UA Sustainability Fair & Earth Day Celebration

earth day celebration & sustainability fair

April 16, UofA mall, 10am-2pm

We are all looking for more ways to be environmentally


Come to the Earth Day Celebration and Sustainability Fair

to shop local vendors, participate in interactive exhibits, and

learn how you can promote sustainable living practices.


10am-2pm Vendor fair and Farmer’s Market

12pm-1pm music on the stage 

1pm-2pm sustainability presentations 

For more information please contact Liz Zavodsky at 626.9179

Green Commute Fair

Dear Pima County Commuter:

Are gas prices getting you down? Are you concerned about our air quality? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you should attend Pima Association of Government’s Green Commute Fair on Thursday, April 3, one of the many events during Clean Air Days and BikeFest.

The Green Commute Fair is a new event and will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Jacome Plaza next to the Main Library downtown near Stone and Alameda.  Learn more about carpooling, vanpooling, clean fuel vehicles, environmental quality, and other transportation alternatives. The fair is sponsored by PAG, VPSI, Canyon Ranch, Fry’s and Albertson’s.

The Clean Air Days and Bike Fest events kick off with a Bike Movie Fest at the Fox Theatre on March 30 and continue through the end of April with the Tucson Earth Day Festival and Parade on April 19 at Reid Park.  Additional events are scheduled in between including a brown bag lunch series on “Bringing Earth Day Home” at the downtown library.

Additional details about Green Commute Day, Clean Air Days and Bike Fest can be found at You can also sign up for the Clean Air Contest at

Call 884-RIDE if you have any questions.

PAG RideShare

Green Living Conference (Phoenix)

YourGuideToGreen — presents…

The 2008 AZ Green Living Conference
Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 – 9am to 5pm

Phoenix Zoo ~ Stonehouse Pavilion

Enjoy a day of powerful presentations designed to educate and promote
green living practices and environmental insights for the way we work,
play and live. Top experts in various dimensions of “Green Living”
headline this unique conference.

• 6 Extraordinary Speakes
• Book Signings with Authors
• Delicious Lunch Included
• Raffle for Great Green Prizes
• Eco-Friendly Vendors
• Green Living Resources

The conference will feature dynamic presentations from renowned speakers:
Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden (over 35,000 copies sold), Brad
Lancaster, author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (and will have his
newly released Volume 2 available), Greg Peterson from Your Guide to Green
and the Urban Farm, as well as many more top-level experts within the
fields of GREEN Living!

Join us for this incredible opportunity to come together and learn,
connect, network, support local green businesses, share knowledge, and to
be inspired to co-create a more sustainable environment for our future.

You must pre-register. Cost is $44 per person (before April 1st) $55 after
that, which includes all conference sessions, and a fabulous lunch!

Visit to register and for more
Christy Grace, Event Coordinator
Mobile: 602-509-3356 or email: Christy*at*
Your Guide To Green Team
Greg Peterson, Amy Godfrey, Maura Yates, Jason Bavington, Kristin Atwell
5555 N 7th Street, Suites 134-144
Phoenix, AZ 85014

How Churches can “Go Green” – being good stewards to creation

The Arizona Ecumenical Council is compiling a list of churches who have “Gone Green” through various programs, hiking, camping and gardening clubs and more. One church we know of is Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren in Scottsdale who have even dedicated a special website for these issues. Check it out at

Send a reply email to let us know what your church, neighborhood or organization is doing. Make sure to send along website links, too!

Encourage Your Parish to be Good Stewards

As evidence of global warming has mounted, congregations across the US are examining their habits and asking what their faith demands of them in
response.  Here are a few ideas from parishes to help your parish be a good steward.

  • Include an "Eco-Tip of the Week" section in your bulletin. Concentrate on a certain topic each month such as water, heating, or travel.
  • Provide additional educational resources on green energy when possible. If your parish has an active website, consider posting the information there to reduce paper.
  • Host a forum on "Environmental Stewardship." This could include planting a tree
    in celebration of Earth, Arbor, or World Environment Day. Or consider showing the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" followed by a question and answer session. Be creative!
  • Coordinate a "Bag It" event after Mass to clean up litter around the parish
    Encourage kids to help coordinate the effort!
  • Provide an opportunity for parishioners to sign up to become active in a legislative advocacy effort specifically related to climate issues.
  • Network with parishes who have been successful in their sustainability efforts.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) where possible; dust all the other lights, and install automatic shut-off switches in rest rooms.
  • Start composting! Add coffee grounds and filters, leaves and grass clippings.
  • Caulk or repair places where outside air leaks into buildings; weather strip all doors.
  • Place trash and recycling receptacles outside the school/parish/gymnasium doors to reduce litter.
  • Generously add or increase building insulation, especially in the roof.
  • Cover stained-glass windows with UV-filtering storm windows for insulation and damage-protection, and to protect the lead from being destroyed by ultra-violet sunlight rays.
  • Tune-up and service all heating and cooling units for optimal efficiency.
  • Convert all thermostats to time-controlled setback units to reduce heating and cooling expenses.
  • Plant trees for natural shade and to improve air quality. Use captured rain water for outdoor gardens and cemeteries.
  • Is your parish or school renovating old or building new facilities? Consider sustainable energy sources.  Look into rebate programs to save money and reduce use of therms and energy.

