Building Resilience by Building Community

How can we build supportive relationships with our neighbors in a world that is fragmented by everything from automobiles to zoning to the internet to globalization? How do we remain secure in a world where we have almost no things stored here (like food) and nearly everything we have is made someplace else in the world and then shipped here, all using fossil fuels?

The March Sustainable Tucson General Meeting is Building Resilience by Building Community. It is the second of our The Opposite of Helpless series. At this Building Resilience program, we will explore many of the ways that Tucsonans are working together to build community and resilience in local food, care for the elderly, education, and climate readiness.

The meeting format is:
* Brief presentations by groups on their current activities and volunteer opportunities
* Panel discussion on how their work can help promote community connections and what Tucson can do to dramatically expand the sort of work they are doing.
* A “Volunteer Fair” so you can find out how to help these organizations, develop a future general meeting program, or develop a Sustainability Agenda for Tucson.

Currently scheduled groups are:
• Food Resilience Project
• Pima Council on Aging’s Neighbors Care Alliance
• Building Resilient Neighborhoods
• Community Food Bank’s Garden program
• Changemaker High School
• Watershed Management Group

Find out how you can get involved, and what we need to do to make Tucson a more Resilient and Sustainable community at the Sustainable Tucson March 14 General Meeting, 6:00 at Ward 6, 3202 E 1st St. (Doors open at 5:30).

Map and directions

Communicating Climate Change

Our January General Meeting focuses on issues of how we communicate on Climate Change. To stimulate our discussion, we will view selections from a lecture titled “Climate Change in the American Mind,” by Anthony Leiserowitz, the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

The program includes a reading by Susan Feathers (one of the founders of Sustainable Tucson), from her newly released novel Threshold, which looks at Tucson and the Southwest in the not-so-distant future under the impacts of climate change.

Please join us to be part of the discussion and explore ways in which we can communicate more effectively on this vital issue.

Note new day of the week and new location for 2017 General Meetings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Ward 6 Office, 3202 E 1st St. (one block south of Speedway, one block east of Country Club)
Doors open 5:30 for networking. Program starts 6 pm.

Further References:

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication:

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu

Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz – full March 2015 lecture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmcJDr3KX8

Key Climate Scientists

Dr. James Hansen, 2016 lecture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42wtAennn8w

Dr. Kevin Anderson 2016 Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck_Ev8oqBh0

COP22: A Multimedia Presentation and Discussion about the UN Climate Talks in Marrakech

Speaker(s):
Remy Franklin, Masters Candidate, School of Geography and Development
Location:
ENR2, Rm S230

School of Geography and Development MA Candidate Remy Franklin tells the story of COP22 from his perspective as an activist and observer with the youth advocacy organization, SustainUS.

Sponsored by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45pm.

Localizing Our Economy

Please join Sustainable Tucson for the November General Meeting, “Localizing Our Economy.” We’re excited to present speakers on two innovative tools for financing local entrepreneurs and stimulating the local economy.

• Jim and Pamela Powers Hannley, from Arizonans for a New Economy, will speak on the benefits and possibility of creating an Arizona State Bank, a system designed to support local needs and local control of financial activity.
• Chris Squires, of Ten 55 Brewing, will speak on crowd-funding, equity investment, and the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, a law that adjusted various securities regulations in order to encourage broader opportunities for funding of small businesses.

Discussion and Q&A will follow the presentation

6pm-8pm (doors open at 5:30)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Geneva Hall
3809 E. 3rd Street (free parking in church lot on 2nd St.)

Religious response to environmental issues

Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 602 N. Wilmot Road, will discuss global climate change and the impact to the environment with five speakers, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. An optional Mass begins at 8:30 a.m.

According to press materials, speakers include:

Katie Hirschboeck, associate professor of climatology for the University of Arizona’s tree-ring lab and a Catholic Climate Ambassador.
Clark Hansen, a regional organizer for Bread for the World.
Marco Liu, director of advocacy and outreach for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Angel Wang from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona’s committee on creation care.
The Rev. John Leech, associate priest of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

To RSVP, email hsieh@dakotacom.net by Tuesday, Oct. 25.

For more information, visit smallangelstucson.org or call 886-7292.

6th Annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival


We’re very excited about this year’s Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, this Sunday, October 16, 11am-4pm, at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave., with an amazing variety of exhibitors and vendors, speakers, food, music, and lots of fun for all. Check out the Festival website for details.

The Festival is taking place close to Tucson’s origins, reminding us of a history reaching back over 4,000 years of continuous agriculture. Talk about sustainable roots! And Mission Gardens will be at the Festival to share some of that history with us. At the same time, we’re at the heart of Tucson’s Emerging 2030 District, looking to create a sustainable future by working with building owners to reduce energy and water use by 50% by the year 2030.

There’ll be plenty of free parking, but if you choose to come (sustainably) by bike, there’ll be a Bike Valet provided by Living Streets Alliance and sponsored by Ajo Bikes.

So join us on Sunday: Learn about recycling granite for your home, recycling for art projects, and recycling for creating new tools and vehicles. Bring your questions about sustainability issues from desert gardening to neighborhood resilience, from solar for the home to solar cooking, from slow food to native fruits, from energy efficiency to electric vehicles. Find out about improving air quality, harvesting our precious rainwater, building green homes, and much, much more.

AND — There’s still opportunity to volunteer and help on the day of the Festival, from set-up in the morning to break-down at the end of the day. Use the Volunteer page on the Festival website if you can help.

Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Candidate Forum

You’re invited to our next Tucson Energy Group (TEG) Talk which will be an Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Candidate Forum on Thur (9/29), 5:00 – 7:00 PM in the meeting room at Ermanos (http://www.ermanosbrew.com/). (Interested people under 21 years old can attend!)

Candidates Attending:
Robert “Bob” Burns (www.BobBurns.gop),
Tom Chabin (www.TomChapin.com),
Boyd Dunn (www.BoydDunn.com),
Bill Mundell (www.BillMundell.org ), &
Not yet confirmed:
Andy Tobin (www.AndyTobin.com).

We all know that this 2016 ACC election is critical to Arizona’s future, so I hope that you can join us and distribute this invitation freely to others who might be interested.

The University of Arizona’s Students for Sustainability will be in attendance to register voters during the forum.

Institute of the Environment – Fall Fest 2016

The Institute of the Environment’s annual Fall Fest is back and better than ever, with a graduate student poster competition, amazing door prizes, good food and drink, and remarks from this year’s featured speaker, Rebecca Tsosie, on “Climate Justice, Indigenous Sustainability, and an Ethic of Place.” Come catch up with colleagues and enjoy the festivities in ENR2, the UA’s newest LEED platinum building!

Location: ENR2, Room S107, 1064 E. Lowell Street

Solidarity Rally – resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline

Join Rising Tide Tucson and others for a Solidarity Rally with the water protectors of Standing Rock resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. We will be gathering on Wednesday September 14th at 4:30 at Bank of America downtown (33 N. Stone, between Congress and Pennington). Bank of America is one of many financial institutions investing in the pipeline. Bring signs showing your solidarity with the indigenous-led resistance and calling out Bank of America for its support of environmental destruction.

Last week, the Red Warrior and Sacred Stone camps issued a call for two weeks of solidarity actions targeting companies responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline from Sept. 3-17. Let’s make a statement that Tucson stands strong in solidarity with this historic movement.

The proposed pipeline will bring oil from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, critically endangering water resources for the tribe and desecrating sacred lands containing burial sites and cultural artifacts. The resistance at Standing Rock has brought over a hundred tribes together in a historic display of strength and unity. Bulldozers have already torn up sacred lands, and the people fighting to protect them have been met with pepper spray and attack dogs. Though the Obama administration issued a statement earlier today halting construction in the area until further review, continual pressure is needed to stop this pipeline from becoming a reality.

INTEGRATING SUSTAINABLE BUILDING AND LIVING WITH NATURE

In the first part of his talk, Dr. Fitch will define sustainable and regenerative building and why the concept is so important to society, natural environments, and the Earth’s Biosphere. He will then outline the steps and technologies of sustainable, regenerative building, using the solar-powered home he built in Redstone Canyon, Colorado, as an example. Lastly, he will discuss the environmental, economic, and societal advantages of this type of building including the spiritual benefits.

Dr. John H. Fitch has a long-term interest and career in ecology, wildlife biology, ecosystems conservation, animal behavior, environmental policy, and sustainability. He has worked on these topics in government, academic, and nonprofit organizations. He received a BA in anthropology and zoology from the University of Kansas and a MS and PhD in ecology and zoology from Michigan State University.

Sponsored by Institute for Noetic Sciences
Join us in exploring human consciousness: The most compelling frontier of our time.

Friday, November 4, 2016 at 6:30 PM
Open to the Public — Admission cost: $5
Unity of Tucson, 3617 N. Camino Blanco
off River between Swan & Craycroft

Tucson Energy Group (TEG) – Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Candidate Forum

You’re invited to our next Tucson Energy Group (TEG) Talk which will be an Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Candidate Forum on Thur (9/29), 5:00 – 7:00 PM in the meeting room at Ermanos (http://www.ermanosbrew.com/).

Three of the five candidates (Tom Chabin, Boyd Dunn & Bill Mundell) have already committed to attend, thanks to Robert Bulechek’s help. I have not heard back yet from the other two candidates (Bob Burns & Andy Tobin), but your involvement might still encourage their participation.

Candidates will provide brief individual presentations (under 5 mins.), followed by their answers to written questions and then a moderated discussion with our well-informed audience of area energy professionals.

We all know that this 2016 ACC election is critical to Arizona’s future, so I hope that you can join us and distribute this invitation freely to others who might be interested.

Please RSVP by 9/22, if possible, so we can accommodate everyone who wants to attend. Doug (520-250-2553)

Speak Up for Solar! With a Change of Date, Change of Location

Join Sustainable Tucson for our monthly August meeting, focusing on rooftop solar and getting the community ready for the upcoming Aug 31 ACC hearing in Tucson on TEP’s rate request. The meeting will start with the movie “Catching the Sun”, followed by current information on TEP’s request, with background on rate requests by other utilities, the expected effect of the rate request — if approved — on all customers and the projected impact on the spread of rooftop solar in the region. Along with what to expect at the ACC hearing, the meeting will include the opportunity for letter-writing, to share our position on the rate request.

NOTE CHANGE of DATE, CHANGE of LOCATION, EARLY START TIME for this meeting!
August 22, 2016 Doors open 5:15 pm, Program starts 5:45 pm (to allow enough time for the movie)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, 3809 E 3rd St, Tucson, AZ (just west of Alvernon)
Free parking in church lots on 3rd St. and 2nd St.

………………………..

Save the Date! September 12
The September Monthly Meeting will again be held at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church.
Presented jointly with Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter:
The ABCs of the ACC: Understanding the Arizona Corporation Commission

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS AND YWCA OFFER FREE WORKSHOPS

Is your organization planning to hold a candidate or issue forum this year? If so, you’ll want to attend the free workshops being offered on Saturday, April 30th.

The morning will be devoted to a presentation on how to plan forums, and the afternoon will be on how to moderate forums, with hands-on practice.

Both will be at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Avenue. The morning workshop begins at 9 AM, and the afternoon one at 12:30. Light refreshments provided; if you’re staying for the full day, bring a bag lunch or purchase food on site. You can register for one or both workshops at the League’s website at www.lwvgt.org or call 520/327-7652.

“Catching the Sun” New Film Screening

You are invited to a screening of the new film “Catching the Sun” on Friday, April 22nd at 7pm at Casa Video Film Bar at 2905 E Speedway Blvd.

Catching The Sun is a feature length documentary that explores the global race to a clean energy future. The event will be done by donation, as Tucson Solar Punk is fronting the cost for distribution rights. Check out the Trailer at catchingthesun.tv.

The film follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry, and sheds light on the path to an economically just and environmentally sustainable future. Set against the struggle to build a ‘green economy’, Catching the Sun will engage new audiences in solutions to climate change and income inequality. Please spread the word to others among your networks.

I hope to see you at the theater!

We Need to Electrify As Much Transportation As We Can – Heinberg

We Need to Electrify As Much Transportation As We Can

by Richard Heinberg

Transcript:

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

Folks are lining up to reserve electric car automaker Tesla’s Model 3. It’s considered to be one of the first electric cars for the mass market at an expected price tag of 35 thousand dollars. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, will be unveiling the vehicle on Thursday evening, so we can’t show you what it will actually look like. But in this segment we wanted to get beyond the consumerism and ask, will this be a game changer for the automobile industry in America and the environment?

Now joining us to help us answer that question is Richard Heinberg. He’s a senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. Thanks so much for joining us, Richard.

RICHARD HEINBERG: It’s a pleasure, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: So, Richard, why has it taken so long for an affordable electric car to sort of come to the market? I’m reminded of the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which really highlights how we essentially went from having electric cars on California roads in the ’90s to then, eventually, shredding and destroying those very same vehicles years later. So my question to you, Richard, is, who killed the electric car?

HEINBERG: Well, the bosses at the Detroit automakers decided back in the 1990s that there wouldn’t be a mass market for the electric car because of the short range of the vehicles. They thought consumers wouldn’t buy a car if it didn’t have a two to three hundred mile range, and the batteries at that time were not capable of delivering that kind of range. So even though they built some prototypes and sent them out to drivers, they never produced a mass market car.

Today, battery technology has improved enough so that it is possible to produce an electric car for the masses with at least a 200-mile range, and that’s what’s anticipated for the Tesla Model 3.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. there are some folks that are saying that this isn’t as big of a game changer as people are making it out to be, because essentially you’re getting power to charge your electric vehicle from fossil fuel sources like coal. Do you agree with that?

HEINBERG: Not entirely. First of all, the energy mix is different in different parts of the country. Some parts of the country, electricity is mostly coming from coal. In other parts of the country the mix is more oriented toward natural gas, hydro and renewables. So, first of all, it depends on where you’re getting your electricity from.

And second, you know, if you look out at the energy transition that we’re just beginning right now, away from fossil fuels toward renewables, it’s clear that one of the main strategies that we’ll have to pursue during this energy transition is electrification. Right now only about 20 percent of the final energy that we use in the United States is in the form of electricity. The rest is in the form of liquid fuels for transportation, energy for high heat industrial processes and so on.

We have to electrify as much of that energy usage as we can, because most of our renewable sources of energy produce electricity. That’s true of solar and wind, geothermal and hydro power. So we need to electrify as much transportation as we can.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. You have some automakers, you know, really touting this as a bright future, that we’re going to see more and more electric cars hit the market. I want to ask you about the role of cheap oil. Do you think that threatens he growth of the electric car industry?

HEINBERG: Well, probably not over the long run. We’re headed toward electric cars one way or the other, I think. However, over the short run it definitely takes some wind out of the sails, because from the consumer’s standpoint the biggest draw for an electric car is that over the lifetime of ownership the operating costs are much lower, so if you have cheap gas that changes that differential a bit, so that there’s not as much of an advantage.

DESVARIEUX: Okay, let’s talk about the future. What would a truly green transportation system look like, and are there some states or countries that are really laying out a road map to get us there?

HEINBERG: Well, a truly green transportation system probably wouldn’t rely on electric cars that much because it wouldn’t be relying on cars that much. Cars are an inherently inefficient mode of transportation. I mean, think about it. Most cars just have a driver and maybe one passenger, and meanwhile you’re dragging around two tons of metal, glass and plastic in order to get those one or two people where they want to go.

Much more efficient modes of transportation are light rail, any kind of public transportation, actually. So what we really need is to build up more rail transport and get people walking and bicycling as much as possible.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Richard Heinberg, thank you so much for joining us.

HEINBERG: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Electric car teaser image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.


Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.

Resilience is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.


Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-04-04/we-need-to-electrify-as-much-transportation-as-we-can

Historic Broadway widening links and articles

“Intro to Broadway Widening Project – Who What, When, Why: Why Are We Spending $74 Million and Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area while Producing No Traffic Improvement?”

Overview and background, an intro for people who are learning about the situation. By Dave Bilgray.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/intro-to-broadway-project-who-what-when-why-why-why/

 

An excellent OpEd by Tucson architect Bob Vint on how Historic Broadway should be designed:
http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/guest/robert-vint-broadway-renovation-plan-needs-a-redo/article_7100d70a-8844-5150-873c-cb6d6d230f98.html

 

“Broadway widening WILL NOT speed cars…or buses…or pedestrians…or even bicycles!”

Details about minimal benefits, and RTA text showing that job doesn’t need to be done. By Les Pierce.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/data-crunched-broadway-widening-will-not-speed-cars-or-buses-or-pedestrians-or-even-bicycles/

 

“City’s April 2016 Plan differs from Previous Recommendations and Adoptions”

Differences between base alignment, as agreed to by Citizen Task Force and Mayor and Council, and specifications produced by City staff and consultants.

By Broadway Coalition

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/?p=8029

 

“Impacts of the Broadway Widening”

Various impacts on neighborhoods and Tucson overall. By Diana Lett.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/10-impacts-of-the-proposed-broadway-widening/

 

“Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?”

Scope of work by consulting firm, as specified by Mayor and Council, and as actually done. By Margot Garcia.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/has-hdr-engineers-done-what-they-were-hired-to-do/

 

“Broadway project draft Design Concept Report”

City document with basic project design

bar graph showing 6-second traffic improvement is on page 5.9, which is page 77 in the pdf.

http://broadwayboulevard.info/pdf/Broadway-DCR-Public-Review-FullDoc-120815.pdf

 

Parsons-Brinckerhoff 1987 “Broadway Corridor Transportation Study”

referenced in Les Pierce’s writeup.

see Table 3, page 10, which is page 16 of pdf, for compared expectations of various roadway configuration options

says that intersections should be 14-16 lanes wide, on page 10, which is page 16 in the pdf.

https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/broadwaycorridortransstudy.pdf

 

Link to the Broadway Coalition Petition drive to oppose the City’s unnecessary alignment plan:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/develop-historic-broadway-not-wastefully-widen-the

 

Copy of the Petition as a PDF to distribute:

Copy Broadway Petition

 

400 Comments regarding the Broadway widening from the community recorded during the current Petition Drive :

Broadway Petition Comments

Intro to Broadway Project – Who, What, When, Why?

Why Are We Spending $74 Million

and

Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area

while

Producing No Traffic Improvement?

 

The Broadway Improvement Project is not needed, and will provide no benefit to the residents of Tucson.  The City’s own data shows that widening Broadway will provide only a 6-second improvement in travel time.

 

The City of Tucson wants to bulldoze dozens of buildings, many of them historically significant, to handle nonexistent traffic increases which were projected 30 years ago, but did not materialize.

 

The effort started in the 80s, when City analysts predicted a substantial increase in Broadway traffic by 2005. This began a decades-long push to widen Broadway, despite a consulting firm’s analysis that widening would not improve traffic flow.  The reason is the delays at intersections.  The City got funding for the project in 2006, as part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) proposition.

 

But the traffic increase didn’t happen, for two reasons:

 

1. Population growth, which had been primarily to the East, went to the Northwest instead.

2. Aviation Parkway was completed in the 90s, providing an alternative for residents in Southeast Tucson.

 

In 2009, a consultant’s study showed that Broadway traffic was essentially unchanged since the 80s. That should have squelched the project. But the City said it was obligated to do the job, because voters approved it as part of the RTA. (Not true. The RTA proposition said a change in the plan was permitted if there was “no degradation in performance”. That 6-second difference is 1 percent, which would certainly be within the limit.)

 

So the City’s plans continued. The original design was for widening Broadway to 8 lanes, 150 feet wide. That’s half the length of a football field. More than 100 structures would be demolished, mostly locally-owned businesses, including nearly everything on the North side of Broadway, from Euclid to Country Club.

 

There was strong opposition by thousands of citizens and several neighborhood associations.  This resulted in creation of a citizen’s task force, with representatives from business, neighborhood, and disabled communities. Between June 2012 and May 2015, the task force held 37 design meetings, coordinated by City staff and consultants. There were 5 Open Houses, each attended by several hundred people, and five Business and Property Owner Meetings.

