HARLINGEN — Bicyclists used pedal power for a renewable energy tour of Texas State Technical College on Saturday as part of Moving Planet, an environmental education event.
“I came to help raise awareness globally,” Joyce Hamilton of Harlingen said. She is a member of the local and national Sierra Clubs. “The environment is increasingly imperiled, so we must try to do a better job of shepherding, and it is fun to ride.”
About 50 volunteers either rode, distributed information or supported bicyclists with water and fruit. The riders met in the parking lot of the college’s Service Support Center at the intersection of Loop 499 and Rio Hondo Road. It is located next to seven wind energy turbines.
The route passed the University Center, which has solar panels on the roof, the solar energy panels next to the Auto Collision Technology Building at the corner of Loop 499 and Raintree Street, and a native species plant garden.
“The Sierra Club partnered with groups worldwide for this event. We hope it causes the public to focus on climate change and encourages officials to move away from fossil fuels,” said Mark Peña of Edinburg, Sustainability Committee chairman for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter-Sierra Club.
“We encourage the development of more bicycle paths and bicycle lanes as alternate transportation.”
Other energy-saving travel modes cities could expand or promote include sidewalks for pedestrians, public transit and car pools, he said. Emissions from cars in the United States represent about 33 percent of all greenhouse gases that pollute the atmosphere. But more efficient transportation can lead to a cleaner, better quality of life in cities, he said.
Club Vice President Jessica Rucker and Secretary Kasie Robles, both of Brownsville, presented a summary to bicyclists about more than 40 native plant species at the garden.
“Our club has been coming to the garden a lot for watering, mulching and composting to get ready for today,” Rucker said. “We welcome more plant donations to improve the habitat. We’ve got 18 members and we hope our membership grows, because we want to take plenty of volunteers to events like Rio Reforestation next Saturday.”