This article appeared in the March 2008 issue of "Love Thy Neighbor" by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Hunger Walk (for food security) 3/29 – Register by 3/21.

Join the first annual Hunger Walk to benefit the Community Food Bank’s Food Security Center programs

Sat. March 29, 8am, Reid Park, Ramada 5

at by Fri March 21st.
$20 for Adults, $10 for children.

Walkers can walk any portion of the track that circles Reid Park at their own pace, no need for sponsorts. You may also register but not walk, and still receive an event T-shirt.

Bring the family for a stroll, and support programs working to bring long-term solutions to hunger and food security issues in our community. Programs such as:
Home Gardening
The Marana Learning Farm
Family Advocacy
Farmers’ Markets
Nuestra Tierra Demonstration Garden

Have excess fruit or vegetables on your property?

Either donate your excess grown produce OR simply have your resource added to the database.

Iskash*taa is an inter-generational group of refugees from Africa and Tucsonan volunteers harvesting approximately 20,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetables each year from backyards and local farms and redistributing to refugee families from many countries and other Tucson organizations that assist families in need.

Volunteers invite the community to donate excess fruit. help spread the word.

Public Forum: Tackling the Toxic Table: Foraging for healthy food

Public Forum:
Tackling the Toxic Table:
Foraging for healthy food in a global economy

Sunday April 13th 2-4pm
Arizona Grand Resort (formerly the Pointe South Mountain Resort)

Join nitrition and health experts for discussion, presentations, Q&A.

Andrew Weil, MD, “The Optimum Diet”

David Wallinga, MD, “Healthy Food in Healthcare: making change happen”

To register and find out more, visit

Tucson Electric Vehicle Assoc. Meeting

Tucson Electric Vehicle Association
meets the 3rd Sat of each month
Visit our website to confirm details:
generally 9am-noon
at UMC Hospital
(on Campbell Ave., just north of Speedway)
Meeting Room E
(directions: go in the main entrance, past the waiting room, past the reception, past the elevators, to the cafeteria; go to meeting room E on the south side; the first meeting room is F we are in E)

Visit our website to confirm details:

Farmers Markets in the Tucson Area


Farmers Markets
(in the Tucson Area)

Civano Artisans and Farmers Market – Civano Nursery, 5301 S. Houghton Road. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. 248-9218.

St. Philip’s Plaza Farmers Market – 4280 N. Campbell Ave. 8 a.m.-noon Sundays. 918-9811.

Community Food Bank Farmers Market, 3003 S. Country Club Road. 8 a.m.-noon Tuesdays. 622-0525.

Downtown Farmers Market and Arts and Crafts Mercado – Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays. 326-7810.

Santa Cruz River Farmers Market – Santa Cruz River Park, on the west bank of the river between West Speedway and West St. Mary’s Road.
March-April, & Nov.: Thursdays, 3-6pm
May-Oct: Thursdays, 4-7 p.m.
Call the Community Foodbank for info: 622-0525.

Tubac Farmers Market – Plaza de Anza, adjacent to the village of Tubac. From Tucson, take Interstate 19 south to Exit 34 and go east to the frontage road. 5-8 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. 398-2506.

El Presidio Mercado – El Presidio Park, West Alameda Street near North Church Avenue, Downtown. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays. 326-7810.

Oro Valley Farmers Market – Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 918-9811.

Plaza Palomino Saturday Market – 2970 N. Swan Road. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. 320-6344.
Rincon Valley Farmers Market – 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail, four miles east of Saguaro National Park. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. 591-2276.

Bisbee Farmers Market – Vista Park in the Warren District. From Tucson, take Interstate 10 east, then take Arizona 80 southeast on Arizona 80. 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 1-520-227-5060.
San Manuel Farmers Market – In front of the Community Presbyterian Church, 801 McNab Parkway, San Manuel. 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 1-520-385-4463.

14th Annual Tucson Earth Day Festival and Parade

14th Annual Tucson Earth Day Festival & Parade
Saturday, April 19, 2008

TUCSON, Arizona -The 14th Annual Tucson Day Festival is scheduled for
Saturday, April 19, 2008 at a new location in Reid Park off of Country
Club Road. The Festival begins at 9:00 a.m. and the Parade starts at
10:00 a.m. This year we are merging the Earth Day Festival and the Clean
Air Fair into one great Earth Day event! Celebrating this merger, the
theme this year is “All Species Need Clean Air!”

The event features environmentally themed exhibits, music,
performances, and food vendors. There will also be art contests and
recycling collections. Admission is free, and all exhibits include
hands-on environmental activities for children. Exhibitors with
environmental information on a variety of topics and programs provide
education and demonstrations for adults as well.

The Tucson Earth Day Festival has added many new and exciting
activities including:

● Clean Air Auto Show check out vehicles that run on alternative
fuels such as biodiesel, compressed natural gas, electric, ethanol,
propane and waste vegetable oil. Ask the experts how you can start using
a cleaner fuel in your vehicle to keep the air clean for all species.

● The Solar Car Competition features model solar electric cars and
houses designed and constructed by middle school students.

● As part of the Clean Air festivities, you can Bike to The Zoo
and get FREE admission to the Reid Park Zoo by wearing your safety
helmet. Free bike valet parking is also available for those who bike to
the Earth Day Festival.

New this year is an All Species Procession as part of the always
exciting Earth Day Parade. Dress up as your favorite plant, animal, bird
or insect. Or decorate your hybrid or biodiesel vehicle and join the
parade- a new category! Businesses, government agencies, youth groups
and families are all invited to join the parade. It’s free and you can
win great prizes.

Come celebrate Earth Day with us on Saturday, April 19th and remember
Earth Day is Everyday! For more information, visit

Contact: Pamela Beilke, Co-Chair
(520) 975-9426

Local First Arizona comes to Tucson – Community Meeting

Old Pueblo merchants emulate Austin, Portland, Boulder “Buy Local” movements

Community Meeting: Friday, March 14 at 3 PM
Hosted by Councilwoman Karin Ulich

Ward III Office, 1510 East Grant Road(TUCSON, Ariz.) – Local First Arizona representatives travel to Tucson on Friday, March 14 to celebrate the grand opening of their new Tucson office. The nonprofit organization, which consists of more than 1,000 Arizona-based, independent businesses, comes to Southern Arizona at the request of merchants who seek to protect and preserve the attributes that make Tucson a unique and compelling place to live.

“This isn’t just another branch location for us: It’s our home,” explained Kimber Lanning, executive director for Local First Arizona. “Here in Arizona, our rich history is struggling under the weight of the massive influx of name-brand stores and homogenized strip malls that are now on nearly every corner. We must not forget that it is the local businesses that play a huge role in any city’s greatness.”

Tucson city councilwoman Karin Ulich had been working with the Phoenix-based nonprofit for the past six months to put together a Southern Arizona presence for the organization, which has members throughout the state. In fact, Tucson-based Bedmart, Arizona’s largest family owned and operated mattress dealer, is a Local First “sustaining member,” having recognized early on the power of promoting in-state ownership and close community ties.

Ulich will be hosting an information session for all interested Tucson businesses at her Ward III office at 3 PM on Friday, March 14. There, Lanning will unveil the new Tucson page on the popular web site, where consumers can search by name, business type or location for locally owned solutions to their needs.

Founded in 2003, Local First is the fastest growing independent business alliance in the United States. With more than 1,300 individual and business members, the nonprofit, grassroots organization is dedicated to building stronger communities throughout Arizona by strengthening the independent businesses that are the backbone of the state economy. Educating consumers about the benefits of shopping locally; working with lawmakers to promote “Arizona business-friendly” policies; and bringing together business-owners and entrepreneurs in mutually beneficial partnerships, Local First embraces the fact that local businesses have a natural interest a community’s long-term well-being.

All locally owned, independent businesses based in Tucson are invited to attend the open meeting on Friday. Lanning and Ulich are available for interview.

Water Resources Research Center Seminar: Conserve to Enhance, Municipal Water Conservation to Support Environmental Restoration


Conserve to Enhance: Voluntary Municipal Water Conservation to
Support Environmental Restoration

Sharon Megdal, Director, UA Water Resources Research Center
Joanna Bate, Graduate Research Assistant, WRRC

Thursday, April 3, 2008, 12:00 to 1:30 pm

Amidst growing demands for water in almost all water use sectors, innovative strategies are needed to meet water needs of the environment. How can we provide water to the environment? And how can we connect residential water conservation with the motivation to restore and enhance riparian areas?

With funding from the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Water Resources Research Center has explored environmental enhancement efforts in Arizona.   With the assistance of former student Andrew Schwarz and many stakeholders, we have developed the “Conserve to Enhance” mechanism, which is designed to bring the environment to the table as a water customer. The voluntary mechanism connects municipal water conservation to the purchase of water supplies for environmental enhancement projects. Participants that reduce water use can pay for water they did not use, creating a fund to purchase water for environmental purposes  We also propose a simpler program as an alternative.  This stage of the project seeks to pilot the Conserve to Enhance mechanism. Sharon Megdal and research assistant Joanna Bate will share with us some of the background work for Conserve to Enhance and describe the opportunities for the future.

To find out more about the project, read the latest Arizona Water Resource Public Policy column, which can be accessed from

All seminars are held at the Sol Resnick Conference Room, Water Resources Research Center, 350 N. Campbell Ave.

First Annual Hunger Walk

How ‘bout a lovely, springtime Saturday morning stroll in Reid Park to benefit the Food Security Programs of the Community Food Bank? The First Annual Hunger Walk will begin at Ramada 5 (enter from 22nd St. ) on Saturday March 29 at 8am. Participants can walk any portion of the track that circles Reid Park at their own pace and we’ll wrap up by 11:00 am.

Pre-registration is required and can be done through our website: Registration fees are $20 per adult and $10 per child and both fees include a free event T-shirt). Final day to register is Friday, March 21st (so we can order the T-shirts in time). There is no need to get sponsors but participants are encourage to each bring two cans of food with them as the event begins with a food drive.  You may register, but not walk, and still receive an event T-shirt.

This Hunger Walk is to financially support the programs that work on long-term solutions to hunger and food insecurity in our community—programs such as Home Gardening, the Marana Learning Farm, Family Advocacy, Gleaning, Farmers’ Markets, and the Nuestra Tierra Demonstration Garden .

So please, pass this along to others, gather your friends, family, pets, and congregations, and let’s head for the park!

Please call Kitty with any questions at 622-0525, x251

Grant Road Planning

Planning for our own destructionUrban Villages - New Urbanism in an existing cityElements of an Urban Village

Sample Urban Village NetworkUrban Village Network - Climate change Un-Transport plan

Mobility & Urban Villages – The new Face of Tucson

Actions on Transportation

The Grant Road Improvement Plan process is developing a vision and plan for major changes to Grant Road. This project is part of the recently adopted Regional Transportation Authority plan (RTA), funded by a 1/2¢ Sales Tax. Voters have already approved $160 million for the project, so it is likely that something will be done.

The RTA includes a substantial increase in funding for transit, road repair, and support for pedestrians. It also plans to accommodate a doubling in car and truck traffic in the next 22 years that will result from an expected 30% increase in driving per person and a 50% increase in population.

If this increase happens, it will mean that Tucsonans will:

  • Drive the equivalent of two round-trips to Pluto every year by 2030 (up from 7.5 billion miles / one round-trip in 2007),
  • Spend $5.5 Billion per year on driving at 40¢ per mile (up from $3 Billion per year today), and
  • Will produce an extra 39 million tons of CO2 over the next 22 years, because of all that extra driving.
  • Experience “severe congestion” that worsens from 6% of all trips (today) to nearly 30% of all trips by 2030.

It is important that you participate and have your say, since this will affect your life in many ways. And there are some important ways you can participate. These include:

Write Nina Trasoff, Karin Uhlich, and Rodney Glassman, the councilmembers along Grant. Let them know you want a different vision for Grant Road than the “same-old, same-old” that the current plan is developing. You can write each councilmember at the City mailing addressed, PO Box 27210 (85726) Tell them:

  • The final Grant Road plan should reduce car traffic, not increase it by 15,000 cars per day (an increase of roughly 20 million miles per year and 20 million pounds of CO2).
  • The Grant Road plan should specifically state its impacts on Tucson’s efforts to minimize Global Climate Change
  • The “alignment plan” being prepared now should explicitly allow several Urban Village Centers along Grant.
  • The “alignment plan” should be consistent with using the added two lanes of Grant as an alternate-modes corridor, rather than two more lanes of car traffic.
  • The City should increase investment in making our neighborhoods beautiful places to walk and bike.
  • The City should commit to funding better bus service along Grant Rd.

Attend the Grant Road Segment planning meetings from 6-8:30 at the TAR offices, 2445 N Tucson Blvd. They cover different stretches of Grant and are on January 14 (Oracle to 1st Ave), January 16 (1st Ave to Tucson Blvd.) and January 17th (Tucson Blvd. to Swan). Tell your neighbors and the consultants you:

  • Do want more local businesses and less driving, not more traffic and big box stores along Grant.
  • Do want a plan that prepares us for much higher gas prices and doesn’t worsen Global Climate Change.
  • Do want Grant to become the first of a network of Urban Villages throughout Tucson.
  • Do want to be part of a design competition to create an urban village near you.
  • Do want Urban Villages to be added to the options studied by the Grant Road Task Force.
  • Do want to use the extra two lanes to make Grant an alternate modes corridor that accommodates bus rapid transit, bikes, wheelchairs, and pedestrians.

Record your position on Grant Road Vision Statement and Guiding Principals at the Grant Road Improvement Plan website Let them know you:

  • Believe the goals of increasing Grant Road traffic by 15,000 cars per day and improving mobility for thru-traffic conflict with the goals of improving Grant Road for use by local people and businesses.
  • Believe that, as we move half the businesses to widen Grant, we should encourage them to move to places (Urban Village Centers) where they are closest to their customers and where their customers can easily get to them by bus, bike, walking and neighborhood shuttle bus.
  • Believe we should give highest priority to pedestrians and bicyclists who want to cross Grant at an Urban Village Center.
  • Believe widening Grant Road to 6 lanes of car traffic cannot be achieved within the budget, because cost projections do not include reasonable construction inflation.

Sustainable Tucson Supported by a Pulliam Grant in 2008

Sustainable Tucson Supported by a Pulliam Grant in 2008

Sustainable Tucson will benefit from the support of a professional grant writer to bring operational funding to its leadership and affinity groups for providing sustainability education to the public in Tucson and Pima County.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust (NMPCT) in Phoenix awarded $45,000 to the Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) to support Sustainable Tucson’s mission to educate and advocate for sustainability in Tucson and Pima County. Funds to build capacity of Sustainable Tucson and AAEE to achieve sustainability objectives will be sought during 2008 by a team comprised of a grant writer and two project assistants (one from Sustainable Tucson and the other from AAEE).

Another important goal of the project will link sustainability activities in Tucson with those developing in other parts of Arizona to facilitate learning and innovation and thereby advance the combined efforts of many communities and organizations toward sustainability.

In 2005 NMPCT awarded AAEE a grant to convene a state-wide summit of leaders from a diversity of sectors to make recommendations for communities across Arizona to work together to achieve a variety of sustainability goals. The Arizona Crossroads Summit was held at the Heard Museum in 2006.

After the recommendations and report from the Summit were published, AAEE called a meeting in the fall of 2007 in Tucson that was well attended. That meeting grew to a coalition of existing community groups working on sustainability-and hundreds of new citizens-to form Sustainable Tucson.

Based on Sustainable Tucson’s outstanding record of community building and AAEE’s goal to support efforts like it in Arizona, Pulliam Charitable Trust awarded a second grant to AAEE specifically to support the development of Sustainable Tucson and to increase AAEE’s capacity to promote environmental literacy for the long term.

Read the latest activities of the Pulliam initiative as well as access news about groups across Arizona working on sustainability objectives:

For more information about the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust:

Quote of the Month – Feb 2008

February 2008 Quote:

“The longer you postpone the necessary, the more expensive becomes the inevitable.” said Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German head of state, regarding the need for decisive, cooperative actions to stabilize the climate. This quote represents the kind of leadership we need much more of at all levels says SustainableTucson member Bob Cook. “We here in Tucson, like people everywhere, live in an unsustainable city, in an unsustainable country, in an unsustainable world. Without sufficient attention to the priority challenges – that is, the timely sustainability challenges – our problems are certain to multiply.”

A Sustainable City

2008 State of the City Address
Mayor Robert E. Walkup
February 1, 2008

“A Sustainable City”

The state of our city is strong.

We increased our investments in key areas-public safety, transportation, parks and water-after decades of neglect.

We diversified our revenues and cut costs. While Arizona state and city governments face steep deficits this year, Tucson’s deficit is manageable.

We should not raise taxes. Instead, we should cut costs internally to balance our budget and preserve programs and services for our people.

Your City Council has made tough choices in recent years. But they were the right choices. Each has put Tucson’s needs above any political agenda. Tucson is better and stronger because of all of their leadership. I’d like for all of them to stand now and be recognized.


Our vision for Tucson is clear.

Tucson at its best is a desert city that balances the needs of its people and its environment. Our mission is to be a recognized leader in a knowledge-based global economy. And our top goal is the highest quality of life and place for all of our people.

Therefore, our policies must promote economic opportunity for all—for this is the foundation of a high quality of life.

And our policies must promote environmental stewardship of our land, our water and our air—the foundation of a high quality of place.

My honest assessment is that we are doing well. But we can do better. And we must do better.

There is a great focus these days on environmental sustainability. Specific steps to defend open spaces, preserve wildlife habitat, protect our water supply, promote energy-efficient construction and reduce our carbon footprint are all being aggressively pursued by the City, the County, the towns and the Native American Nations.

There is more to be done to protect our environment, of course. It is our duty, as a Boy or Girl Scout might say, to leave Tucson better than we found it.

But we should be proud of how far we have come.

I can tell you that other mayors across America are impressed with what we are doing in Tucson. We are capturing methane at our landfill and converting it to electricity, running a reclaimed water system, powering our buses with natural gas and biodiesel. Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is recognized nationally. And the City Council is now working on additional water and energy conservation measures that will set a national standard.

Tucson is also recognized internationally. I have discussed water-treatment and alternative-energy projects with Israeli government and business leaders. Tucson and Israel have similar water and energy needs.

And I was recently invited to London along with five American mayors whose cities are recognized as environmental leaders. I got a good laugh when they quickly pointed out their rooftop solar panels through a break in the fog. J

Now what about our economy?

Much is being done across Tucson to improve our economy. Thanks to our hard-working people in business and labor (and the work of TREO), we have 57,000 more jobs and average earnings have increased 38% since 1999.

Our Gross Municipal Product, which measures the value of our local economy, is now above $31 billion.

That may sound like a lot. It is actually larger than the entire economies of five American states.

But, in my opinion, it is not big enough. Tucson’s economy is less than half the size of Milwaukee’s, Mike Hein’s hometown ($64 billion), and Austin’s ($66 billion).

A stronger economy is required to bring more opportunities to our working families. A stronger economy will help keep our best-educated children in Tucson. Our quality-of-life and our community’s sustainability are dependent upon it.

We must continue to focus on the areas that add to our economy and increase our quality-of-life. Retaining, expanding and starting new Tucson businesses is a vital community objective. Training our people for the jobs of the 21st century is essential. Improving our education and health care systems is critical. Supporting the arts and sciences to feed our minds and our souls is vital.

Many believe that economic and environmental initiatives are always in conflict. I strongly disagree.

Too many choose sides and divide the community. We must bridge the divide.

The truth is that economic sustainability and environmental sustainability are equally important. Both are required to achieve a sustainable Tucson.

We must pursue policies that improve our economy and serve our environment at the same time. And we must do so regionally, strategically and comprehensively.

Given our limited resources, I strongly encourage our City Council and our region to pursue the following five policy areas that serve both our economy and our environment simultaneously:

Fiscal Sustainability:

Investing in public safety, street repair and our parks and open spaces serves both our economy and our environment.

Better infrastructure and more crime fighting improves neighborhoods, increases property values, lowers insurance rates and protects businesses.

And a stronger central city provides residents an alternative to more urban sprawl.

We are entering year three of our ten-year plan. This year’s investments include:

• 40 more police officers
• 31 more firefighters, paramedics and other fire personnel
• 16 more square miles of neighborhood street repair
• 14,000 more hours of park maintenance and
• 10,000 more hours of parks department programs for seniors and children

I strongly recommend to the City Council to stick to the Fiscal Sustainability Plan as our top priority. It is our job to maintain public safety, good streets and safe parks in this city—no one else’s. And all Tucsonans—not just some Tucsonans—depend upon these investments.

As we now know, the failure to invest leaves payday loan-like debts for future generations.

For example, the failure to maintain a city street regularly at $2 per square yard now costs us $46 per square yard to replace.