 

In late 2014, a compromise was reached between the City, RTA, and task force, calling for 6 lanes, with an estimated 10-12 buildings to be torn down. City agencies and consultants were to work out technical details.

 

We have now received the revised plan. It calls for at least 30 buildings to be demolished — triple the City’s compromise estimate — including 2 blocks of houses in Rincon Heights.  Many other buildings will become inaccessible, and will likely be destroyed, because their driveways and/or parking lots will be wiped out.  There also are changes at intersections which impact nearby neighborhoods, by diverting or blocking traffic flow.

 

Will the Broadway Corridor be a gateway to our revitalized downtown, with locally-owned businesses, and human scale?  Or will it be a wide swath of asphalt, straddled by empty lots and the dream of big box stores?

 

Tucson got a black eye with Rio Nuevo.  Let’s not do it again.  The money can be spent on sidewalks, landscaping, and ADA compliance, which would enhance the area. Please tell your City Council member to reject this wasteful and harmful idea, once and for all.

 

For more info:   www.sustainabletucson.org     www.facebook.com/broadwaycoalition

 

Thanks to Margot Garcia, for providing background and chronological information; Les Pierce, for identifying important items in City and RTA documents; and Bob Cook, for wording suggestions.

Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?

Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?

Here is the scope of work

The phrases below are excerpted from the 2011 Scope of Work issued by COT Dept. of Procurement for the Broadway Project used to issue the contract to HDR Engineering.

 

The consultant is to establish

  • “an innovative and context sensitive, solutions-oriented approach toward the redesign of this major roadway…
  • the selected team will redesign Broadway into a multi-modal boulevard using a variety of land use strategies to preserve historic structures…..
  • Project development should include utilization of innovative urban design, streetscape, xeriscape and environmental sustainability concepts to promote a vibrant, green, and liveable urban character….
  • consideration should be given to…long term transit development; the value of mid-century and other historic properties along the corridor; …and residential district location, form, and design.
  • Part of this project will consider how to enhance transit capability and how planning and design of facilities can increase ridership as well as foster future development of a streetcar, or light-rail system.”

 

They haven’t done any of this.

City Council, Send the design back and tell them to do what they were hired to do!!!

City’s April 2016 Plan differs from Previous Recommendations and Adoptions

There are large differences from the base alignment that the Citizen Task Force (CTF) recommended and the Mayor and Council adopted in May 2015. They are:

 

1.     Many more buildings, historic and businesses, will be acquired and demolished. It appears to be at a minimum around 30, not the 10 to 12 promised earlier.

2.     It takes out the front line of the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Historic District: two blocks of houses.

3.     Other businesses will be acquired: south side block from old Table Talk to end of that row because of no access; same for Solot Plaza.

4.     There are double left turn lanes both directions at Euclid – encouraging traffic past Tucson High School and along the periphery of the University.

5.     There are 11 bus pullouts – these slow down transit, therefore this design does not enhance transit, but makes it worse than now.

6.     There are double left turn lanes onto Campbell/Kino, making that intersection 9 lanes wide – a nightmare for pedestrians trying to get to Starbucks, Carls Junior, or the Safeway or to transfer bus lines.

7.     Extends medians past neighborhood streets, preventing left  turns. Examples: Mountain Ave, Fremont, Olson, Smith, Camino Espanol.

 

Therefore we find the 30% drawings are unacceptable because they:

 

••Do not adhere, even conceptually, to the alignment passed by Mayor & Council on June 9, 2015 and by Citizens Task Force on May 7, 2015.

••Destroy historic streetscape

••Destroy too many businesses, and thus, the essence of Broadway as a destination

••Are hostile to pedestrian and bicyclist road users

••Have too many bus pullouts, slowing down the busses

••Deny parking and access to existing businesses, thus threaten total acquisition of more properties than currently planned

••Do not support local existing businesses

••Impede access to neighborhoods

••Are automobile-centered, at the expense of a more livable Tucson

••Create remnant parcels that are too small to be used by themselves

••Do not contribute to a sense of place

••Do not adhere to current best practices in road design

••Removes right hand turn lanes from WB and EB Broadway at Country Club creating terrible opportunity for bicycle-car accidents. Using 10-foot lanes would allow a right-hand turn lane without changing overall roadway width.

 

Broadway Coalition – March 2016

10 Impacts of the Proposed Broadway Widening

1) The current alignment (the 30% design) ignores public input, which overwhelmingly advocated for preservation of the historic streetscape and local businesses.

 

2) The 30% design defies the direction of Mayor and Council, who approved an alignment that would have caused the loss of at most 11 historic buildings. The proposed 30% design will take out 30 historic buildings.

 

3) The entire project is based on traffic projections that are 20 years out of date. Current data show steady decreases in vehicular traffic on Broadway, on Tucson’s other arterials, and on arterials throughout the nation.

 

4) The project is estimated to cost $74 million, before cost overruns. At this time, cost overruns are expected to be at least $5 million. Our city government is in a budget crisis. Where, exactly, is this money supposed to come from? Coincidentally, the city plans to put tax increases on November’s ballot.

 

5) The city’s own data show that, after the project is completed, traffic will move 6 seconds faster. Yes, you read that correctly: SIX SECONDS. We are supposed to sacrifice two blocks of historic homes, numerous local businesses, go into debt, and tolerate a corrupt public process for SIX SECONDS.

 

6) By destroying local businesses along the Broadway Corridor, the city is sacrificing future tax revenues for the city itself and for the Rio Nuevo District. This will only deepen our budget crisis.

 

7) The city and county keep saying they are respecting the will of the voters by going forward with this project. Well, I voted for the RTA. I held my nose over the road widening projects, because I wanted to see light rail come to Tucson. I never imagined the devastation road widening would bring to historic neighborhoods along Broadway and Grant Road. THIS IS NOT WHAT I VOTED FOR.

 

8) If your neighborhood borders an arterial, this project is a horrible template that could be applied to you. For example, the city has long planned additional widening of Speedway in Feldman’s Neighborhood. The Major Streets and Routes Plan specifies a right-of-way of 125 feet along Speedway in Feldman’s. The city can (and usually does) require any property owner wanting a zoning variance along Speedway to deed the 125 feet over to the city — for free. That is a policy that drives urban blight, just as it did on Broadway.

 

9) This project is the exact opposite of everything that makes a city such as Austin or Portland attractive, livable, economically and culturally viable. There will be no dedicated transit lanes. Little or no landscaping. No replacement parking for the parking that local businesses will lose, meaning those businesses will likely go under. And of course, none of the beautiful amenities that were envisioned early on in the process, such as pocket parks and vegetation buffers between vehicles and cyclists.

 

10) This project is also the exact opposite of government accountability and transparency. In addition to the end-run around public input and direction from Mayor and Council, there have been allegations of early buyouts offered to national chain businesses (looking at you, Starbucks and Brake Masters) that were not necessary, given the alignment, and were far more generous than anything offered to local businesses.

 

 

Sustainability on the Chopping Block – Tucson City Council Decision April 19th

XXX

This is an urgent appeal to the Sustainability Community to show up and speak out for sustainability and reject an unnecessary road widening plan which will cost millions and do nothing for sustainable mobility and economic vitality.

XXXXX

We have limited opportunities to help shape decisions about urban form and public infrastructure which effect the way we live and generate climate-changing GHG emissions. This is one of them.

XXX

 

The Tucson Mayor and Council will decide at their April 19th Regular Meeting on how to proceed with the 30% design proposal on the table. We urge you to sign the popular “Vote No” petition below sponsored by the Broadway Coalition and ALSO submit your “negative” comments on the 30% Design here at the City’s website.

XXX

When: Tuesday, April 19th,  5:30 pm

Where:  Tucson City Hall Council Chambers

We Should Develop Historic Broadway NOT wastefully widen the roadway!

 

Say YES to smart development and NO to another bad alignment plan for Broadway. Why would we spend $75 million for no appreciable improvement in traffic?

 

On April 19th, the City of Tucson will vote whether to:

XXX

1) Widen Historic Broadway even though traffic hasn’t increased for 20 years,

2) Demolish 30+ buildings and businesses, and

3) Ignore the community’s overwhelming plea to design a vibrant, history and place-preserving, climate-friendly future where local businesses thrive and more people prefer to safely walk, bike, and use public transit.

XXX

The City’s alignment plan would set a horrible precedent for our economic future!

XXX

We need to stop wasteful public spending on unnecessary widening of roads when we need to:

XXX

1) Revitalize our historic places leading into Downtown Tucson.

2) Repave our unsafe, crumbling Tucson streets and roads.

3) Invest in alternatives to more cars – walking, biking, public transit.

4) Encourage and enable use of renewable energy – electric vehicles, Street Car extensions.

Our Petition Campaign has exceeded the first goal of 1,000 signatures with over 400 comments. Please add your name, comment if you like, and see what other Tucsonan’s are saying:

 

Time for Action is Now!

 

For background on Broadway Widening , references, articles, and research go here:

 

 

Why Are We Spending $74 Million

and

Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area

while

Producing No Traffic Improvement?

By Dave Bilgray

 

 

The Broadway Improvement Project is not needed, and will provide no benefit to the residents of Tucson.  The City’s own data shows that widening Broadway will provide only a 6-second improvement in travel time.

 

The City of Tucson wants to bulldoze dozens of buildings, many of them historically significant, to handle nonexistent traffic increases which were projected 30 years ago, but did not materialize.

 

The effort started in the 80s, when City analysts predicted a substantial increase in Broadway traffic by 2005. This began a decades-long push to widen Broadway, despite a consulting firm’s analysis that widening would not improve traffic flow.  The reason is the delays at intersections.  The City got funding for the project in 2006, as part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) proposition.

