El Paso, Texas, witnessed the first violent outburst of US eco-fascism—and is also a living rebuttal to the hateful ideology
Like other cities in the Southwest, El Paso is deep in a megadrought and experiencing temperatures that are, on average, 0.6°F to 1.2°F warmer than they were a decade ago. Rooftop solar makes a lot of sense for this region, with its 300 days of sun a year. Yet the city lags behind Austin and San Antonio for solar capacity per person. Blaine Simmons has made solar power adoption in his native El Paso his passion: He’s a board member of the local nonprofit Eco El Paso and a vice chair for the City of El Paso’s Regional Renewable Energy Advisory Council. He’s also on Democratic representative Veronica Escobar’s Climate Crisis Advisory Committee and a leading organizer with the El Paso chapter of the Sunrise Movement. At 35 years old, Blaine Simmons is considered “the boomer of the group.”
“We’re the ones that show up, and we annoy Marathon. We annoy city council,” he said with a smirk. One of Sunrise’s biggest goals is to get El Paso voters to approve a climate charter, inspired by the ideas behind the Green New Deal, which would be the first of its kind in Texas. If approved, the charter would help better prepare the city for climate disasters, invest in renewables, and advance climate justice. The group has gathered almost 40,000 signatures to get the amendment on the May 2023 ballot.
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