ST’s Support Statement for Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance

Honorable Mayor, Councilmembers, and City Manager,

Members of Sustainable Tucson are here this evening on the dual occasion of the Council’s first rainwater harvesting ordinance and Sustainable Tucson’s anniversary celebration — beginning our third year of activities in the community.

Sustainable Tucson began in 2006 when people attending evening potlucks and community conversations realized that we needed to respond as a community to the coming inter-connected challenges caused by climate change, peaking energy and resources, and financial collapse.

Sustainable Tucson is happy to give full support to the Council’s decision to adopt this watershed legislation. The Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance will start the practice here of using rainwater as a vital resource for our landscapes, gardens, and other needs.

As expertise develops and information about its implementation comes in, we support the expansion of this ordinance over time until we treat each drop of rain in our region with practical, economically-sound applications, including the needs of our local ecosystem. This is an important step you are taking as our elected leaders toward better managing the only truly renewable water resource we have in Tucson.

While we are here today to talk about the importance of rainwater, it now appears that getting our financial systems and economy progressing forward is going to be our main challenge for the foreseeable future.

In all past speculative bubbles and collapses, another sector or industry emerged to drive economic growth forward, eventually followed by another speculative run up. The current housing bubble and collapse replaced the Information Technology/Dot Com collapse in 2000. Now we’re experiencing the subsequent financial free-fall.

So what happens next — after the current housing and financial crises?

The only emerging sector with the potential to drive prosperity in the future appears to be green technology and sustainable practices. Large-scale investment in a renewable energy-based sustainable economy may be the key to averting the three main threats of climate change; energy, food and water shortages; and long-term economic uncertainty and contraction.

Sustainable Tucson continues to support the Mayor’s call to the community to build a sustainable economy as expressed in his 2008 State of the City speech. Sustainable Tucson is committed to supporting the community’s efforts toward sustainability and resiliency by promoting open, inclusive dialogue about the interrelated challenges we face; helping build alliances among diverse groups; and providing useful sources of information via our website, listserv, monthly newsletter, and general meetings.

Sustainable Tucson’s strength is connecting diverse critical issues and promoting in all our work, a greater sense of urgency and the need to face a full range of scenarios, including those that may seem harsh. At the same time, we are reassured by the new range of opportunities that are possible for the community to move forward on.

Come to — and be part of the change.

Thank you for this opportunity to address you.

More information on the ordinance:
Recent Arizona Daily Star article
Council Agenda page (will have agenda and background information by October 9, click on “M&C Regular Agenda”)

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