 

But the traffic increase didn’t happen, for two reasons:

 

1. Population growth, which had been primarily to the East, went to the Northwest instead.

2. Aviation Parkway was completed in the 90s, providing an alternative for residents in Southeast Tucson.

 

In 2009, a consultant’s study showed that Broadway traffic was essentially unchanged since the 80s. That should have squelched the project. But the City said it was obligated to do the job, because voters approved it as part of the RTA. (Not true. The RTA proposition said a change in the plan was permitted if there was “no degradation in performance”. That 6-second difference is 1 percent, which would certainly be within the limit.)

 

So the City’s plans continued. The original design was for widening Broadway to 8 lanes, 150 feet wide. That’s half the length of a football field. More than 100 structures would be demolished, mostly locally-owned businesses, including nearly everything on the North side of Broadway, from Euclid to Country Club.

 

There was strong opposition by thousands of citizens and several neighborhood associations.  This resulted in creation of a citizen’s task force, with representatives from business, neighborhood, and disabled communities. Between June 2012 and May 2015, the task force held 37 design meetings, coordinated by City staff and consultants. There were 5 Open Houses, each attended by several hundred people, and five Business and Property Owner Meetings.

 

In late 2014, a compromise was reached between the City, RTA, and task force, calling for 6 lanes, with an estimated 10-12 buildings to be torn down. City agencies and consultants were to work out technical details.

 

We have now received the revised plan. It calls for at least 30 buildings to be demolished — triple the City’s compromise estimate — including 2 blocks of houses in Rincon Heights.  Many other buildings will become inaccessible, and will likely be destroyed, because their driveways and/or parking lots will be wiped out.  There also are changes at intersections which impact nearby neighborhoods, by diverting or blocking traffic flow.

 

Will the Broadway Corridor be a gateway to our revitalized downtown, with locally-owned businesses, and human scale?  Or will it be a wide swath of asphalt, straddled by empty lots and the dream of big box stores?

 

Tucson got a black eye with Rio Nuevo.  Let’s not do it again.  The money can be spent on sidewalks, landscaping, and ADA compliance, which would enhance the area. Please tell your City Council member to reject this wasteful and harmful idea, once and for all.

 

For more info:   www.facebook.com/broadwaycoalition

 

Thanks to Margot Garcia, for providing background and chronological information; Les Pierce, for identifying important items in City and RTA documents; and Bob Cook, for wording suggestions.

Sign online petition for a sustainable Broadway

Data crunched: Broadway widening WILL NOT speed cars…or buses…or pedestrians…or even bicycles!

Analysis of RTA and COT’s own numbers shows widening Broadway will not cut travel times for cars or anyone else.

So why are we spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars amidst a budget crisis?

(A)  The proposed work will have almost zero (~1.4%) benefit, as the Design Concept Report (DCR) data itself declares.

(B)  Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) requires that “Where a departure from the ballot description is being considered, a performance comparison between the proposed alternative and the original scope of work must show no degradation in performance”.

(C)  Therefore, since functionality for cars will not be improved under ANY widening scenario (4-lane, 6-lane, or 8-lane), less invasive options that improve road functionality for everyone else (pedestrians, bicyclists, transit) will still comport with RTA’s directive while saving scarce tax dollars and must be given urgent and careful consideration.

These points are explored in more depth below.

(1)  The proposed work will have almost zero (~1.1 – 1.4%) benefit.

Broadway draft DCR, page “5.9” (9th page of Chapter 5), figure 5.10 “Travel Time Euclid to Country Club” states that travel time by car* from Euclid to Country Club on the current 2+2+center-turning lane configuration is 7.1 minutes.  Of all the four (4) considered alternatives — 4-lane, 4+2T, 6-lane, and 8-lane — only ONE enables faster travel time over this distance, the 6-lane option.  How much faster?  Six seconds.  A 1.4% improvement, which could be margin of error and not even real.  It should be noted that the 8-lane “ballot language” option actually makes things WORSE, increasing travel time by a full minute.

(* These comments focus on car-centric performance because car/vehicle performance appears to be the only transportation metric being given more than token consideration.  We thus attempt to meet the world halfway.)

Figure 5.11 “Average Speed” on the same page shows the current average car travel speed over the two-mile segment of Broadway between Euclid and Country Club to be 17.4 MPH.  Again, of all the considered alternatives, only the 6-lane option shows any improvement AT ALL, and that is an extremely modest 1.1% increase to 17.6 MPH which, again, could simply be margin of error.  And again, the 8-lane “ballot language” option would have dropped average speed by over two minutes, to 15.2 MPH.

Also, the level-of-service (LOS) predicted from the four (4) presented options shows no real difference between them in terms of overall average performance.  When averaged (where 0 = ‘F’, 1 = ‘E’, 2 = ‘D’, 3 = ‘C’, 4 = ‘B’, and 5 = ‘A’), the LOS data presented on Broadway DCR page 4.18 (54th page of PDF document) yields:

 

(A)  Broadway LOS at PAG 2040 traffic projections, by intersection:

config:  Euclid – Highland – Campbell – Tucson – Country Club – overall

4-lane:  2.17 – 3.33 – 1.75 – 2.00 – 2.08 – 2.26

6-lane:  2.08 – 3.75 – 2.58 – 2.92 – 2.08 – 2.68

4+2T:  1.50 – 2.83 – 2.33 – 2.17 – 2.08 – 2.18

8-lane:  2.50 – 3.58 – 2.75 – 2.83 – 2.00 – 2.73

 

(B)  Broadway LOS at PAG “low growth” traffic projections, by intersection:

config:  Euclid – Highland – Campbell – Tucson – Country Club – overall

4-lane:  2.33 – 3.67 – 1.83 – 2.17 – 2.08 – 2.25

6-lane:  2.17 – 3.75 – 2.50 – 2.92 – 2.00 – 2.22

4T+2:  1.92 – 3.25 – 2.33 – 2.42 – 2.17 – 2.25

8-lane:  2.58 – 3.83 – 2.75 – 3.00 – 2.25 – 3.13

 

It would appear that there is no appreciable overall difference in LOS between the presented options, with all performances but one landing in ‘D’ territory (the 8-lane option under “low growth” projections rates a low ‘C’).  Without current LOS data in the DCR, it is not clear which, if any, of these options would actually improve conditions or by how much.

This should come as no surprise, since the 1987 Parsons-Brinckerhoff Broadway Corridor Study stated (table 3, page 10) that widening Broadway (either to six or to eight lanes) would not improve performance at the Euclid, Campbell, or Country Club intersections AT ALL, and that even the “nuclear option” of installing grade-separated interchanges (GSI’s) at these intersections would only raise performance at Euclid and Campbell from a then level-of-service (LOS) of ‘F’ to ‘D’ (Country Club would not improve, and would stay at the then-current ‘D’).  In the thirty years since, nothing has changed:  none of the nine (9) alternatives contemplated by Parsons in 1987 would effect any appreciable improvement then, and none of the four (4) alternatives presented to the Broadway CTF over the past (almost-) four years will effect any appreciable improvement now.

The 1987 study was purportedly commissioned to address what was projected to be the demands of traffic in 2005.  None of the suggestions made by Parsons has been enacted — aside from intersection changes at Kino Parkway in 1989 and as part of the more recent Park-Euclid realignment, but not on the scale recommended by Parsons — yet the proverbial sky has not fallen, and Broadway remains one of our more easily traversed roads.  The perceived “problem” does not exist to an extent that justifies spending $74 million on a notional “solution” that will make no noticeable difference in average travel time or speed, or to overall throughput.

It is also not clear how a 6-lane Broadway would solve the bottleneck at Fourth/ Congress/ Toole:  northbound Downtown Links, being a 30-MPH four-lane road, will siphon away only a small fraction of the traffic load.  Hurling cars westbound down Broadway will not improve overall road performance, as they will only accumulate and back up faster than Downtown Links and Fourth/ Congress/ Toole can disperse them.  This is likely a moot point given the modest performance gains the Broadway proposal would realize, but if these changes were to move more cars per lane per hour the 6-lane “solution” on Broadway will only create another problem downstream.

This makes all the more puzzling the assertion made in Pima County’s ordinance 2015-10 (which amended its ordinance 1997-80, the Transportation Bond Improvement Plan that includes project DOT-56, “Broadway Boulevard, Euclid Avenue to Campbell”) where the Broadway project benefits were described as:  “The estimated economic value of the improvements to traffic flow and reductions in accidents are $172.85 million.  The benefit/cost ratio is 4.9:1.”  It is not clear how a 1% performance increase (time saved, speed gained) creates $173 million in benefits; in fact, one would expect accidents to rise (in number and/or severity) as speed does.

One must also wonder about end-user sentiment:  for $74 million, drivers would not unreasonably expect to feel a difference in the Broadway commute experience proportionate to such an expenditure.  Six seconds, the best projected outcome possible from among the considered options, is a woefully inadequate consolation prize.

 

(2)  RTA requires that “Where a departure from the ballot description is being considered, a performance comparison between the proposed alternative and the original scope of work must show no degradation in performance”.

As discussed above, an 8-lane configuration of Broadway would either have no effect on traffic conditions (Parsons-Brinckerhoff, 1987) or would make them worse (time and speed comparison charts, DCR page 5.9).  Leaving things at status quo would yield better traffic performance results than inflicting the “ballot language” option.

 

(3)  Therefore, since functionality for cars will not be improved under ANY widenening scenario, less invasive options that improve road functionality for everyone else (pedestrians, bicyclists, transit) must be given urgent and careful consideration.

DCR states (page 5.18) that “It is not an option to leave the roadway as it is — the City will have to improve the roadway per Federal [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements, and there is no money to do so”.  The inadequate pedestrian and bicyclist facilities on Broadway need to be improved in any event; the low incidence of bicycle traffic on Broadway is likely for the same reason there are few bicyclists on I-10, i.e., bicyclists were simply not considered when the road was last expanded.  As our mindsets evolve from “one mode” transportation to handling all modes, so too will our roads.

If getting an ADA-compliant street* is in fact the only reason this project is moving forward — and it is difficult to draw any other conclusion, given the negligible benefits on offer — there are, and have been suggested by the CTF and the public, other alignment options that will improve functionality for pedestrian and bicyclist road users, lay the foundation for future transit improvements, and also preserve much more of the surrounding built environment for historic, commercial, and/or residential purposes.

