Ask for Transportation Alternatives! – ADOT hearing in Tucson – Apr 12

at Pascua Yaqui Justice Center – Albert V Garcia Auditorium, 7777 S Camino Huivism, Building C, Tucson AZ

ADOT hearing in Tucson – Fri, Apr 12th, 9 AM
Ask for Transportation Alternatives!

Come to a public hearing and speak in support of transportation options.

There will be a hearing in Tucson this Friday, April 12th at 9:00 am on ADOT’s 5-year plan. We’re asking ADOT to include transit, passenger rail, biking, and pedestrian projects in their 5-year plan.

Some quick background:

Every spring, ADOT comes out with an updated 5-year construction plan and gets public comment on the plan. The 5-year plan has huge implications for our transportation system because the projects in it are the ones that get funded and built. And as usual, this year the only projects in the plan are highways and airports, which means that there won’t be any rail, transit, pedestrian, or bicycling projects that get funded and built through the 5-year plan.

This is in disconnect with the trend of Arizonans driving less, young people choosing not to drive (which was covered in a great article in the Arizona Republic last year), and as our aging population will need options other than automobiles. It doesn’t make sense to invest Arizona’s scarce transportation dollars in yesterday’s transportation system. ADOT would say that their hands are tied in a lot of ways, so they can’t fund transportation alternatives. That’s true to extent – for example, they can’t use gas tax money to fund transit like other states can – but there is more that they could be doing, such as flexing their federal Surface Transportation Program dollars to fund transit or by making sure that bike paths and sidewalks are included and funded when they build or expand a road.

We’re asking ADOT to do what they can to make sure their 5-year plan reflects that Arizonans want and need more transportation options. To do this, we’ll need to show them that there’s broad support for walking, bicycling, transit, and passenger rail.

This Friday’s hearing (Friday, April 12th; 9:00 am) will be held in the Pascua Yaqui Justice Center in the Albert V. Garcia Auditorium at 7777 S. Camino Huivism, Building C in Tucson.

If you can attend, please contact Serena Unrein of Arizona PIRG – email sunrein(at) or phone 602-252-1184 – and she can provide you with sample talking points and more information.

ST June Meeting – Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community – Part II – June 11

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community
Part II

In March Sustainable Tucson hosted our first “Conversation with our Elected Officials.” One hundred Tucson community members met with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Council Member Regina Romero, and Council Member Steve Kozachik to discuss a wide range of sustainability issues such as water policy, urban form, food security and transportation.

On Monday, June 11, from 6 to 8 pm, Council Member Karin Uhlich, and Leslie Ethan, Director of the City of Tucson Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development, will join us for our second Conversation. A networking session will precede the meeting from 5:30 to 6:00.

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to our public officials and bringing them together with Sustainable Tucson and the wider public in this discussion and process. Our ultimate intent is to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

We invite you to join us in our second conversation with local public officials.

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Overpeck lecture – audio recording online here

An audio recording of Dr. Jonathan Overpeck’s presentation at DuVal Auditorium in Tucson February 13th 2012 is now available here on the Sustainable Tucson website.

To listen or download, please go to the first comment on ST February Meeting – Climate Change in Tucson and the Southwest – Dr Jonathan Overpeck.

ST April Meeting – Can Tucson Feed Itself?

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Can Tucson Feed Itself ?

The short answer is no.
The longer answer will surprise and excite you.
The real answer is – its time to start.

At this Sustainable Tucson meeting, find out:

How food actually gets to your table (Dude – Who brought my lunch?)
How many different Tucson groups are now providing us with fresh, nutritious food
What Tucson would be like if we commit to having a reliable and healthy food supply

Find ways to act for yourself, your family, and Tucson.
Come to the Sustainable Tucson meeting this Monday.

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Prepare for this important topic by viewing videos and seeing reports on the impacts of climate change on global food security at this website.

Sustainable Tucson March Meeting – Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community

In Conversation with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild,
Council Member Regina Romero, and
Council Member Steve Kozachik

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to the City of Tucson Mayor and Council, and bringing together the City of Tucson, Sustainable Tucson, and the wider public in this discussion and process…

In recent meetings we’ve identified the following broad categories for projects and action steps that will assist our community to move toward a sustainable future: Water, Energy, Waste, Land Use, Climate Change, Food, Economy, Social Justice, and Democracy…

This month’s Sustainable Tucson General Meeting will be an opportunity for the Mayor and Council Members to showcase those areas of interest that we share, and talk about their projects – either in progress or in the planning/visioning stage – which fall under the sustainability banner, and with the intent to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

For this meeting, we’ll be using a “Fishbowl” process designed to initiate respectful and informative community dialogues. Too often our public processes end up getting stuck in the win/lose format of debates. The goal of the Fishbowl process is to move beyond rhetoric and get to substance. Instead of winning an argument, issues and evidence are clarified to help everyone gain a deeper understanding.

New perspectives and options that may not have occurred previously can develop, and strident positions tend to soften or break down. Fishbowl dialogs are a wonderful alternative to typical panel presentations that are followed by limited Q&A sessions.

The general outline for the process is to have one more chair than the number of presenters, in a semi-circle at the front of the room, or a circle in the middle of the room with audience members in concentric rings surrounding the Fishbowl. The panelists begin the process by presenting information to the audience – in this case the topic is sustainability.

Following this, members of the audience will be given the opportunity to join in the discussion by sitting in the empty chair. Each “guest” from the audience can take 5 minutes before vacating the chair to allow for another individual to participate.

We invite you to join us in our first Fishbowl conversation with local elected officials.

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

ST February Meeting – Climate Change in Tucson and the Southwest – Dr Jonathan Overpeck

at DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell Avenue

Sustainable Tucson’s February Meeting will be a special public lecture event in collaboration with the Tucson Audubon Society and the Community Water Coalition.

University of Arizona climate scientist Dr. Jonathan Overpeck will speak on Climate Change: What does it mean for Tucson and the Southwest?

drought mapLast year’s increase in carbon emissions to our atmosphere, an estimated extra half-billion tons, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

This trend of ever-rising emissions will make climate change an increasing challenge in coming decades. What are the particular possible outcomes for Tucson and the southwest? Water supply, food security, fire risk, habitability for people and wildlife will all be affected.

Dr. Overpeck is a founding co-director of the Institute of the Environment, as well as a Professor of Geosciences and a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, and an author of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment.

Monday, February 13, 7:00pm
Free and open to the public

DuVal Auditorium
University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Avenue
(NE section of the main University Medical Center building)

Directions: Go in the main entrance of the Medical Center building, which faces east toward Campbell Avenue. Immediately turn right down the hall where you will find the doors to the DuVal Auditorium on your left.

Parking Note: There is parking in the multi-tiered Patient/Visitor parking garage closest to the auditorium; however, a fee is charged. Free parking is available south of Mabel Street, across from the College of Nursing.

See map at

[The audio recording of this lecture is now available here online – go to the first comment below…]

ST January Meeting – Topics and Working Groups for 2012

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

ST December 2011 Meeting

How do we “green” our homes and neighborhoods?
How do we work together and contribute to each other?
How do we prepare for climate change?

Join us on January 9th to learn of some exciting efforts now underway in your home town to prepare for the challenges ahead.  A half-dozen of the most innovative and effective people in Tucson will distill their ideas for a sustainable Tucson into concise presentations to ignite your own ideas and enthusiasm…

» Karin Uhlich (Tucson City Council) – Re-establishing PRO Neighborhoods
» Bob Cook (NEST, Inc) – Green re-development initiative
» Dan Dorsey (Pima Community College) – Co-op Permaculture projects program
» Winona Smith (Tucson Time Traders) – Time Banking and local communities
» Tres English (Empowering Local Communities) – Secure food supply
» Ron Proctor (Sustainable Tucson) – Mobilizing for climate change

… and we’ll have a review of working group topics and project ideas from discussion tables in the ST December meeting, including

Recycling / Waste management
Composting toilets
Water use
Water harvesting
Solar Hot Water / Energy / Gas
Paradigm change
Land use planning (density, etc.)
Climate Change – Reducing greenhouse gases
Defining sustainability & adopting it legally
Food security

(This is not a complete list and can be added to… please use the comment form for this page!)

