“Tucson Growth: Decision at the Crossroads – A Special Community Forum”


Tucson Growth: Decision at the Crossraods


Special Forum of Arizona Citizens

Webmaster’s note: this information is from the Communication Institute’s website. This is an open forum. For complete information on their site, please click here.



The Communications Institute will coordinate a forum on the future of growth in the Tucson region of Arizona. The Arizona Daily Star announced the event in an editorial. The purpose of the forum is bring leading national experts on planning, many with extensive expertise in Arizona, to frame the principle issues and objectives that a long term plan for the region must include. The forum is NOT intended to present or develop a specific plan for the region. Local organizations will be invited to participate as will the citizens of the area.

The Presidents of both the University of Arizona and Arizona State University have committed their universities resources and cosponsorship. The Thomas R. Brown Foundations, a partner of The Communications Institute, will be funding the program costs.

One of the principle experts who will address the conference is William Fulton, President of Solimar Research, who has coordinated various research studies on land use in Arizona. Fulton is also as noted author on land use planning, a journalist writing for the Los Angeles Times, and president of California Planning and Development Report.

The Arizona Daily Star published a column by Institute President Jack Cox on growth and the forum. Click here to read the column. Read the November 13, 2007 Arizona Daily Star Editorial.

Watch for details on the March 14, 2008 Growth Forum on the campus of the University of Arizona

For more information go to the Forum website.

An participant list is now being compiled. Click on this link and send us information on you and/or your organization.

This crisis demands a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means

By George Monbiot, The Guardian (U.K.), December 4, 2007

Outdated figures have been hiding the full extent of climate change. But I am still advocating action, and not despair.

When you warn people about the dangers of climate change, they call you a saint. When you explain what needs to be done to stop it, they call you a communist. Let me show you why.

There is now a broad scientific consensus that we need to prevent temperatures from rising by more than 2C above their pre-industrial level. Beyond that point, the Greenland ice sheet could go into irreversible meltdown, some ecosystems collapse, billions suffer from water stress, and droughts start to threaten global food supplies.

The government proposes to cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. This target is based on a report published in 2000. That report was based on an assessment published in 1995, which drew on scientific papers published a few years earlier. The UK’s policy, in other words, is based on papers some 15 years old. Our target, which is one of the toughest on earth, bears no relation to current science.

Over the past fortnight, both Gordon Brown and his adviser, Sir Nicholas Stern, have proposed raising the cut to 80%. Where did this figure come from? The last G8 summit adopted the aim of a global cut of 50% by 2050, which means that 80% would be roughly the UK’s fair share. But the G8’s target isn’t based on current science either.

In the new summary published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you will find a table that links different cuts to likely temperatures. It suggests that to prevent global warming from eventually exceeding 2C, by 2050 the world will need to cut its emissions to roughly 15% of the volume in 2000.

I looked up the global figures for carbon dioxide production in 2000 and divided it by the current population. This gives a baseline figure of 3.58 tonnes of CO2 per person. An 85% cut means that (if the population remains constant) the global output per head should be reduced to 0.537 tonnes by 2050. The UK currently produces 9.6 tonnes per head and the US 23.6 tonnes. Reducing these figures to 0.537 means a 94.4% cut in the UK and a 97.7% cut in the US. But the world population will rise in the same period. If we assume a population of 9 billion, the cuts rise to 95.9% in the UK and 98.3% in the US.

The IPCC figures might also be out of date. In a footnote beneath the table, the panel admits that “emission reductions…might be underestimated due to missing carbon cycle feedbacks”. What this means is that the impact of the biosphere’s response to global warming has not been fully considered. As seawater warms, for example, it releases carbon dioxide. As soil bacteria heat up, they respire more, generating more CO2. As temperatures rise, tropical forests die back, releasing the carbon they contain. These are examples of positive feedbacks. A recent paper (all the references are on my website) estimates that feedbacks account for about 18% of global warming. They are likely to intensify.

A paper in Geophysical Research Letters finds that even with a 90% global cut by 2050, the 2C threshold “is eventually broken”. To stabilise temperatures at 1.5C above the pre-industrial level requires a global cut of 100%. The diplomats who started talks in Bali yesterday should be discussing the complete decarbonisation of the global economy.

It is not impossible. In a previous article I showed how by switching the whole economy over to the use of electricity and by deploying the latest thinking on regional supergrids, grid balancing and energy storage, you could run almost the entire energy system on renewable power. The major exception is flying (don’t expect to see battery-powered jetliners), which suggests that we should be closing rather than opening runways.

