SACIV was glad to welcome seven visitors from seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, and Romania) to San Antonio to participate in an IVLP program about building "Resilient Cities" and increasing urban sustainability. To explore that topic, visitors met with representatives of eight different San Antonio organizations from May 10-16.
Meeting with IDEA Public Schools, international visitors got their hands dirty in helping with the community gardens and urban farms program administered by IDEA Public Schools. These efforts help to provide nutritional foodstuffs for disadvantaged populations in an urban environment. Similarly, the Green Spaces Alliance works to cultivate urban green spaces while protecting natural land and water resources. These efforts help ensure the environmental sustainability and communal health of San Antonio.
After a weekend of fun and engaging cultural activities, our visitors learned more about maintaining the water resources of a big city with the San Antonio Water System and their presentation on encouraging water-friendly practices, managing construction projects, and water management planning. The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance also extolled the importance of maintaining sustainable water systems. The aquifer is the sole source of drinking water for 1.5 million Central Texans and must be nurtured through sustainable water resources management. Likewise, the Paseo del Rio Association made clear how important San Antonio's river and the Riverwalk area are. Maintaining this public space requires assessments of flood management while also ensuring the public can enjoy this treasured landmark.
The Nature Conservancy of San Antonio was able to go into detail about how they engage the public to defend their local environment. Through the work of both citizens and ecologists, the Nature Conservancy works to ensure these urban environments can minimize any harmful impact and remain viable for years to come.
To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and grow San Antonio responsibly, Imagine Homes and Build San Antonio Green take charge on low-impact building. Bronson Ketchum at Imagine Homes described the many ways homebuilders are innovating to reduce energy use, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and solid waste generation. Build San Antonio Green approached the issue from the perspective of a non-profit and explained how they not only educate builders and home owners on environmentally-sound practices but how they also work to make necessary green technologies more affordable.
Meetings with Imagine Homes and Build San Antonio Green let the visitors know what our community was doing to lower emissions and pollution while also fostering a growing urban area. SAWS, the Edward Aquifer Alliance, and the Paseo del Rio Association gave a complete picture of everything being done to increase the adaptive capacity of urban populations and create sustainable water resources. Through all of these appointments, our guests were able to meet their State Department goals and experience so many of the valuable resources San Antonio has to contribute.