The Public’s Policy Priorities

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, the general public is not much interested in global warning or the environment. The importance of energy policy has also slipped as a matter of public concern.  This would suggest that policy initiatives that involve using taxes as a strategy to move consumption away from fossil fuels will face an uphill struggle.

In part this report suggests that:

“Dealing with global warming ranks at the bottom of the public’s list of priorities; just 28% consider this a top priority, the lowest measure for any issue tested in the survey. Since 2007, when the item was first included on the priorities list, dealing with global warming has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. Even so, the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38% considered it a top priority. …

Protecting the environment fares somewhat better than dealing with global warming on the public’s list of priorities, though it still falls on the lower half of the list overall.”

You can review the results of this survey here.

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

Joel D Valdez Library (Stone and Alameda)

Lower Level Meeting Room; doors open at 5:30 pm

City/County Water Study – Next Steps?

A landmark, 20-month multi-disciplinary, multi-agency study of Tucson-area water resources was completed just one month ago.  The goal was to develop a common understanding of basic facts and critical factors for planning a sustainable water future.  The Phase I and Phase II reports have now been submitted to the Tucson Mayor and Council and the Pima County Board of Supervisors.  They include 56 recommendations and 19 shared goals for our local governments to endorse and commit resources to attempt to move toward a sustainable water supply in our future.

In one sense we are moving into “uncharted waters”. Challenges of climate change, energy scarcity, population growth, prioritization of water uses and other factors are mixing into a complex societal conundrum.  Join us for another informative and progressive community conversation with the following participants:

Sharon B. Megdal, PhD, is Director of the UA Water Resources Research Center. She also serves as Director of The University of Arizona Water Sustainability Program.

Carl Bauer, PhD, is Associate Director of the Water Resources Research Center and an
Associate Professor in Geography & Regional Development at UA.

Nicole Ewing-Gavin, Assistant to the Tucson City Manager, City Coordinator for the City/County Water & Wastewater Study Committee

Vince Vasquez, Water Resources Coordinator, Diamond Ventures, Inc.

Melaney Seacat, Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, County Coordinator for the City/County Water & Wastewater Study Committee

The public is welcome.
The meeting is free, but donations are suggested at the door.

For further information:   Judith Mattson, 520-395-0663


Upcoming Talk of Interest

Speaker You Need to Hear: Local Economist and Author to talk about Localism and Globalism

Economist and author Michael Shuman will be speaking in Tucson on February 2nd. Shuman is a leader in local economies and brings a new perspective to the relationship between globalization and localization. He is a very entertaining speaker with a lot of national credibility and 2 top-selling books, Going Local and The Small-Mart Revolution.

As you know, local business and what it can do for the community is an incredibly timely topic here in Arizona, where we have a dire need to revitalize our local economy. Shuman will offer valuable insights as well as information to inspire and encourage the local movement right here in Tucson.

This is a free event you want to attend. Tuesday, Feb 2. 6:30 PM, University of Arizona Student Union–Santa Rita Room.

Copies of The Small-Mart Revolution and Going Local will be available for purchase with proceeds going to LFA, thanks to Antigone Books.

Questions? Please contact:
Lisette H. DeMars
Membership Coordinator Tucson
Local First Arizona
(520) 271-2978

The Water Project

Celebrate our most precious and endangered resource -WATER -with the The Water Project: Tucson’s Synergistic Water Festival on March 26-28, 2010. This event combines the energy of Tucson’s sustainability community with the vibrant arts community to provide an opportunity for the public to experience a festive collaboration, learn about water issues and have some fun!

This one of a kind participatory event celebrates, educates and facilitates the creative problem-solving of water issues through a multiplicity of sensory experiences:

• Performance: participant driven dance, theatre, puppetry and more

• Fashion Show: water theme character costumes and entertainment

• Art Happenings: side shows, paintings, sculptures, live music, creative maps and more

• Film Festival: water themed films with discussions

• Vendor & Info Tables: local and regional organizations, artisans and businesses involved in water issues

• Interactive Panel Discussion: informative community participation to creatively address water solutions

• Water Ritual: cross-cultural and interfaith expressions of water

The Water Project is the first annual event commemorating World Water Week in Tucson with a series of events that coincide with the international observance of World Water Day, an initiative founded at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

For more information, contact:

Jodi Netzer, Director/Producer,, 1.267.334.7857
Victoria Falcone-Camey, Event & Sponsorship Coordinator,, 1.520.305.9367

or visit

Update on the Tucson/Pima Water Study

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, the Tucson City Council and Pima County Board of Supervisors met to discuss the final Phase II Report for the City/County Water and Wastewater Study.The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution endorsing the report and directing staff to move forward with the recommendations.The City Council voted to continue the item for 30 days to allow for additional public comment.

The City Council is scheduled to meet again to consider adoption of the report on Wednesday February 17, 2010.Comments about the report can be submitted through the following methods: (Comment Form link)


Mail:P.O. Box 2344, Tucson AZ 85701

The Phase II Report can be reviewed on the study website – – or in printed format at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave.