 

(* One wonders, though, how a medianized roadway that forces wheelchair users to go blocks out of their way to cross Broadway at one of a handful of wheel-able crossings comports with ADA’s goals of equality of access.  Pedestrian travel and community connections are not just along Broadway, but across it.)

Given the current budget constraints under which City, County, and RTA are operating, it is only prudent to review what a project area truly needs, what any proposed “solution” will actually effect, and reduce the project scope accordingly.  With $74 million earmarked for Broadway, negligible projected benefit from the proposed Broadway changes, and more pressing transportation needs elsewhere, we urge a rigorous and unflinching value analysis of the current proposal and implementation of less-invasive less costly measures to create a Broadway that works for midtown and all of Tucson.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

SOURCES AND DOCUMENTS:

Broadway project draft Design Concept Report — http://broadwayboulevard.info/pdf/Broadway-DCR-Public-Review-FullDoc-120815.pdf — (~48MB, 118 pages, PDF format)

Parsons-Brinckerhoff, 1987 Broadway Corridor Transportation Study —https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/broadwaycorridortransstudy.pdf — (~1.67 MB, 39 pages, PDF format) — see specifically Table 3, page 10 (16th page of PDF document) for compared expectations of various roadway configuration options

1989 Kino/Broadway intersection widening — https://www.tucsonaz.gov/apps/maps-and-records/webroot/images/Plan_Lib/1988/I/I-88-035A/i-88-035a_013.tif — (~227KB, TIFF format)

County ordinance 1997-80, Transportation Bond Improvement Plan, plus subsequent amendments — http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=7610

09-APR-2015 County ordinance 2015-10, amending the 1997 Transportation Bond Improvement Plan —http://webcms.pima.gov/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=194763 — (~529KB, 48 pages, PDF format) — and describing the possible benefits of widening Broadway (page “40”, 45th page of PDF document)

19-OCT-2010 County ordinance 2010-62, amending the 1997 Transportation Bond Improvement Plan —http://pima.ecustomdev.intrafinity.com/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=9400 — (~195KB, five pages, PDF format) — including redline of River Road Ventana Wash project wording

Past roadway projects that seemed like a good idea at the time and, as history has proven, were best left on the drawing board —https://www.arizonaroads.com/urban/index.html — (Tucson’s marvels are ~2/3ds from the top), since we would be so much poorer as a City without Armory Park or the Campbell Avenue mercantile district

 

Thanks to Les Pierce for diligently compiling the documentation and lucidly stating the case.

Attached please find additional files that may be helpful.  The first two are 1987 Parsons-Brinckerhoff documents (the Broadway study and the “concept plan”); the three one-pagers are summaries/ graphic illos of my previous warblings about how the performance data clearly states (and has stated) that this project ain’t gonna solve whatever “problems” Broadway is alleged to have.  Caveat that the LOS page is a bit cluttered, but it should still work.

Cheers,

Les.

bway_conceptplan_parsons_198702

bway_study_parsons_198702

bway_dcr_los_table_201512.eps

bway_dcr_perf_graphs_201512.eps

bway_study_parsons_198702_los_table3

 

CALL TO ACTION!

XXX

Why would we spend $75 million for no appreciable improvement in traffic?

XXX

The City of Tucson is proposing to:

XXX

1)   Widen Historic Broadway even though traffic hasn’t increased for 20 years,

2)  Demolish 30+ buildings and businesses, and

3)  Ignore the community’s plea to design for a vibrant, history and place-preserving, climate-friendly future where local businesses thrive and more people prefer to safely walk, bike, and use public transit.

XXX

This plan is a horrible precedent for our future!

We have to stop spending on what we don’t need so we can invest in what we do need!

XXX

Dear City of Tucson:

XXX

Don’t Waste Taxpayer Money We Don’t Have.

Do Broadway Right Or Not At All!

XXX

People of Tucson:

 Show up at the Public Open House

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Time: 5:30-8:00

Sabbar Shrine Temple

450 S. Tucson Boulevard

This is the time and place to comment on the 30% alignment drawings. This plan sets in motion Real Estate beginning to buy properties. There may be small changes, but by in large this is it!

 

There are large differences from the base alignment that the Citizen Task Force (CTF recommended) and the Mayor and Council adopted in May 2015. They are:

1.     Many more buildings  – historic and businesses will be acquired and demolished. It appears to be at a minimum – 30, not the 10-12 promised earlier.

2.     It takes out the front line of the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Historic District – 2 blocks of houses.

3.     Other businesses will be acquired – south side block from old Table Talk to end of that row because of no access, same for Solot Plaza.

4.     There are double left turn lanes both directions at Euclid – encouraging traffic past Tucson High School and along the periphery of the University

5.     There are 11 bus pullouts – these slow down transit, therefore this design does not enhance transit, but makes it worse than now.

6.     There are double left turn lanes onto Campbell/Kino making that intersection 9 lanes wide – a nightmare for pedestrians trying to get to Starbucks, Carls Junior, or the Safeway or transfer buses.

7.     Extends medians past neighborhood streets preventing left hand turns – examples: Mountain Ave, Fremont, Olson, Smith, Camino Espanol

Therefore we find the 30% drawings are unacceptable because they:

 

  •     *do not adhere, even conceptually, to the alignment passed by Mayor & Council on June 9, 2015 and by Citizens Task Force May 7, 2015.
  •     *destroy historic streetscape
  •     *destroy too many businesses, and thus, the essence of Broadway as a destination
  •     *are pedestrian and bicyclist hostile
  •     *have too many bus pullouts, slowing down the busses
  •     *deny parking and access to existing businesses, thus threaten total acquisition
  •     *impede access to neighborhoods
  •     *are automobile-centered, at the expense of a more livable Tucson
  •     *do not adhere to current best practices in road design

Comments can be given at the Open House

Comments can be sent via email at www.broadwayboulevard.info/comments.php

Maps can be found at www.broadwayboulevard.info/planning

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Public Hearing at City Council Meeting on 30% alignment set for Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

 

For an excellent summary of studies which show that widening historic Broadway is unneessary, click here.

 

Feeding Tucson Food Resilience meeting

Following the successful Urban Farm Tour on March 5, we will be meeting on Wednesday, March 23 to continue the discussion. The objective of the meeting is to identify next steps to help make Tucson more Food Resilient. We will consider two possible projects:

• Develop a grant application to the new Haury foundation for startup funds to help start to develop a Food Resilience Project. Ultimately, this could result in a coalition of local organizations that will combine their interests and capabilities to help small, self-organizing groups to make them selves more food resilient. If the interest and time is there, we may apply for startup (‘seed’) funds this May. (Or possibly in September.)

* Begin to organize a Food Resilience component for the 6th annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, this October. This would likely include a variation of the Urban Farm Tour from earlier this month.

The meeting will be at the YWCA, 525 N Bonita If you want to buy lunch from the Café @ the YW, you should try to get there a little early. We will start promptly at 11:30.

UA Earth Transformed Lecture Series

UA Earth Transformed Lecture Series

A Series of Six Lectures
Exploring Our World and Ourselves

Mondays, January 25 – March 7
7:00-8:00 PM
UA Centennial Hall

Climate change and its impacts are no longer merely abstract projections for the future. Instead, they are on-going and growing challenges for both humans and many of the natural systems upon which we depend. Globally, changes in the oceans, ice sheets and atmosphere provide clear fingerprints of the human causes, but also important lessons for society to learn as we seek solutions. Even more than when the UA Science Lecture Series originally turned to climate change a decade ago, the Southwest is dealing with a looming water crisis, unprecedented severe wildfire risk, emerging human health concerns and much more. Scholars and the public alike need to brainstorm and work to ensure a resilient and vibrant future for the Southwest and the planet.

Lectures are held at Centennial Hall on the campus of the University of Arizona. Parking is available on a pay-per-use basis in the Tyndall Avenue Garage.
All lectures begin at 7:00 PM and are free to the public. Doors open at 6:00 PM. We encourage you to arrive at Centennial Hall before 6:30 PM as seating is limited.
For More Information
Visit the Earth Transformed website or call 520-621-4090.

Upcoming Lectures

Monday, January 25, 2016
The Ocean’s Role in Climate: Heat and Carbon Uptake in the Anthropocene
Joellen Russell, 1885 Society Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor of Geosciences, College of Science, University of Arizona
The oceans play a key role in shaping the Earth’s climate and its variability on both short and long time scales. Central to this role is the ability of the ocean to store both carbon dioxide and heat, not only at the surface but also in its deepest layers. New technologies are revolutionizing how we study and predict changes in our dynamic oceans.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Climate Change and Global Food Security
David Battisti, Tamaki Endowed Chair and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington
Increasing stresses on major crops due to climate change, coupled with the increasing demand for food due to increasing population and development, present significant challenges to achieving global food security. This lecture explores the likely impact of climate change and volatility on food production and availability in the foreseeable future.

Monday, February 8, 2016
Ecosystem Resilience: Navigating Our Tenuous Connection to Nature
Russell Monson, Louise Foucar Marshall Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, College of Science, University of Arizona
Sustainability of the services provided by Earth’s ecosystems is dependent on mechanisms of resilience that include maintenance of biotic diversity and avoidance of climatically-controlled ‘tipping points’. This lecture will explore how recent trends in land use and anthropogenic climate warming have exposed vulnerabilities in the mechanisms of ecosystem resilience, and revealed the potential for surprising shifts in the productivity and persistence of ecosystems.

Monday, February 15, 2016
No lecture this week.

Monday, February 22, 2016
Climate Change and Human Health: Impacts and Pathways to Resilience
Kacey Ernst, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Arizona
Climate change will inevitably lead to negative impacts on human health. Certainty in predicting negative health outcomes is higher when changes are more directly related to the natural environment. Research is advancing our understanding of these complex systems and how they might be altered under different climatic conditions. Mitigation strategies can be applied now to improve both the current and future health of populations.

Monday, February 29, 2016
Carbon Sequestration: Can We Afford It?
Kimberly Ogden, Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Arizona
Carbon sequestration is defined as removing carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change. Although there are commercially available technologies, the main barrier to implementation is economic. This lecture will explore proposed methods for carbon capture from the simple to the complex. The potential of alternative energy to reduce emissions and sequestration using biological processes will be emphasized.

Monday, March 7, 2016
The Changing Earth: It’s Not Just a New Normal
Jonathan Overpeck, Co-Director, Institute of the Environment; Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Science and Regents’ Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, University of Arizona
Climate change is ever-intensifying at scale of the globe, and the Southwest is already dealing with climate change challenges in the form of unusually hot drought, looming water shortage, widespread death of trees, unprecedented severe fire risk, dust storms, hotter heat waves and more. With the economic vitality of the Southwest at stake, climate adaptation and mitigation are key.

What does the Paris Climate Agreement mean for solar in Arizona?

Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership Meeting: January 21

The public is invited to this important, free event.

Agenda:
Vince Pawlowski, a recent delegate to COP21, the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in 2015, will be a guest speaker. Vince, a recent graduate in climate policy from the University of Arizona and part of the UA delegation to the conference, will present a summary of actions taken, the agreement and what it means for solar projects in Tucson and Arizona. The conference looked at setting a framework for action to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Solar is set to play an important role in the plan.
Mark Holohan, president of AriSEIA, Arizona’s Solar Energy Industry Association, will join the meeting by phone and provide an update on the 2016 Arizona Legislature’s activities on solar and discuss TEP’s rate case and other items pending before the Arizona Corporation Commission which will affect solar.
Parking:
Available on nearby streets and in several parking lots, or take the streetcar and get off at the Broadway stop near Stone.
*Construction Alert*
Please be advised that there might be traffic restrictions on Stone Ave. and Broadway Blvd. due to several building construction projects in the area.
Please plan your trip for any PAG meetings to allow for extra travel time.
At times delays can be more than 15 minutes depending on your route and potentially longer during morning and evening peak hours.

The Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership, a program managed by Pima Association of Governments, seeks to increase awareness of solar energy opportunities through education and outreach. A cooperative effort among government agencies, local businesses, local electric utilities, solar manufacturers, solar installers and individuals, the Solar Partnership encourages the use of solar energy by identifying the benefits of using solar and educates others about solar opportunities to support our solar economy.

2:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2016
Pima Association of Governments
Santa Rita Conference Room
1 E. Broadway Blvd., Ste. 401
Tucson, AZ 85701

Pima Association of Governments | info@pagregion.com
(520) 792-1093 | PAGregion.com

Duality in Climate Science

Duality in Climate Science
Published by Kevin Anderson blog on 2015-10-15
Original article: http://kevinanderson.info/blog/duality-in-climate-science/ by Kevin Anderson

 

The value of science is undermined when we adopt questionable assumptions and fine-tune our analysis to conform to dominant political and economic sensibilities. The pervasive inclusion of speculative negative emission technologies to deliver politically palatable 2°C mitigation is but one such example. Society needs scientists to make transparent and reasoned assumptions, however uncomfortable the subsequent conclusions may be for the politics of the day.

June’s UNFCCC Bonn Conference reiterated the headline ‘conclusions’ of November’s IPCC Synthesis Report, which itself was heralded as delivering clear messages to policy makers. As the Financial Times1 noted, meeting the 2°C dangerous limitwould “only cause an annual 0.06 percentage point cut in … economic growth”, a small cost that would, according to the UK’s Guardian, rise by less than 50% even if emissions reductions were delayed to 20302. In similar optimistic vein, The US Associated Press3 and Hindustan Times4 reported that maintaining “the temperature rise below a level that many consider dangerous” may require emissions from fossil fuels “to drop to zero”, but not before “the end of this century”. The Sydney Morning Herald5 concluded that staying below 2°C would require “a fairly strong level of action on greenhouse gas emissionswith, ChinaDaily6 reporting that in delivering the requisite action the solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development.”

Based on such reports it is easy to be left with the impression that the shift away from fossil fuels needs to be much more an evolutionary transition than an immediate revolution in how we use and produce energy. Moreover, it could be suggested that delaying action until 2030 would give more time for considered reflection of the options, yet still only have a very marginal impact on economic growth (i.e. less than a 0.1 percentage point cut) – not a bad exchange perhaps?

In stark contrast, this commentary concludes that the carbon budgets needed for a reasonable probability of avoiding the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change demand profound and immediate changes to the consumption and production of energy. The IPCC’s own 1,000 GtCO2 carbon budget for a “likely” chance of 2°C, requires global reductions in emissions from energy of at least 10% p.a. by 2025, with complete cessation of all carbon dioxide emissions from the energy system by 2050.

Diluting the message
Whilst the endeavours of the IPCC, since its inception in 1988, are to be welcomed, I have grave reservations as to how the implications of their analysis are being reported. This is not solely the failure of incisive journalism, but is also the outcome of repeated and questionable commentary from some experts engaged in the IPCC process. Even the press release7 for the IPCC’s Synthesis report provided an optimistic spin, with the then IPCC chair stating thatTo keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100[emphasis added]. Moreover, the Co-Chair of the IPCC’s section on reducing emissions made the all-important comment that mitigation costs would be so low that global economic growth would not be strongly affected– echoing the conclusion of the recent and influential report from The New Climate Economy8.

But does the IPCC’s own analysis support the upbeat rhetoric of evolution as opposed to the more challenging and fundamental language of revolution?

Certainly such evolutionary conclusions are forthcoming from many highly complex integrated assessment models (IAMs) – whereby an understanding of prices, markets and human behaviour is brought together with the physics of climate change to generate ‘policy-relevant’ and cost-optimised emission scenarios. These typically offer highly optimistic futures through a combination of very early peaks in global emissions and a belief that negative emission technologies will prove practically and economically viable in removing CO2 from the atmosphere (hence the reference to or belowzero emissions in Pachauri’s earlier statement).

‘Geo-engineering’ as systemic bias
The analysis within this Commentary makes no allowance for carbon budgets being increased through the adoption of ‘geo-engineering’ technologies, specifically those delivering so-called negative emissions. Such technologies are ubiquitous in 2°C scenarios9,10, despite their remaining at little more than the conceptual stage of development. However, whilst speculative negative emissions are de rigueur, similarly imprecise Earth system processes (but with the potential to reduce the available budgets) are seldom included in quantitative scenarios. The relative importance of negative emissions and Earth-system processes for the size of the available carbon budget varies across the spectrum of temperatures being considered. Yet until both can be adequately and robustly quantified their widespread inclusion within quantitative emissions pathways should be avoided. A small suite of 2°C scenarios may, of course, assume the successful uptake of negative emissions (or further positive feedbacks), but such scenarios should be in the minority and not dominate the outputs from across the IAM community.

As it stands, the expedient and ubiquitous use of speculative negative emissions to expand the available 2°C carbon budgets, implies a deeply entrenched and systemic bias in favour of delivering politically palatable rather than scientifically balanced emission scenarios. Nowhere is this more evident than in the IPCC’s scenario database11. Of the 113 scenarios with a “likely” chance (66% or better) of 2°C (with 3 removed due to incomplete data), 107 (95%) assume the successful and large-scale uptake of negative emission technologies. The remaining 6 scenarios all adopt a global emissions peak of around 2010. Extending the probability to a 50% chance of 2°C paints a similar picture. Of the additional 287 scenarios, 237 (83%) include negative emissions, with all the remaining scenarios assuming the successful implementation of a stringent and global mitigation regime in 2010.

In plain language, the complete set of 400 IPCC scenarios for a 50% or better chance of 2°C assume either an ability to travel back in time or the successful and large-scale uptake of speculative negative emission technologies. A significant proportion of the scenarios are dependent on both ‘time travel and geo-engineering’.

An arithmetic sense check
With IAM outputs typically clustering around evolutionary rather than revolutionary rates of change, there is clearly merit in undertaking some basic arithmetic to sense-check the model outputs, the consequent framing of policies, and the timeframes for delivering deep cuts in emissions. Building on the concept of carbon budgets12-14 the following steps summarise a sequence of reasoning and transparent assumptions that suggest a profoundly different challenge to that dominating the current discourse on climate change.

1) From the Copenhagen Accord12 in 2009 to the New York Climate Summit in 2014 political leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to take the necessary action, informed by science15,16to “hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius”15.

2) The IPCC’s Synthesis Report reiterates their previous conclusion that Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond17.

3) The Report proposes a headline carbon budget of 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (1000 GtCO2) for the period 2011 to 2100 and for a 66% chance, or better, of remaining below a 2°C rise18.

4) Energy-only CO2 between 2011and 2014 inclusive has totalled around 140GtCO2.

5) To apportion the remaining 860 billion tonnes between the principal sources of CO2 emissions, i.e. energy, deforestation, and cement (process only), it is necessary to understand their relevant contexts. In a world genuinely committed to not exceeding the 2°C budget, it is reasonable to assume there exists a concerted effort to reduce emissions across all three emission sources.

6) Against this backdrop, deforestation and land use change emissions for 2011-2100 are based on RCP4.519, the IPCC’s most ambitious deforestation pathway to exclude net-negative land use emissions. The total deforestation budget is therefore taken as ~60GtCO2.

7) Turning to cement, whilst energy-related emissions are included here in total energy CO2, the substantial process emissions are not and so need to be considered separately. Industrialisation throughout poorer nations and the construction of low-carbon infrastructures within industrialised nations will continue to drive rapid growth in the process emissions from cement production (current ~7% p.a.20). An aggressive uptake of lower-carbon alternatives (including CCS) and more prudent use of cement could reduce some of this early growth,21,22 but in the longer term, such emissions will need to be eliminated. Provisional and highly optimistic analysis building on recent process emission trends,20,23 suggests such emissions could be constrained to around 150 GtCO2 from 2011 to their eradication later in the century.

8) Consequently, the remaining budget for energy-only emissions, for the period 2015 to 2100 and for a “likely” chance of staying below 2°C, is ~650 GtCO2.

9) The political and physical inertia of the existing system will likely see emissions continue to rise until ~2020. Assuming there is an unparalleled agreement at Paris and energy-only emissions of CO2 reach a 2020 peak of ~37 GtCO2, a little under 180 GtCO2 will have been emitted between the start of 2015 and 2020, leaving a post 2020 budget of ~470 GtCO2.

10) This would demand a dramatic reversal of current trends in energy consumption and emissions growth. Global mitigation rates would need to rapidly ratchet up to around 10% p.a. by 2025 and continue at such a rate to the virtual elimination of CO2 from the energy system by 2050.

Unpalatable repercussions
Applying simple arithmetic to the headline data within the IPCC’s Synthesis Report raises fundamental questions as to the realism of both the content and the tone of much of the reporting that followed its publication. Moreover, the failure of the scientific community to vociferously counter the portrayal of the findings as challenging but incremental suggests vested interests and the economic hegemony may be preventing scientific openness and freedom of expression.

The carbon budgets aligned with international commitments to stay below the 2°C characterization of dangerous climate change demand profound and immediate changes to how energy is both used and produced. The IPCC’s headline budget of 1,000 GtCO2, even with highly optimistic assumptions on curtailing deforestation and cement emissions, requires global reductions in energy-CO2 of at least 10% p.a. from 2025, transitioning rapidly to zero emissions by 2050. The severity of such cuts would likely exclude carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a dominant post-2050 technology. Only if the life cycle carbon emissions of CCS could be reduced by an order of magnitude from those postulated for an efficiently operating gas-CCS plant (typically around 80g CO2 per kWh24), could fossil fuels play any significant role post-2050.

Delivering on such a 2°C emission pathway cannot be reconciled with the repeated and high-level claims that in transitioning to a low-carbon energy

system “global economic growth would not be strongly affected7. Certainly it would be inappropriate to sacrifice improvements in the welfare of the global poor, including those within wealthier nations, for the sake of reducing carbon emissions. But this only puts greater pressure still on the relatively small proportion of the globe’s population with higher emissions. The strains that such 2°C mitigation puts on the framing of our lifestyles cannot be massaged away through incremental escapism. With a growing economy of 3% p.a. the reduction in carbon intensity of global GDP would need to be nearer 13% p.a.; higher still for wealthier industrialised nations, and higher yet again for those individuals with well above average carbon footprints (whether in industrial or industrialising nations).

Conclusions
The IPCC’s synthesis report and the scientific framing of the mitigation challenge in terms of carbon budgets was an important step forward. Despite this, there remains an almost global-scale cognitive dissonance with regards to acknowledging the quantitative implications of the analysis, including by many of those contributing to its development. We simply are not prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly. Instead, my long-standing engagement with many scientific colleagues, leaves me in no doubt that whilst they work diligently, often against a backdrop of organised scepticism, many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.

Explicit and quantitative carbon budgets provide a firm foundation on which policy makers and civil society can build a genuinely low-carbon society. But the job of scientists remains pivotal. It is incumbent on our community to be vigilant in guiding the policy process within the climate goals established by civil society; to draw attention to inconsistencies, misunderstandings and deliberate abuse of the scientific research. It is not our job to be politically expedient with our analysis or to curry favour with our funders. Whether our conclusions are liked or not is irrelevant. As we massage the assumptions of our analysis to fit within today’s political and economic hegemony, so we do society a grave disservice – one for which the repercussions will be irreversible.

References

1. Clark, P. Financial Times (2 November 2014). http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/26d0edc6-628e-11e4-9838-00144feabdc0.html – axzz3KxE5mP6Q

2. Carrington, D. The Guardian (2 November 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/02/rapid-carbon-emission-cuts-severe-impactclimate-change-ipcc-report

3. UN climate panel says emissions need to drop to zero this century to keep warming in check (Associated Press, 2 November 2014). http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/11/02/un-climate-panel-says-emissions-need-to-drop-to-zero-thiscentury-to-keep/

4. Hindustan Times. UN climate report offers stark warnings. Copenhagen. (Taken from Associated Press, 3 November 2014). http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/un-climate-report-offers-stark-warnings-hope/article1-1281867.aspx

5. Miller, N. The Sydney Morning Herald (4 November 2014). http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ipcc-report-little-time-left-to-act-on-climate-change-20141103-11g2er.html.

6. Jing, F. ChinaDaily: Europe (3 November 2014). http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/2014-11/03/content_18854403.htm

7. Concluding instalment of the Fifth Assessment Report. (IPCC Press Release) (2 November 2014).

8. Better Growth Better Climate synthesis report. (The New Climate Economy2014). http://newclimateeconomy.report.

9. Fuss, S. et al. Betting on negative emissions. Nature. 4. 850-853 (2014)

10. UNEP 2014. The Emissions Gap Report 2014. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi

11. IPCC AR5 Working Group III. (2014) Mitigation of Climate Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

12. Anderson, K. et al. From long-term targets to cumulative emission pathways; reframing the climate policy debate. Energy Policy 36. 3714–3722. (2008)

13. Anderson, K. & Bows, A. Beyond dangerous climate change. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. A 369, 20–44 (2011). doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0290

14. Frame, D. et al. Cumulative emissions and climate policy. Nature Geosci. 7, 692–693 (2014).

15. Report of the Conference of the Parties; fifteenth session; Copenhagen, 7 to 19 December 2009.

16. President Barroso. The L’Aquila summit; European Commission, MEMO/09/332; 10/07/2009 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-332_en.htm

17. IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report (2014); Topic 2.1. p56 and SPM 2.1. p.8.

18. IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report (2014); Table 2.2. p.64

19. RCP online database. IIASA, (2015). http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/TransitionstoNewTechnologies/RCP.en.html

20. Andrew. R. Global Carbon Project (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org) Private communication (Nov. 2014)

21. International Energy Agency (IEA). Cement Technology Road Map. (2009). https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/Cement.pdf

22. International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy Technology Perspectives. (2014)

23. West. K. International Energy Agency. Cement Road Map (2009) and Energy Technology Perspective (2014). Private communication (Feb.2015)

24. Hammond, G. et al. The energy and environmental implications of UK more electric transition pathways. Energy Policy 52 ,103–116 (2013).dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.08.071

Acknowledgements:

  • Cicero (Oslo): Glen Peters and Robbie Andrew for guidance, respectively, with the IPCC scenario database and global cement emissions
  • IEA (Paris): Kira West information related to IEA cement scenarios
  • Tyndall Centre (University of Manchester): Maria Sharmina and Jaise Kuriakose on deforestation emissions; Alice Bows-Larkin and John Broderick on carbon budgets.

Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.

Resilience is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.


Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-10-15/duality-in-climate-science

 

 

 

 

Special event for November

Sustainable Tucson is co-sponsoring a special movie at the Loft Theater – “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein.

The presentation also features a post-film panel discussion with Luis Alberto Perales of Tierra y Libertad, Bob Cook of Sustainable Tucson, and Diana Liverman of UA Institute of the Environment.

This presentation is part of Science on Screen at The Loft, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation. Movie starts at 7:00pm. Loft Theater, 3233 E. Speedway.

ENVISION TUCSON SUSTAINABLE FESTIVAL


Join us at this year’s 5th annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, October 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the YWCA, 525 Bonita Avenue. The Festival will showcase the many features of sustainable living in Tucson and our desert Southwest.

We’re very excited about the great variety of activities and exhibits at this year’s event. Over 40 exhibitors, demonstrators, and vendors will be sure to provide something for everyone.

A few of the highlights of this event:
** The Festival is the starting point for PAG Solar Partnership’s neighborhood Solar Tour.
**The Tucson Electric Vehicle Association will display a wide variety of electric vehicles
** The Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce will present this year’s Climate Leadership Challenge recognition awards.
** In recognition of National Co-op Month, the ‘Co-op Cluster’ will showcase local co-ops that use this sustainable business model.
** The Festival is the kick-off event for 10West, a weeklong celebration of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Throughout the day, local and native foods will be featured in food preparation demonstrations. Examples of solar cooking will demonstrate an exciting way to be sustainable. Visionary speakers will be looking at how we can attain the sustainable future we need and want. The Annual Green School Recognition will again honor a local school that promotes ecological education, school gardening, and related activities. This year, that award goes to Davis Bilingual Magnet School. And we’ll dedicate Phase 2 of the Festival-installed vegetable garden at the YWCA.

Admission and parking are free, or come by bike and Living Streets Alliance will provide a Bike Valet service for those who come by bike.

Come to the Festival! Explore what’s going on now in our community, get more involved, learn new skills, and share your own vision of a sustainable community.

For more information: www.envisiontucsonsustainable.org and like us on Facebook at Envision Tucson Sustainable, or contact Paula Schlusberg .

The University of Arizona now offers a new online degree program, B.S. in Sustainable Built Environments

The University of Arizona is pleased to offer an extraordinary degree opportunity for students interested in entering the new green economy. The Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments is a solutions-based, interdisciplinary undergraduate degree that educates students in the comprehensive understanding of environmental design, planning, and management challenges. Graduates are prepared for challenges to be met in a rapidly developing world with global issues of an unprecedented nature. Students in the Sustainable Buildings Emphasis Area gain insight on the theories and techniques behind analyzing building efficiency. They will study topics such as: net-zero energy design, energy conservation, passive solar and natural ventilation, and climate response. Graduates will be able to analyze existing and planned structures for energy efficiency and create plans to make them more efficient.

Apply online now for Fall 2015 at UAOnline — See also: Sustainable Built Environments

Want to support rooftop solar and fight climate change? You’re invited!

Join Sustainable Tucson, Sierra Club, and Tierra Y Libertad Organization to support solar and fight coal!

Help us plan a media event and rally in front of Tucson Electric Power (TEP) headquarters to tell TEP to stop attacking rooftop solar and to divest from the San Juan coal plant.

What: Planning meeting for future media event and rally in front of TEP’s downtown headquarters
When: Monday, July 13, 5:30-8 pm
Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.
Where: Joel D. Valdez Main Library, lower level meeting room
101 N. Stone
Parking: free — lower level off Alameda St.
Bike/Transit: Walk two blocks east from the Ronstadt Transit Center, just north of new protected bike path on Stone Ave.