The failure to invest properly in our Tucson Water system in the 1970s and 1980s contributed to the CAP debacle of the early 1990s. We saved our predecessors a few dollars a month from regular maintenance costs twenty years ago. But we are now paying hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the problems we inherited.

Water rates should be as low as possible. But we do Tucson no favors by deferring today’s problems, leaving sky-high debts to our children and risking future catastrophes.

Regional Land Use Plan:

I propose that the City, County, towns and Native American Nations all join together to form a consistent, unified land use plan for our entire region.

It would help our economy and our environment at the same time.

The plan would identify where homes and jobs and fire stations and hospitals and roads and parks and water lines should go—and where they shouldn’t.

It would provide certainty to homebuyers and business owners and reduce infrastructure costs. It costs our taxpayers far more to come back and fix the problems caused by unplanned growth than it does to do it right the first time.

And a unified regional land use plan would help our environment as well. Open space reserves and protected washes and trails should be continuous no matter what jurisdiction they happen to be in. Native species and hikers and bikers don’t care about the lines in the sand that serve politicians. They need a regional and comprehensive system.

A unified plan may also help us merge separate planning concepts into a seamless whole.

For example, the City employs Desert Village concepts in planning the southeast side. Desert villages aim to serve many human needs—jobs, parks, hospitals and fire stations—in compact areas.

Both economically and environmentally, it is unwise to approve residential developments where the future residents have to drive seven miles to the nearest supermarket, or ten miles to work, or many miles through traffic to the nearest emergency room.

Pima County’s land uses are guided by the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Concerns for habitat and natural resources help determine the location of future growth. Its goal is to balance economic and environmental concerns.

I propose that we work to put together the best of both ideas.

I believe that there is a way to use the Sonoran Desert Plan to help guide development in the city. I believe that it can evolve to be more relevant to urban development. And I believe that Desert Village principles can assist in the planning of suburban, unincorporated communities.

A unified regional land use plan also presents the opportunity to develop new guidelines for new development. For example, if we are serious about addressing climate change, we should consider requiring that all new development—City, County or town—has reasonable access to transit.

If we are serious about making growth pay its own way, we should consider requiring that growth only occur in areas that offer the highest return on tax revenues, especially state-shared revenues.

Impact fees only address the cost of the original infrastructure. But tax revenues pay for the police, fire, paramedic and street repair services the people will need year after year. We must plan new growth with an eye towards economic and tax-revenue sustainability, too.

Our region has come together to consolidate transportation and economic development efforts. Now a unified land use plan for our entire region is the next big step we must begin this year.


Support for infill is a key strategy to deal with growth and serve both our economy and our environment.

It costs taxpayers less to steer growth where the streets and roads and fire stations already exist. And central city development means less demand for sprawl development and all the environmental issues that come with sprawl.

Almost 33% of the land within the city limits is undeveloped. It ranges from empty lots within neighborhoods to large tracts of State Trust Land.

Also, many Tucson neighborhoods were built without any planning. The houses were not subject to any building codes. Too many of these homes are substandard in quality and energy-inefficient.

I believe that we have an opportunity to transform our central city into a 21st century model for balancing economic vitality, historic preservation and environmental stewardship. But new approaches and attitudes towards infill are required.

The partnership between the City, State Land and Westcor to plan 12,000 acres of state land is a good model for planning undeveloped land. This is an infill area. It is surrounded by existing development: Vail on the east, Corona de Tucson on the south and central Tucson to the north and west.

There are some important environmental assets in this area that must be protected. But fewer than in other areas in our region targeted for development. And development inside Tucson will absorb some demand for thousands of new homes in sprawling Pinal County, Benson or Tubac.

But what about infill in developed areas? I believe that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the City Council and the City of Tucson right now.

Housing stock across the central city is aging and falling into disrepair. Layers of city codes have accumulated over the decades. They have made new development, redevelopment, home additions and even home repair more difficult.

It is frustrating to both neighborhood leaders and infill developers that the only projects that can get through the system are the mini-dorms that each side says they don’t like.

The system is dysfunctional. The cost of lower property values to homeowners, the city and the county, is immense.

The City’s new Neighborhood Preservation Zone program is a great opportunity to address the need for infill. But it must balance preservation of existing neighborhoods with the promotion of density and mixed-use development along major roads. One without the other is incomplete. Neighborhood and development leaders must work with each other and together with the City Council to ensure that the program is a success.

And the City must finally engage in a comprehensive reform of its land use code. We have put this off for far too long. Our code must promote the economic and environmental sustainability we seek. That means more density where appropriate, more “green” water and energy-efficiency requirements and clear design standards to match new, creative designs with existing neighborhood patterns.

We must also continue our current major infill project: Rio Nuevo. Downtown is the heart of the effort to build a larger local economy and an alternative to urban sprawl. It is far, far better to grow up than grow out.

The Council unanimously approved key infrastructure investments and new facilities last year. These include a new $200 million convention center hotel, a $60 million expansion of the convention center, a $130 million UA Science Center and a $130 million new arena. $37 million in infrastructure work is already underway.

Now a unified private sector, the Tucson Downtown Partnership, is at the table. Business leaders from downtown and across the region are now partnering with local government to bring the region’s top talent together for this key project.

Community leaders understand that we all have a stake in a successful downtown revitalization. They understand that transparency and public participation are required when tax dollars are being utilized.

And they know that we are committed to not repeat the mistakes of urban renewal projects decades ago. Downtown redevelopment will be for all of our people, not built on top of our people.

Of course we have a ways to go. But we are making steady progress:

New homes are being constructed right across the freeway and along Congress. Historic downtown theatres have been restored and are open for business. Roads and underpasses are being improved. Water, power and telecommunication lines are being upgraded.

You can see it as you drive home today. Something is happening downtown. And thank you for coming downtown during all the construction. J

Regional Water Planning:

As always, water policy is critical to the success of our economic and environmental objectives. Here, too, a regional approach makes sense.

More cooperation between Tucson Water and Pima County Water Reclamation is the best first step towards maximizing our water resources. Working together, we can lower costs, establish quality standards, improve conservation and coordinate our investments.

However, this is just the beginning of the process. Patience is necessary. And public input is essential.

We must take advantage of the unity that has been achieved through support of the County bonds, the RTA and the opposition of Proposition 200. Any decisions must be made with considerable public input: business, environment, human services and leaders from other jurisdictions. As always, the private and public sectors must work together for any new policies to ultimately succeed.

In my opinion, the goal is simple: safe, appealing, abundant and affordable water. And determining the best way to manage every drop of water throughout the water cycle—from the ground to the tap, down the drain and through the treatment plant and back into the ground—is the way to achieve that goal.

I am repeatedly asked: How will we govern our water in the future? Will there be a regional water authority?

Frankly, these questions are important, but they are premature.

The more basic question is this: how should our water policy meet our goal of the highest quality of life and place for all of our people? Or, in short, what is our water for?

From there the questions become far more complex:

How much water should be allocated towards economic goals, and how much toward environmental goals?

How much to support residential growth and how much to support commercial and industrial growth?

If a new manufacturer needs water, how much water is each new job worth?

Should growth be allowed in areas where water conservation requirements are legally unenforceable?

Once the community answers these and other questions, then we can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and decide whether a new system is warranted.

Green Economic Development & Green-Collar Jobs:

One of the key recommendations of the TREO Economic Blueprint is to focus on the Environmental Technology industry cluster.

A strong community focus on Environmental Technology will directly benefit both our economy and our environment.

According to TREO, worldwide clean-energy markets will quadruple in the next ten years, from $55 billion in revenues to $226 billion. Demand for biofuels, wind power, solar power and fuel cell technologies will increase. Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created.

Tucson has a golden opportunity to become a global center for Environmental Technology. Public-private partnerships on research and development, the manufacture of environmental technologies, solar power generation and the application and utilization of environmental technologies are all necessary.

Other cities are already scrambling to build their own Environmental Technology clusters. Albuquerque, for example, just announced an agreement with a German company to build a $500 million, 1,500 job factory there. The product: solar modules for utility-scale solar installations.

Tucson has greater natural advantages than Albuquerque. But it’s not enough to have a lot of sunlight. Lots of places have a lot of sunlight. And lots of places can announce that they are the “solar-con valley” or the “Saudi Arabia of solar.” People see through gimmicks pretty easily.

Instead, we have to be competitive or we will lose out. We have to move quickly and smartly.

Our community must be united and must demand a comprehensive strategy. Who are our competitor cities? What are they doing? Who are the top environmental companies? What do they need in the short term and the long term? What partnerships are required? What financial and regulatory systems must be in place to assist and protect these companies? Overall, what must we do to make Tucson the best place in the world to start or relocate environmental technology companies?

We look to TREO to answer these questions. But the community, and especially the private sector, must support TREO at a higher level. A greater investment in our economic future is required.

Local government may have other resources that can support this effort. The City of Tucson has approximately 20,000 acres of undeveloped land in Avra Valley that was purchased for water rights decades ago.

The Council has recently discussed a solar-energy pilot project in this area. That is excellent. But we can go farther.

I strongly believe that the City should consider any and all proposals for how to put this land to use for solar and other environmental technology projects—public and private—as long as these projects are consistent with current water system and environmental protection efforts in the area.

The UA could locate solar research and development facilities there. TEP could expand its proposed pilot project and provide enough solar power for our water distribution system. Leading companies can use the land for manufacturing, development and possibly even power generation.

Also, in order to compete we need a trained workforce to support this industry. “Green-collar” jobs–building, assembling, installing, operating, maintaining, transporting and manufacturing green technologies and products.

We must work together to provide the skills and training necessary for these new jobs. Here, too, I welcome our friends in Pima County, job-training organizations, faith-based job trainers such as Jobs-4-Life, construction trade organizations and unions, and all other interested parties to come to the table now. We need their leadership and expertise to transform our economy, help our environment and strengthen our workforce.


These five areas offer significant opportunities for our region to achieve the highest quality-of-life and place for all of our people.

It is an aggressive agenda. But it is achievable.

This community has come together in recent years to accomplish great things. Business groups, environmental organizations, non-profits and even political parties rallied together to support our County bond projects, improve our transportation system and defend our water.

That spirit of unity must expand in order to face new economic and environmental challenges. And we must go further.

We need the business community to engage on environmental issues. Smart business owners are learning more about how climate change is affecting consumer attitudes, methods of production and the bottom line.

And we need the environmental community to engage on economic issues. An environmental agenda that focuses solely on habitat restoration and open space protection is good. But transforming our local economy from one deeply dependent on land development to one focused on high-tech, clean industry is more sustainable.

Our leading public institutions—and especially the City and the County—must continue to work more closely together, too. I am very proud of the progress we have made. President Shelton, Chancellor Flores, fellow Mayors and tribal leaders and Supervisors and Councilmembers—we are all colleagues and friends. Our shared mission is to serve our people and this place as best we can.

For decades, our community was split on transportation issues between roads and transit. Many plans failed because we could not bridge that divide. Finally, community leaders on both sides realized that we had to come together. We needed both roads and transit. The RTA Plan included both, and our voters approved it.

Now we need to bridge other longstanding divides in our community. The business and environmental communities must come together. Neighbors and developers must come together. We must move forward.

I have laid out today the opportunities I see to begin to bend old swords into plowshares and build a better future for all of Tucson. I ask all community leaders with the vision to see past these old divisions to join with me in this great work.

Thank you. God bless all of you, and God bless Tucson.

26th Annual Festival of the Sun Solar Potluck and Exhibition

26th Annual Festival of the Sun Tucson Solar Potluck and Exhibition: The event is April 26th from 10am to 6pm at Catalina State Park. Admission is free (Catalina State Park has waived the enterance fee for Festival goers). There will be Solar Power exhibits and solar cooking demonstrations, live music on the Solar Powered Stage, Childrens Activities, a raffle for solar products, as well as lectures throughout the day at \”The Tea House Of the Rising Sun.\” It\’s all capped off by a potluck dinner with all of our solar chefs at 5pm. Visitors are encouraged to dress apropriately for the weather, bring their sunscreen and water, non-perishable food items to benefit the community food bank. Stay for dinner! bring a dish or some goodies to share along with your own utensils to help make this a waste-free event. For more info contact J. M. Samaniego at 749-3538 or jms *at* solarheatmypool dot com

Mat Bevel: “Ring of Trees” Installation

news from the
Mat Bevel Institute

home of the
Museum of Kinetic Art

This sunday is the day of the “Ring of Trees” installation at the Living Ring Tree Lab
here at the Mat Bevel Institute. As you know, Tucson is the home of ring tree
research and we’re going to show you why.

This Sunday, March 9th, from 11am until 2pm we will be building trees. We are
looking for volunteers and gawkers. This is art in action. If you want to see culture
that is alive, (why do think they call it a culture?) then come on down. The Mat Bevel
Institute’s Museum of Kinetic Art, the School of Intuition, the Galaxy of Fine Art, the
Surrealistic Pop Science Theater, the Bevelvision production studios, and the
General Belief System Technology Project research wing of the new Living Ring
Tree Lab will all be open for your viewing pleasure. Thank god they’re all in one location!
All forty eight staff members will be there to greet you and answer any of your questions.
Thank god they all look like the same person so you won’t get confused.

If you want to show up and be important you might want to pack a screw gun, some
7/16ths wrenches, and a socket set. That would be very sexy. If you had your own
extension chord, you would appear upon the reddened surface like an angel on the
clouds of hope with beams of light jutting upwards from behind you.

As mentioned above, our newest addition to the Mat Bevel Institute, the Galaxy of Fine Art,
will be open sunday for the “Ring of Trees” event. The gallery features artwork by Mat Bevel
and Shana M. Zimmerman.

Security by Red Scorpion.

Please pass this on to anyone interested in kinetic art.
Remember…it’s not just the motion…it’s the movement!

may the flywheel of life be with you,
Mat Bevel

Sustainability Social – Tucson Environmental Education Regional Planning Group

Sustainability Social
(In coordination with the Arizona Association for Environmental Education)

Tuesday, March 11, 4:30 -5:45 pm

La Cocina at Old Town Artisans
Buffet and Beverage
$10 each at the door

Help re-convene the Tucson Environmental Education Regional planning group. We’re dusting it off and dressing it up in GREEN to work together.
Come enjoy great food, good company, and discuss the possibilities.

Please RSVP to Susan Williams by March 8:
400-4117 or susanleewilliams[at@]cox[dot.]net

*NOTE: It’s just a short walk to the Sustainable Tucson General Meeting afterward, 6-8pm.

“Green Building 101: Understanding the Fundamentals and Terminology”

“Green Building 101: Understanding the Fundamentals and Terminology” will be the title of a discussion by Richard J. Michal, an adjunct lecturer at the University of Arizona’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The free lecture will be given at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 1040 N. Olive Drive, near the northeast corner of Speedway Boulevard and Mountain Avenue.

Michal is a principal of Richard J. Michal LLC, Sustainable Design, Engineering, Development and Consulting. Call 621-6751.

This lecture is held in conjunction with the Tucson Lifestyle and Arizona Opera League’s Annual Home Tour whose theme is green design.

A Tradition of Sustainability: Vernacular Buildings of the American Southwest

A Tradition of Sustainability: Vernacular Buildings of the American Southwest

R. Brooks Jeffery, Associate Dean, Coordinator, Preservation Studies, College of  Architecture and
Landscape Architecture, The University of Arizona

An illustrated lecture profiling the characteristics of sustainable building practices as exemplified in the traditional vernacular architecture of the American Southwest as well as their application to contemporary design.  This lecture is held in conjunction with the Tucson Lifestyle and Arizona Opera League’s Annual Home Tour whose theme is green design.

Wednesday, March 5th
Arizona Historical Society Auditorium
949 E. 2nd Street
7 pm
Payable at the door:
$8 – general admission
$6 – AHS members
$5 – students