This could account for around 90% of the necessary cut. Total decarbonisation demands that we go further. Preventing 2C of warming means stripping carbon dioxide from the air. The necessary technology already exists: the challenge is making it efficient and cheap. Last year Joshuah Stolaroff, who has written a PhD on the subject, sent me some provisional costings, of £256-£458 per tonne of carbon. This makes the capture of CO2 from the air roughly three times as expensive as the British government’s costings for building wind turbines, twice as expensive as nuclear power, slightly cheaper than tidal power and eight times cheaper than rooftop solar panels in the UK. But I suspect his figures are too low, as they suggest this method is cheaper than catching CO2 from purpose-built power stations, which cannot be true.

The Kyoto protocol, whose replacement the Bali meeting will discuss, has failed. Since it was signed, there has been an acceleration in global emissions: the rate of CO2 production exceeds the IPCC’s worst case and is now growing faster than at any time since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It’s not just the Chinese. A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (the US institute’s journal), finds that “no region is decarbonising its energy supply”. Even the age-old trend of declining energy intensity as economies mature has gone into reverse. In the UK there is a stupefying gulf between the government’s climate policy and the facts it is creating on the ground. How will we achieve even a 60% cut if we build new coal plants, new roads and a third runway at Heathrow?

Underlying the immediate problem is a much greater one. In a lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering in May, Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College explained that a growth rate of 3% means economic activity doubles in 23 years. At 10% it takes just seven years. This we knew. But Smith takes it further. With a series of equations he shows that “each successive doubling period consumes as much resource as all the previous doubling periods combined”. In other words, if our economy grows at 3% between now and 2040, we will consume in that period economic resources equivalent to all those we have consumed since humans first stood on two legs. Then, between 2040 and 2063, we must double our total consumption again. Reading that paper I realised for the first time what we are up against.

But I am not advocating despair. We must confront a challenge that is as great and as pressing as the rise of the Axis powers. Had we thrown up our hands then, as many people are tempted to do today, you would be reading this paper in German. Though the war often seemed impossible to win, when the political will was mobilised strange and implausible things began to happen. The US economy was spun round on a dime in 1942 as civilian manufacturing was switched to military production. The state took on greater powers than it had exercised before. Impossible policies suddenly became achievable.

The real issues in Bali are not technical or economic. The crisis we face demands a profound philosophical discussion, a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means. Debating these matters makes us neither saints nor communists; it shows only that we have understood the science. www.monbiot.com

Sustainable Futures Dialogue w/Prescott College President Dan Garvey

Turning Point: The Next Two Generations

Public Lecture and Conversation with Prescott College President

Dr. Daniel Garvey
Sponsored by Sustainable Tucson and Tucson Association of Realtors

7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 9

Tucson Association of Realtors Conference Center
2445 N. Tucson Blvd.

What challenges face the next two generations?

What is the responsibility of those who have come before?

How can the generations work together to create positive change?

According to Dr. Garvey, the survival of the planet as we’ve known it may well depend upon a multi generational movement that places more power and control in the hands of the young. Dr. Garvey presents this thought-provoking argument in the second of the national Imagine: Sustainable Futures Dialogues being presented by Prescott College across the nation. Dr. Garvey’s approach is rooted in the belief common within experiential education that all members of society, from students to public leaders, are resources for social transformation. Dr. Garvey will continue offering the Dialogues in communities across the U.S. over the next year.

After the lecture, Dr. Garvey will open discussion on the opportunities available to citizens and leaders to imagine and create the future they would like to live in, both in our personal lives and for the public good, and creatively brainstorm how best to support younger generations.

ST Economy Affinity Group Meeting

The Economy Affinity Group is planning to meet Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 1 PM at Ike’s on
Speedway. This
coffee shop is on the South side of the Street between Country Club and Dodge.

This is our first meeting so if you have ideas about the Green Economy it is a
good time to
get them on the table. We know for sure we will be talking about a directory
and other ideas
affecting green businesses. We have a charter to work on re-localization, but
no group
member committed to that at this time, so that may become our second project.

If you have ideas and are not able to attend the meeting, reply to this post, or
sign up for the
affinity group’s Group and post there.

Food System Ethics and Practices Gathering

Brother David Andrews will be facilitating a no-cost, day-long gathering on the ethics and practices of our food system on Saturday, January 19, 2008 from 9 am to 4 pm. People whose day to day work or lives do not specifically focus on food issues but who wish to acquire a substantial understanding of food and food system issues to add to their knowledge of justice issues, will particularly benefit from the gathering. Some issues for consideration include: concentration of the food system, food production effects on the environment, global trade in food, local food system development, farm workers, and food insecurity for local people with low incomes.
Fifteen people will be invited to attend this gathering. If you would like to participate, please email Kitty Ufford-Chase at the Community Food Bank, kitty@communityfoodbank.org by Tues. Jan. 8, 2008, with a brief list of your food issue questions, thoughts, and experiences. For questions or more information, please email Kitty at “kitty*at*communityfoodbank.org” or call her at 622-0525, x251.

“Eating Between the Lines: Where Our Food Comes From and Where It’s Going”

The Community Food Bank Community Food Security Center is sponsoring a dinner and conversation with Brother David Andrews, a 25 year national advocate on food and sustainable farming issues. He is on sabbatical from being executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the strong, 83 year old national voice for Catholics regarding food, farming and rural issues on local, national and international levels. The dinner is called “Eating Between the Lines: Where Our Food Comes From and Where It’s Going,” and will be held Thursday, January 17, 2008 from 6-8:30pm at Trinity Presbyterian Church (400 E. University Blvd). Cost is $6.50 per person (vegetarian option available). For more information, or to make a reservation, please contact Kitty Ufford-Chase at the Community Food Bank: 622-0525, x251 or kitty*at*communityfoodbank.org.

Green Congregation Initiative Informational Meeting

The Sustainable Tucson Green Congregation Initiative (a subgroup of the Faith Affinity Group) is holding an informational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008 from 1:30 – 3 pm at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church (3809 E. 3rd. St.) about its upcoming all-day gathering focusing on environmental auditing for faith congregations to be held on Earth Day, April 22. At the all-day gathering, participating congregational teams will be equipped to facilitate an environmental audit for their congregation’s facility, grounds and institutional practices. Topics to be covered include: energy, water, food, recycling, etc. All are welcome at the Jan. 17 informational meeting, especially those who plan to get their own congregations or denominations involved.

Where to Water

By Katherine Kizilos, published December 5, 2007 by The Age (Australia)
The inventor of permaculture is among those calling for backyard farmers to be freed from water restrictions. Katherine Kizilos reports.

In a drought year, during an era of climate change, what does it mean to be a responsible gardener? Cactuses, paving and a sculpture near the barbecue? Or an old-fashioned vegie patch, fruit trees, herbs and a compost bin in the corner?

Some serious gardeners are now questioning the conventional wisdom that the best way to save water at a time of low rainfall is to put a clamp on the hose. While pushing the use of rainwater tanks and grey water, they also argue that growing fruit and vegetables at home is, in the words of David Holmgren, “the best thing you can be doing” for the environment.

Holmgren, with fellow Australian Bill Mollison, devised permaculture, a design system for sustainable living and land use. He puts his ideas into practice at his property, Melliodora, at Hepburn Springs, where a hectare of land supports fruit and nut trees, vegetables, chooks, geese and two goats. Although grains, some nuts and oil-producing plants are not in the mix, the property allows for a fair degree of self-sufficiency – Holmgren says this is also possible because he eats seasonally and does not rely on the “drip feed from supermarkets”. Water comes from dams and from taps connected to town water. Holmgren says the smallholding uses about one-fifth of the water “used by a market gardener or orchardist”.

According to Holmgren, “if we planted out city farms and urban areas, we could achieve a massive increase in (water) efficiency. No one is talking about this “.

Holmgren also points out that farms tend to be open expanses and need more water than a home garden, which is naturally more sheltered. In addition, “farmers use overhead sprinklers which are inefficient”. And many orchards and market gardens are sited in sunny, warm places like Mildura, where the rainfall is low, but where farmers achieve a market advantage by producing fruit and vegetables slightly ahead of the season in colder, rainier Melbourne.

Holmgren has based his calculations on water use on a 2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics study by Lenzen and Foran. The study estimated “the amount of water needed throughout the whole economy to provide final consumers with $1 worth of various goods and services”. It found that fruit and vegetables required 103 litres per $1; beef products 381 litres and dairy 680 litres.

By contrast, Melliodora uses about 20 litres of water for every $1 of fruit and vegetables produced, while the two goats that provide milk and cheese consumed about two litres per $1 of value, or 1/300th of the amount used by a dairy farm.

According to Lenzen and Foran’s figures, commercially purchased food – not including the food purchased in restaurants – accounts for about 48 per cent of the water consumed by the average Sydney household. While the water that comes out of the tap at home accounts for only 11 per cent of a household’s total water use.

For Holmgren, the data suggests that putting restrictions on watering suburban gardens makes little sense. He knows that water restrictions are necessary but proposes households be given a seasonal allocation of water, with the decision of whether to use this in the spa or on the tomatoes left to them. Under this system the price of water would “skyrocket if you exceed” the allocation.

“There are good public policy reasons that home food production is desirable,” he says. “We need policies that at least don’t impede this, even if they don’t actively support it.”

Holmgren’s ideas have been given a boost by a recent petition to the State Government; hundreds of gardeners have asked for exemptions to the water restrictions to allow them extra water for vegetables and herb plots.

In suburban Coburg, Pam Morgan is conducting an experiment. “I want to explore how much food production I can get on a city block,” she says.

For 22 years, Morgan managed the Collingwood Children’s Farm and has visited Havana to see how the Cubans increased the city’s food production by 10 times in a decade. “Fifty per cent of their food is grown there now.”

By cultivating land in the city, the Cubans were responding to embargoes which slashed the amount of petroleum available to them to transport food; urban farms reduce food miles. Morgan also wants to recycle her household’s biodegradable waste to create compost (commercial farms use petroleum-based chemicals and fertilisers). She also hopes to save water by using grey water and roof water.

Morgan argues that policy makers are approaching the water-shortage problem “from a mechanistic perspective. Minimal water use in the garden and drought-hardy plants. It ignores the issue of carbon recycling or organic waste and also of returning nutrients to the land. We are wasting resources from the city at the moment.”

According to Clive Blazey, the founder of mail-order seed company The Diggers Club, the “average person only needs about 60 square metres of space to be self-sufficient in all the potatoes, all the vegetables and the fruit that you wanted to grow. You wouldn’t have big, massive apple trees or anything. You would have espaliered trees, especially dwarf rootstock varieties that wouldn’t take up much space”. He reckons the garden would need “about 34,000 litres of water”, which could be gathered from the roof, or grey water.

Blazey is concerned that the present system of water restrictions does not make allowances “for people on a low income who want to grow their own food” and who might need help to divert grey water or set up a rainwater tank. And he believes the role of suburban gardens in reducing greenhouse gases is not appreciated.

He is irritated by the prevailing landscape aesthetic which advocates paving gardens and planting cactus “so instead of burying carbon and doing something useful you are stopping any organisms from growing under the paving and you are using plants that have so little biomass they are absolutely useless to you. What you need to be growing in your backyard is a lot of green things. Trees and shrubs and plants and food plants and not paving, concrete and bricks.”

But the water restrictions fall hardest on community gardens, where gardeners do not have the option of using grey water and where tank water, if it exists, may not be sufficient for each plot holder’s use. In addition, the morning watering requirements can be difficult for gardeners who have to travel further than the back veranda to visit their plot (while also being less efficient than watering in the evening).

Ben Neil, chief executive of Cultivating Community, which looks after 21 community gardens – just under 800 individual plots – on Ministry of Housing sites, says that when stage three water restrictions were introduced on January 1, “we lost 20 to 25 per cent of our gardeners. There was this initial feeling of ‘how are we going to cope?’ We lost quite a lot of crops.”

Since then, “some people have been quite ingenious,” he says. “A resident on the 17th floor has a pram and comes down with containers of water from the shower.” Neil is now talking to the State Government about installing more rainwater tanks in community gardens, but he also believes policy makers need to look at food-producing gardens and water restrictions in a different way.

“I believe that if local food and urban agriculture are not part of our future, it will be very, very difficult for us to face the forthcoming environmental challenges,” he says. “We must have people growing food in the city.”

By making life more difficult for gardeners, particularly community gardeners, you are not merely depriving them of a recreational and social opportunity, Neil argues. “If I don’t grow my food next to where I live, I will jump in my car and go to the supermarket and buy something that is refrigerated, wrapped in plastic and that has a massive carbon footprint.

“It’s a no-brainer. If I can’t grow food close to where I live, what am I going to do?”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Editorial Notes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I blogged some of Katherine Kizilos’ earlier work around urban food production over at Eat the Suburbs.

See also this interview with Pamela Morgan on her experiences in Cuba, and articles by David Holmgren on Energy Bulletin.

Article found at :

Original article :

Stay Informed

For the latest news on all sustainability subjects, www.resilience.org, is one of the best sources on the internet. Stay informed with news, analysis, and opinion on energy, climate change, resource depletion, geopolitics, water, food, transportation, economic development, health, community resilience, debt and currency crises, buildings, the environment, and sustainability solutions. Resilience.org is a project of the Post Carbon Institute and serves as the primary North American clearinghouse for sustainability communications.

We are the people we have been waiting for

By Thomas L. Friedman, published December 2, 2007, The New York Times

It was 60 degrees on Thursday in Washington, well above normal, and as I slipped away for some pre-Christmas golf, I found myself thinking about a wickedly funny story that The Onion, the satirical newspaper, ran the other day: “Fall Canceled after 3 Billion Seasons”:

“Fall, the long-running series of shorter days and cooler nights, was canceled earlier this week after nearly 3 billion seasons on Earth, sources reported Tuesday.

“The classic period of the year, which once occupied a coveted slot between summer and winter, will be replaced by new, stifling humidity levels, near-constant sunshine and almost no precipitation for months.

“‘As much as we’d like to see it stay, fall will not be returning for another season,’ National Weather Service president John Hayes announced during a muggy press conference Nov. 6. ‘Fall had a great run, but sadly, times have changed.’ … The cancellation was not without its share of warning signs. In recent years, fall had been reduced from three months to a meager two-week stint, and its scheduled start time had been pushed back later and later each year.”

You should never extrapolate about global warming from your own weather, but it is becoming hard not to – even for professionals. Consider the final report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.), which was just issued and got far too little attention. It concluded that since the I.P.C.C. began its study five years ago, scientists had discovered much stronger climate change trends than previously realized, such as far more extensive melting of Arctic ice, and therefore global efforts to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions have to begin immediately.

“What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future,” said the I.P.C.C. chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.

And sweet-sounding “global warming” doesn’t really capture what’s likely to happen. I prefer the term “global weirding,” coined by Hunter Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, because the rise in average global temperature is going to lead to all sorts of crazy things – from hotter heat spells and droughts in some places, to colder cold spells and more violent storms, more intense flooding, forest fires and species loss in other places.

While the Bush team came into office brain dead on the climate issue and will leave office with a perfect record of having done nothing significant to mitigate climate change, I’m heartened that our country is increasingly alive on this challenge.

First, Google said last week that it was going to invest millions in developing its own energy business. Google described its goal as “RE < C” – renewable energy that is cheaper than coal – adding: “We’re busy assembling our own internal research and development group and hiring a team of engineers … tasked with building one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal.” That could power all of San Francisco.

Its primary focus, said Google.org’s energy expert, Dan Reicher, will be to advance new solar thermal, geothermal and wind solutions “across the valley of death.” That is, so many good ideas work in the lab but never get a chance to scale up because they get swallowed by a lack of financing or difficulties in implementation. Do not underestimate these people.

Last week, I also met with two groups of M.I.T. students who blew me away. One was the M.I.T. Energy Club, which was founded in 2004 by a few grad students discussing energy over beers at a campus bar. Today it has 600-plus members who have put on scores of events focused on building energy expertise among M.I.T. students and faculty, and “fact-based analysis,” including a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Then I got together with three engineering undergrads who helped launch the Vehicle Design Summit – a global, open-source, collaborative effort, managed by M.I.T. students, that has 25 college teams around the world, including in India and China, working together to build a plug-in electric hybrid within three years. Each team contributes a different set of parts or designs. I thought writing for my college newspaper was cool. These kids are building a hyper-efficient car, which, they hope, “will demonstrate a 95 percent reduction in embodied energy, materials and toxicity from cradle to cradle to grave” and provide “200 m.p.g. energy equivalency or better.” The Linux of cars!

They’re not waiting for G.M. Their goal, they explain on their Web site – vds.mit.edu – is “to identify the key characteristics of events like the race to the moon and then transpose this energy, passion, focus and urgency” on catalyzing a global team to build a clean car. I just love their tag line. It’s what gives me hope:

“We are the people we have been waiting for.”

School Garden Helpers Project

Lindianne Sarno, Nicole Christine, and Janet Loeb are forming a project to bring together schools, churches, chefs, farms and local businesses to support the school food/cooking garden movement in this region.  The project solicits the interest of the Sustainable Tucson Education, Faith and Food/Agriculture Affinity Groups.  One model for the project is Alice Waters’  


Picture a conjunction of youthful energy, church congregation wisdom and funding, chef expertise and funding, biology teacher guidance, local farms as source of seeds and advice, and Sustainable Tucson passion!

Interested persons, contact Lindianne at lindianne *at* earthlink.net, or Nicole Christine at wisdomculture *at* theriver.com.