Sustainable Tucson is committed to engaging our audience in a participatory process. Following the presentations, we will ask everyone to engage in table discussions focusing on what actions we can take to make Tucson a more vibrant and sustainable community. Actions might be in the form of policy development, support of on-going projects, or the initiation of new projects.

The ideas generated will be used to develop topics and working groups for future Sustainable Tucson meetings, where in-depth presentations and audience discussions will continue. The goal is to create projects and initiatives that we believe will build our resilience as a Desert People.

also see recent 2011 Sustainable Tucson meetings,

ST December Meeting – The Politics of Sustainability
ST November Meeting – Food Security
ST October Meeting – Water Priorities
ST September Meeting – Non-GMO Food
ST August Meeting – Natural Building in the Desert
and an index of past ST Monthly / General Meetings

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Dreaming New Mexico – Peter Warshall – TEDxABQ video

Dreaming New Mexico has built a map of pragmatic and visionary solutions to create a more localized and green economy with greater local self-reliance and enhanced prosperity.

Peter Warshall is Co-Director of the Bioneers’ Dreaming New Mexico Project, and a world-renowned water steward, biodiversity and wildlife specialist, research scientist, conservationist, and environmental activist.

from 2011 September TEDx in Albuquerque New Mexico, posted to YouTube Nov 22 by TEDx

ST December Meeting – The Politics of Sustainability

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Activism, Advocacy, and Political Action are ramping up all over the world.  Tucson is no exception, and so Sustainable Tucson begins an exploration into the realm of political expression and action, and how we can use it to promote sustainability and resilience.

The December 12th Sustainable Tucson General Meeting promises to offer provocative ideas from three local experts…

  First, Dave Ewoldt, ecopsychologist and founder of Natural Systems Solutions, will speak on the importance of establishing a legally defensible definition of sustainability.

  Our second speaker is Margaret Wilder, an associate professor in Latin American studies and in the School of Geography and Development, and an associate research professor of environmental policy with the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at The University of Arizona.  Margaret will be speaking on the relationship between sustainability and social equity.

  Finally, Randy Serraglio from the Center for Biological Diversity, will talk about biodiversity and ecological rights.

Following the presentations, the speakers will engage in a lively panel discussion.

Sustainable Tucson is committed to the practice of engaging our audience in a participatory process.  Following the panel discussion we will ask participants to engage in lively table discussions focusing on what actions we can take to make Tucson a more vibrant and sustainable community.  Actions might be in the form of policy development, support of on-going projects, or the initiation of new projects.

The ideas generated will be used to develop the content for our January meeting, where presentations and audience discussions will continue.  The goal is to create a list of activities, projects and initiatives that we believe will build our resilience as a Desert People.

The ultimate goal for this process is to invite our public officials to a future meeting and ask them to share with us those projects/initiatives on our list with which they resonate.  Where can we partner with City or County initiatives that align with our philosophy?  Where can we find common ground, and how can we support each other’s common goals?

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

ST November General Meeting – Food Security

at  Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)


What is it? … Do we have it? … What can we do about it?

Please join us for the next Sustainable Tucson General Meeting, where we will begin to tackle the issue of creating a secure food supply for Tucson.

We have about three days of fresh food in the region.  The average bit of food travels at least 1500 miles to get to our table, and often it comes from around the world.  Is this acceptable, and what can we do about it?

Come and be part of the dialog. Speakers for the evening are:

Jaime de Zubeldia, Community Food Bank & Pima County Food Systems Alliance
Bill McDorman, Native Seeds/SEARCH
Beth Sanders, Pima County Food Systems Alliance

Their presentations will address these key questions:

What IS a secure food supply for our community and our region?
What factors might make us FOOD INSECURE?
What can we do now to achieve Food Security?

Before and after the presentations, there will also be a Resource Center, with tabling and displays from local gardening, farming, and food organizations with expertise to share.  In addition, the presentations will be followed by hands-on activities:  Sprouting: The Art of  Gardening in a Jar, and a local Seed and Plant Exchange.

To participate in the Seed and Plant Exchange, please bring seeds, plant starts, pups, and cuttings of your favorite successful Tucson produce and food plants to share with others.  Also, bring bags, pencils, and envelopes for taking home shared seeds and starts.

Doors – and the Resource Center – open at 5:30 pm – so come early!
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Also see Sustainability Food Sketch Plan and Local Gardening & Farming Resources

Tucson Electric Car Parade

Tucson Prepares for National Plug-In Day on October 16
By Benjamin Nead · October 07, 2011

Bob Oldfather and Nissan LEAF
Bob Oldfather, owner of Bookmans Books and a longtime supporter of electric cars, at a Tucson event for the rollout of the Nissan LEAF.  Tucson’s parade for National Plug In Day will begin at Bookmans’s Campbell and Grant location.

A few weeks ago, Alexandra Paul posted an article on, promoting National Plug In Day on Oct. 16. The event, a cooperative effort involving Plug In America, The Electric Auto Association and The Sierra Club, will feature a series of electric car parades in more than 20 cities across the United States. What a neat idea, I thought. That’s when I innocently responded to the article, to simply ask if anybody in Tucson was working on a local effort for National Plug In Day.

It didn’t take long for an email to show up in my inbox from Paul Scott —a long-time EV advocate and a LEAF salesmen in Santa Monica—introducing me to several local EV people that I had never met. Unfortunately, the people on the list didn’t have the bandwidth to take on the Plug In Day project. So, with a bit of friendly persuasion—mostly coming from Paul—I reluctantly agreed to head up the Tucson effort, soon to be named Tucson Plugs In 2011.

One of the names on the list, Jerry Asher, was destined to become my valued assistant. Jerry, who is already connected to the diverse local population of EV owners, advised me to “put boots on the ground” and get things started. (He’s on the road, so couldn’t join in right away). We accomplished a lot via email before we ever shook hands, however, and when we finally did met in person a week or so later, the Ben & Jerry team—for EVs not ICE cream—got down to business.

I fell back on my skills earned from a broadcasting career and as a former music concert promoter: knowing how to not only structure a public event such as this, but to hype it on a grass roots level and knowing who in the media to contact to get the word out. I’m also an amateur graphic artist and knew that a poster of some sort would eventually become a valuable promotional tool. Actually, I also found it to be great therapy in the early days of this project to work through a poster design on the computer, all while silently ruminating to myself, “How the hell am I going to pull off this parade thing?”


Momentum Builds

Tucson Plug In Poster
My poster for the Tucson Plugs In 2011.

I shouldn’t have worried too much, though. I was soon pleasantly surprised to find that most local people who I talked to shared my enthusiasm for the project and many were even willing to help in some capacity or another. Even though I only had about a month to put it all together, it was going to be easier than I thought.

One key factor in making Tucson Plugs In 2011 more than “just another EV parade” was the happy coincidence that our proposed motorcade route was going to pass in very close proximity to a rather large annual street festival—Tucson Meet Yourself—which takes place on that same weekend. I got in touch with their organizers to see if they could take us under their wing. I’m happy to report that the festival’s director, Mia Hansen, went out of her way to make us feel right at home and helped put me in touch with key City of Tucson Special Events officials, whose cooperation was also critical to the planning stages.

The other major local collaborator that provided support was Bookmans Entertainment Exchange . Bob Oldfather, owner of a regional chain of used book and media retail establishments, has long championed the idea of electric cars and his contact in management, Michelle Armstrong, rolled out the proverbial red carpet for us. Bookmans, in fact, was the first to install EV charging stations in Tucson at two of their stores. So it’s quite fitting that their Campbell & Grant location will be our parade starting point.

Finally, the process of putting this event together locally has allowed me to make several new long distance friends at Plug In America and The Sierra Club. Plug In America’s web site, in fact, is THE key promotional clearinghouse for all cities involved with National Plug In Day. Please take a look at what is being planned for all these locales. If you are lucky enough to live in or near one of these cities, make sure to attend and support the National Plug In Day event on October 16th nearest to you. I’ll let you know how it turned out here in “The Old Pueblo.”

Pass this one along. I think it came out very nicely. :-)

Also . . . I did a phone interview with the Plug In America folks the other night.  Nothing yet on that one, but it should be on their Multimedia/podcast page sometime this weekend.

More later . . .


Water blessing at Tucson Meet Yourself

Water blessing at Tucson Meet Yourself, Sunday Oct 16, 2:00-2:40 pm

We’ll gather to talk about the roots of this ritual in the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, and how we bless / express gratitude for water and all that we are thankful in our lives. Then we’ll move outdoors to scoop up water in a sacred manner, carry it while chanting “My cup flows over / Kosi rivaya,” and then pour out the water upon the altar of the earth. This is a free, family-friendly event for people of all faiths.

At Tucson Meet Yourself
Sunday, Oct. 16
2:00-2:40 pm
Meet in the Main Library conference room
101 N. Stone Ave. 85701

For more information, contact Deborah Mayaan 881-2534 deborah(at)

To see a clip of last year’s version at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, see

Low Power Community FM Radio Workshop

There will be a Low Power FM Radio Workshop on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 in Studio “A” at Access Tucson, 124 E Broadway Blvd. (near 6th Ave), starting at 1:00 pm.

Participants will learn; What IS Low Power FM Radio, some FCC requirements for LPFM, the need for a nonprofit to apply for an LPFM license, how to meet the localism requirement, how to change your bylaws and how to develop an educational mission to satisfy FCC requirements for a non-profit, educational radio license. We will also discuss community radio in general, who are our communities and what the basic financial commitment will be along with strategies for fund raising.

If you’re interested in more community voices on the airwaves here in Tucson, please come and join us.

For more information about LPFM:

Sustainable Tucson – General Meeting – October 2011

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting – at Milagro Cohousing Community

Monday, October 10th, 5:45 – 8:30 pm, and come early at 5:15 pm for a tour

Note: this meeting will be at the Milagro Cohousing Community instead of the library (click here for map). If you can come earlier, there will be a tour of Milagro from 5:15 to 5:45 pm before the meeting starts.  Also, bring a flashlight!

Also, because of VERY LIMITED PARKING at Milagro, we need to CARPOOL from the Safeway parking lot at Grant and Silverbell (park on the north side of the Wells Fargo building).  Try to come 15 minutes early to the Safeway parking lot for carpooling (5:00 pm for the tour, 5:30 pm for the meeting), and no single occupant cars to Milagro, please!


Sustainable Tucson will continue to tackle the central question for a sustainable community – What are our water priorities? Find out where our water really comes from, and what we really use it for (the answers will surprise you!)

Hear from a panel of VERY thoughtful people about what our priorities could/should be, if we really become One Desert Community. Find out things that YOU can do now, to make your own life and neighborhood, to be more efficient in our water use, or to capture or reuse the water we aren’t using.

Gary Nabhan (Institute for the Environment) – Water for relocalization

Kelly LaCroix (Water Resources Research Center) – Where does our water come from now and what do we use if for now?

Dan Dorsey (Sonoran Permaculture Guild) – Water for food and nature

Sandy Elder (Tucson Water) – Sustainable water from the perspective of current policy

Tres English (Empowering Local Communities) – Connecting people, creating community

(and others TBA…)

A Special Sustainable Tucson Book Sale

A Special Sustainable Tucson Book Sale will be held before and after this General Meeting. The Sale will start at 5:15.  Visit this page to browse more than 150 titles. All proceeds to benefit Sustainable Tucson.

Last minute news flash! – There will be a door prize from the books for sale – a book by Gary Nabhan …


Moving Planet – Connect 2 Tucson – A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

Moving Planet – September 24th, 2011: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

JOIN THE RIDE: Connect 2 river paths on 2 wheels!

Celebrate the linkup of the Santa Cruz and Rillito river paths and ride beyond fossil fuels. Meet on the plaza south of Drachman Hall on the UMC Campus (Helen St and Martin Av).

Ride starts at 7:00 a.m.  Roundup and information exchange on the plaza, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Connect 2 Tucson is an all-ages, all-speeds, fun and family-friendly 22-mile loop ride (a shorter alternate route is available) through the UA, West University and Dunbar Spring neighborhoods, and Barrio Anita, then along the newly connected portions of the Pima County Urban Loop and the Mountain Avenue Bikeway.

Our event on Sept 24th is sponsored by, more information is available at

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 520.615.0381.

Patsy Stewart Volunteer