Comprehensive Quincha Workshop

COMPREHENSIVE QUINCHA WORKSHOP (bamboo, mud and straw {cob})
School of Krofting Educational Series

Date: March 19, 20 and 21 2010
Cost: $180 per person ($50 non-refundable deposit to reserve a space)
Instructor: Kyle Young

School of Krofting
Erda Kroft Farm
Arivaca, Arizona

Online at:

During this 3 day workshop, we will be building a small quincha house. Quincha is an ancient building technique developed by the precursors of the Inca Indians. It involves using bamboo as a framework onto which a cob like mixture of mud and straw is applied. Due to its inherent strength and flexibility, quincha is perhaps the most seismically resistant building system in the world. Much of the bamboo used will be harvested from plants on site with other resources coming from the local landscape or locally made. The workshop includes an introduction to and discussion of Krofting and how quincha ties into these principles. We will also tour the farm’s extensive rain water catchments, crops, solar power systems, and natural buildings.

A straw bale hermitage will be available for two people. A small quincha house will also be available for dormitory style sleeping arrangements for up to 5 people. Free camping on the farm will be available or arrangements can be made with local bed and breakfasts, house stays, or a nearby RV park through

Lunch will be included. Breakfast and dinner options are available on the farm for an extra fee (to be determined). Meal arrangements may also be available through your bed and breakfast or house stay. There is also a reasonably priced restaurant, coffee shop, and mercantile within a short distance.

Rides to and from Tucson can be arranged.

Kyle Young has over 30 years of experience with sustainable living and natural building. His farming philosophy is an expansion of Scottish Crofting traditions—an ancient system that sustainably utilizes intact native ecosystems.

Really Really FREE Market!

A Community Celebration of Sharing, Reusing, and Recycling. Bring something to share: useful items, a vegetarian snack, music or poetry, skills (haircuts, painting, knitting, etc.), or just your smile. Take home what you need or want.

3rd Saturday of every month at Himmel Park. Meet east of the tennis courts at 1st Street and Tucson Blvd.

No money. No barter. No trade. Everything is free. Really.

Share the Wealth. Save the Earth.

City/County Water Report Presentation

The City/County Water and Wastewater Study Phase II Final Report is complete and available on the Study Website The Phase II Report will be presented at the Joint Meeting of the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the City of Tucson Mayor and Council on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. at the Pima County Administration Building, 130 W. Congress, 1st Floor Board of Supervisors Hearing Room.

James Hansen on How to Solve the Climate Problem

Read an excerpt from James Hansen’s new book, Storms of My Grandchildren, about why a program of “fees and dividends” is far superior to “cap and trade” proposals currently being debated. The article in The Nation is available here: .

On the measurement of happiness

This editorial by Nicholas Kristof for the New York Times at first seems to be a plug for living in Costa Rica. In fact, it is filled with numerous links to measures of happiness and well-being, many of which incorporate assessments of sustainability. You can review this article here:

A New Book from Steven McFadden

The Call of the Land

Explores Surging Agrarian Movement

New book is “An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century”

“Food and farms are involved in a blitzkrieg of changes,” writes veteran journalist Steven McFadden in The Call of the Land, published this October by NorLightsPress. The book gives voice to a growing chorus of 21st century agrarians who are demonstrating a new vision for food and agriculture — a chorus that includes not just sustainable farmers and gardeners, but also Slow Food, Real Food, Locavore and food security activists in cities, suburbs, countryside, churches, companies, and campuses in North America.

Picking up where Food Inc., the recent documentary on the industrial food system leaves off, the tightly written, affordably priced primer presents basic theory and then offers readers dozens upon dozens of creative responses to the many challenges confronting our farms and food and to establishing a wide and wholesome culture of land and food security.

Subtitled “An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century,” the sourcebook documents a broad range of positive pathways to food security, economic stability, environmental health, and cultural renewal. To McFadden and others, the call of the land now is an SOS. The surging range of creative, innovative responses — from individuals, communities, cities, churches, colleges, and other institutions — is both practical and inspirational.

The new book features dozens upon dozens of positive pathways that can be emulated by households, neighborhoods, suburbs, cities, churches, schools, colleges and corporations. Because the book is a primer, is an ideal tool for educating both students and the general public about the many related positive possibilities in the realm of economy, environment, work, diet, and community integrity.

More information:

Author’s blog:

To order:

A Most Timely Report

A new report, America on the Move, describes the efforts being made at the state level to carry forward the fight against Global Warming. The report identifies six states that have taken the lead by adopting enforceable caps on global warming pollution. Ten states have created regional cap-and-trade systems for emissions from electric power plants, and dozens of states have adopted clean energy policies designed to reduce global warming pollution. You can download this detailed and encouraging report from the Environment America Research & Policy Center here, or at their website:

Special Showing of Award Winning Film

Pray the Devil Back to Hell will be featured in a free showing at the Loft Theatre, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

The film chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil way and bring peace to their shattered country.

A story of sacrifice, unity and transcendence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and preseverance of the women of Liberia. Inspiring, uplifting, and most of all motivating, it is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations.