Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

The February General Meeting of Sustainable Tucson is the second in a series of meetings devoted to our participation in the Imagine Greater Tucson (IGT) planning effort. After reviewing the staging that has been established for the IGT process and the results of the values discussions that were held in January, the meeting will be devoted to a discussion of the need to identify the kinds of indicators that should be used in order to ensure that the resulting plans will improve the sustainability of our region. Presentations on Ecological Footprint Analysis, Sustainable Agriculture, and Water will prepare us for the evaluation of critically important indicators.

Bad News on the GMO Front

The New York Times reported that “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that he would authorize the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa, setting aside a controversial compromise that had generated stiff opposition.” This pending decision has potentially devastating implications for the organic farming effort.

Read the entire article here.

The Year of Living Dangerously

Michael T. Klare offers dire warnings for the year ahead as we see the impact of climate change at a global political level we’ll not soon forget”

“Get ready for a rocky year.  From now on, rising prices, powerful storms, severe droughts and floods, and other unexpected events are likely to play havoc with the fabric of global society, producing chaos and political unrest. Start with a simple fact: the prices of basic food staples are already approaching or exceeding their 2008 peaks, that year when deadly riots erupted in dozens of countries around the world.”

Read the story here.

Our IGT Conversation

On January 10th, as part of our General Meeting, Sustainable Tucson held its own version of the community conversations being held around the city by Imagine Greater Tucson. After completing a paper survey about what we liked and what we wanted to change about the Tucson region, four groups of people discussed their answers to two questions about how we might move forward to plan our future with sustainability in mind. Each group selected their “top three” responses, and we are planning to discuss how to move them forward at our next meetings.

Response to first question

What criteria must be included in planning a sustainable future in the Greater Tucson area?

First Table

Transportation and untransportation-neighborhood networks; focus on urban villages

Reliance on local renewable resources including food and water

Reduced reliance on imported resources

Second Table


Renewable Energy,

Communication and Trust, transparency

Third Table

Long-term water policy

Long-term energy policy

Carbon neutrality

Fourth Table

Compassionate social justice/sustainable government

Healthy ecosystem

Regional sustainability, green local jobs, nature, water and food

Second Question

Considering these criteria, what changes must we begin to make to create a sustainable future for the Greater Tucson Region?

Table One

Change our emphasis from CAP water to TAP water [Tucson Arizona Project water]

Dedicating water to the environment to increase habitat for wildlife

Identify needs to meet the jobs and services needed here in the local market; create a trade mission for local opportunities and employment possibility [and the education necessary to support that].

Table Two

Accountability and transparency in local government

Individual empowerment and increased meaningful citizen participation

Eliminate influence by monied interests

Table Three

Decrease energy use and supply it from renewables

Increase water harvesting and decrease per capita water consumption

Measuring the carbon footprint of everything

Table Four

Communication is key to enforce transparency of governance

Better ways to access and participate in the policy processes

More structured ways to access local government

Use technology to pool and coordinate efforts that get larger groups involved in the policy process

Bring urgency into our conversation through education and excitement

Limit developers’ access to water

Community Conversations with Imagine Greater Tucson

Imagine Greater Tucson (IGT) is a grassroots effort to define a publicly supported vision and clear action plan to shape the region’s future. The collaborative effort will engage people from business, government, neighborhoods, nonprofits, education and others interested in joining the effort through additional Community Conversations.

Check the IGT website regularly for Community Conversations that you can be a part of. Indeed, if there have been no conversations in your neighborhood, you might volunteer to help organize one. The time to participate will soon pass us by; don’t look back and say “I wish I had….”

Free Crisis Counseling Offered

OptumHealth announced Sunday that a free help line was established for people in Tucson , Ariz. , faced with the emotional consequences of the recent shooting. Staffed by experienced master’s-level behavioral health specialists, the free help line offers assistance to callers seeking help in dealing with stress, anxiety and the grieving process. Callers may also receive referrals to a database of community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

The toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Resources and information are also available via the Internet in English at and in Spanish at

The services are free of charge and are open to anyone. In addition, UnitedHealth care clients are able to have onsite counselors to assist with any type of emotional assistance.

Stop Historic Home Demolition in Residential-Zoned Neighborhoods

Members of our community are urging Tucson’s Mayor and Council to immediately halt all demolitions of historic properties in Jefferson Park and other Residential-zoned neighborhoods and to strengthen and enforce existing SFR (single family residence) regulation. We are sick and tired of our historic properties being destroyed to put up mini-dorms! Visit the website here for more information and the opportunity to take action.


Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 East 1st Street, Tucson, AZ 85716
Facilitated by Nan Carle

Time Banks take many shapes. They can be used in pursuit of such
wide-ranging goals as social justice, healthy lifestyles, and local
sustainability. At the most basic level, Time Banks involve earning Time
Dollars for hours you spend doing something for someone in your
neighborhood. Then you have Time Dollars to spend having someone do
something for you. In this workshop we will explore ways to start
changing our Tucson communities, one hour at a time.

This training is for anyone who wants to be an agent of change! Current
and future Time Bank coordinators, public officials, volunteers,
neighborhood and community organizations, education professionals and
youth workers will all find something of value to bring home.


(to follow up on local time-banking, please see Tucson Time Traders)



2011 Workshops at Bean Tree Farm

Starting January 15th, Bean Tree Farm will have a series of workshops to help you explore native and local foods, herbs and earth crafts. To find out more, visit the website here.

All Sonoran Permaculture Guild classes and workshops can be viewed at: