special day for us, as it begins, 24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future! A Day of Action! For 24 straight hours, Vice President Gore and his trained Leaders will lead Digital Presentations and Discussions across the planet.  They will explore the historic connection of Climate Change, COVID-19, and Systemic Racism that touch our lives. They will highlight, what we can do, to face these challenges and build the better future together? It is a Massive community event intended to foster an urgency to act and push through actions NOW. With the world asking what comes next, this year, we are partnering with the outstanding team of TED for Countdown- Turning Ideas into Action. Also, this year, Climate Reality Project will Plant a tree, around the globe, on behalf of each attendee of the Presentation at North American Branch-California; Africa Branch-Ghana; Canada Branch- British Columbia; Japan, china and Amazon Rainforest. Forests are not just trees; they provide food, water, livelihoods, and employment opportunities while capturing the Carbon from the air. They are imperative to the global ECO system. Locally, our SA chapter is partnering with Compassionate Tree Project to fulfill our Act of leadership & commitment to making San Antonio Green. So far, my team has already planted 239 trees and we are committed to do more. Finally, what do trees, bees, butterflies, and Climate Reality have in common? Well, they are all Nature’s Essential Workers!! So, in addition to this Ceremonial tree planting today, as climate conscious citizens of the world, let us vow to plant as many trees as possible in our lifetime and encourage our friends and family.  My special thanks to Ann Helmke for arranging such a wonderful event. Our host University of Incarnate word (UIW), President, faculty, ground staff and Sr. Martha her relentless work. Last but not least, Mayor Ron Nirenberg for his support and presence at this special event on October 10, 2020" 

Steve Lucke, a UIW graduate and leader of Gardopia Gardens, Dr. Chris Pierce, UIW Biology faculty, Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, IW Sisters Justice, Peace, Creation Committee, James Riggin, a leader in the UIW Pre-dental Club which will care for the new "Compassion Tree"

Dr. Sally Said, secretary of the board of directors for Headwaters at Incarnate Word  explained that it is a non-profit Earth care ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. "It is responsible for a nature sanctuary of 53 acres adjacent to the UIW campus, including the Blue Hole Spring.  The Blue Hole because of its free-flowing spring, was the site of native encampments beginning twelve thousand years ago, according to archeological evidence, and Native groups continue to visit the spring, which they consider sacred, to this day.  During Spanish colonization from the early 18th century, acequias, stone-lined ditches, carried water from the Blue Hole and San Pedro Springs to the civilian community, the presidio, and the missions. After the Texas War of Secession from Mexico, ownership of the headwaters passed to the City of San Antonio, which sold the springs to city alderman J. R. Sweet.  Sweet sold the springs and adjacent land to George W. Brackenridge in 1869.  After the drilling of artesian wells made spring ownership less critical, Brackenridge sold some 283 acres, his Head of the River Estate, to the Incarnate Word Sisters in 1897. Today the Sisters retain about 155 acres, including the campus of UIW; the retirement community; land surrounding the Sister’s offices, chapel, and Brackenridge Villa; and the Headwaters Sanctuary. On July 22, 2020, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and Headwaters at Incarnate Word signed a conservation easement agreement with Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas.  The easement will preserve in perpetuity a 50-acre natural area encompassing the Headwaters of the San Antonio River and guaranteeing the continued existence of the only nature sanctuary in the urban core of San Antonio.  The tree planted today overlooks the Blue Hole, included in this easement."

Previously at Incarnate Word, the president Dr. Thomas Evans and his family had planted a "compassion tree" as a way of inviting all families and individuals to actively participate in the movement to re-green the earth. 

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