Join us! Free and open to the public! For more information, contact:
dan.millis@sierraclub.org – (520) 620-6401
-or-
hello@sustainabletucson.org

Our goals are:

1) Force TEP to retract the June 1, 2015 ‘grandfathering’ date for new rooftop solar customers (net metering)

-and-

2) Force TEP to divest their stake in the polluting, out-of-state San Juan coal plant.

At this Planning Meeting, we will review the issues, create effective messaging for the rally and for a media campaign leading up to the event, and plan the logistics for the rally.

Background:

This spring, TEP submitted a plan to state regulators that would end net metering, the process that allows rooftop solar customers to receive fair credit for all of the energy their solar panels produce. New solar customers after June 1, 2015 would no longer be able to ‘bank’ the solar energy produced by their panels and use it later. This proposal was unfair and was opposed by many Tucsonans, and TEP withdrew most of their proposal. However, TEP told state regulators that they intend to submit the proposal again in 2016, keeping the June 1, 2015 ‘grandfathering’ date. The result is that between now and the end of 2016, when a decision is scheduled to be made, new solar customers won’t be able to make an informed decision about how much solar to install. Most potential customers will choose to defer on solar. As a result, local solar companies will lose business and Tucson will lose clean energy jobs.

TEP has been attacking rooftop solar while staying invested in a costly, polluting coal plant in New Mexico called the San Juan Generating Station. Operators of this greenhouse gas-producing plant have come up with a plan for partial closure, keeping part of it running. Many investors, utilities, and municipalities walked away from the deal when it was revealed that continued operations at San Juan would cost about $1 billion more than anticipated. TEP, on the other hand, plans to continue to generate about 15% of Tucson’s electricity from the San Juan plant’s dirty coal. Help us promote a better plan!

Rooftop Solar Update

The ACC has received well over 400 letters opposing TEP’s proposal to charge an extra fee (read “penalty”) to owners who install new rooftop solar systems, and at the hearing in Tucson on June 10, ACC staff recommended that any consideration of that fee take place in the context of a full rate hearing. The judge will make a recommendation to the Commission, which will then consider how to proceed. See article in the Arizona Daily Star

In the meantime, please continue to send letters or emails to the 5 commissioners opposing the TEP fee proposal and supporting expansion of rooftop solar. Information and guidelines can be found on the Sustainable Tucson website
For even more information, or if you prefer to submit comments on line, you can also go to the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter website:

Join Sustainable Tucson and the US Green Building Council-Sonoran Branch

What does LEED Platinum housing look like? What’s being done to help the growing numbers of grandparents raising their grandkids? Join Sustainable Tucson and the US Green Building Council-Sonoran Branch for a tour of Primavera Foundation’s Las Abuelitas Family Housing. The tour will be led by Savannah McDonald, of Poster Frost Mirto, Inc., the architects of the project.

The event is free but space is limited so pre-registration is required – and spaces for the tour are going fast. Go to the event page to register.

-A mixer with summer heat-quenching Aguas Frescas served by Dish-for-Dosha will follow the tour. –

When: June 18, 2015
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: Las Abuelitas Family Housing
440 E. 26th St., Tucson, AZ

Tour is now full. Please join us for the mixer at Las Abuelitas Community Room.

Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment

Our built environment — housing, public facilities, commercial buildings — is vital to sustainability in our cities and towns. But what goes into making that built environment sustainable? What makes a building “green”? How does a building qualify for LEED certification? And what does LEED certification mean?

Beyond these technical questions, we want to examine broader social and environmental issues relating to our built environment. Can sustainable buildings, for example, affect our health? How can multi-family or low-income housing be made “green”? And even, can energy-efficient buildings impact climate change?

Join us at the next Sustainable Tucson meeting for an exploration of these and related issues, at the first event in a collaboration between the Sonoran Branch of US Green Building Council – Arizona and Sustainable Tucson on “Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment.”

At this first event, the Sonoran Branch of USGBC-Arizona will present a panel discussion addressing local, sustainable buildings and green certification systems. The panel will offer perspectives from professionals in several fields within the residential and commercial building industries.

Richard Franz-Under, Green Building Program Manager for Pima County Development Services and a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional, will moderate the panel. The panel will feature:
• Nicole Brule-Fisher: a Realtor with RE/MAX Trends and President of Tucson Association of Realtors; the first Tucson Realtor to become a certified Eco-Broker and the first to become a National Association of Realtors GREEN designee
• Andrew Hayes: working with Hayes Construction, a custom home building company that provides earth-friendly practices in its projects and incorporates no-cost solutions to make homes more energy efficient
• Thomas C. Mannschreck: president, CEO, and owner of Thomas Development Co., a Boise, Idaho-based real-estate development company, and of Thomas Investments Limited Partnership, a family-held, real-estate investment entity; through Thomas Development Co., developer of four LEED Platinum multi-family housing projects for low-income seniors and families
• Rob Paulus: an architect, developer, and musician; founded Rob Paulus Architects to create unique, award winning, and regionally-specific architecture; active in promoting high quality design with appropriate density for our community.

Check out a recent Arizona Daily Star article on Tucson Association of Realtor and Sustainability.

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

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,
101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

……………………………………………………..
The second event in “Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment” will be a free tour on June 18 of Primavera Foundation’s Las Abuelitas Family Housing, a LEED Platinum project by Poster Frost Mirto Architects that provides housing for low-income grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. A mixer will follow the tour.
For more information about the tour, please visit the event listing http://www.usgbcaz.org/event-1920945. Space will be limited for the tour, so registration (available at the event listing) is required.

Lessons from Sustainable Urban Design: Films and Discussion

As activist citizens, we have been working towards sustainability in many ways, particularly looking at issues impacting life in our city, including the work of the Broadway Coalition featured at last month’s General Meeting.

This month, we’ll carry on the discussion started by that examination of the Broadway Corridor, by looking at some positive examples of steps that various cities have taken to create more sustainable and livable communities — plus one less-than-positive example. After viewing film segments showing what has been done around the world, we’ll open the discussion to consider whether any of those steps are happening also in Tucson, and whether they could — and should — happen here.

Linda Samuels from the UA’s Sustainable Cities project will join us for this community discussion.

The selection of film segments will feature:
• Bogota, Colombia
• Copenhagen, Denmark
• New York City’s High Line
• Jane Jacobs
• Phoenix, Arizona
• Singapore
• Curitiba, Brazil
• Portland, Oregon & City Repair

Join us for this look at some exciting urban alternatives and continue the conversation of what we can do to create changes that we want to see in our city.

Location: Downtown Main Library, lower level meeting room.
Doors open at 5:30. Program starts promptly at 6:00.

Broadway Coalition Vision: Let’s Make the Broadway Project Sustainable Now!

Please ACT NOW: Email your objections to the City’s Broadway Plan. Here is a model letter with email addresses by Broadway Coalition member Laura Tabili to help list the community’s concerns.

“Broadway Corridor Plan Aims to Demolish 37 Tucson Buildings” reads the Arizona Daily Star lead headline from Feb.24th. City of Tucson staff and consultants are proposing an alignment of the 2-mile project that contains unjustified widths and unnecessarily destroys historic buildings and businesses. Also troubling, this staff plan varies from what elected city leaders have voiced is their preference — the most narrow solution for six lanes which meets the safety concerns for all modes of mobility.

Many people in Greater Tucson are asking, “Why are we widening roads that don’t need it, especially when our existing roads are in such a state of disrepair? ” “Why not eliminate potholes, rather than small businesses!”

The sustainability community is asking, “Why is the City promoting a wide, car-oriented design when future trends indicate accommodation to more “people and place”centered mobility and low carbon living?” If Tucson is going to actually respond to the challenges of global warming and climate change, don’t we also have to build a “climate-friendly” transportation system?

Clearly, an irreversible Tucson Tragedy is in the making if we don’t act soon.

Come hear members of the Broadway Coalition describe their vision for the Historic Broadway Redesign Project including improvements for bicyclists, pedestrians, autos, and transit riders and creating vibrant places where people want to go to meet, shop, and enjoy life. Hear the Coalition rally the community to communicate to the City of Tucson that very little widening if any is necessary to make Historic Broadway the next great destination of historic significance and thriving small businesses.

The Coalition has already convinced the City, County, and RTA that 8 lanes is excessive. Now we just need to show that the narrowest width alignment is best for all.

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

We hope to see you all there.

To read the City Staff report and alignment maps, go to: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/broadway

The deadline for public comment on this alignment is midnight, March 11, 2015. Send comments to:

Email to broadway@tucsonaz.gov by midnight, March 11,

Hand-delivered hard-copy to the address below by 5pm on March 11, 2015

By postal mail to the address below – must be postmarked by March 9, 2015. Address to use:  Tucson Department of Transportation, 201 N. Stone Ave, 6th Floor, Tucson, AZ  85701

Monday, March 9th, 5:30 – 8:00
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room
101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Response to assertions made about energy’s costs, systems

Response to assertions made about energy’s costs, systems

By Carmine Tilghman

Special to the Arizona Daily Star, January 29, 2015

 

Evidence of Tucson Electric Power’s commitment to renewable energy isn’t hard to find.

Visit the Solar Zone at the University of Arizona Tech Park, where solar projects built from competing technologies cover 165 acres and produce a combined 23 megawatts of energy for TEP. Drive northwest to Avra Valley, where two giant solar arrays produce a combined 60 MW for TEP. Or head south to Green Valley, where a new 35-MW solar array serving TEP customers came online in December.

 

You could also simply visit your local government office, since TEP provides both the city of Tucson and Pima County with energy from local solar arrays through our Bright Tucson Community Solar Program.

 

These and other resources provide TEP with nearly 330 MW of total renewable generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of more than 71,000 homes. We’re also unveiling a pair of innovative projects this year that represent new ways to partner with our customers to achieve our community’s renewable energy objectives.

 

Next month, we’ll unveil the largest solar power system based on a U.S. military installation, a nearly 18-MW array at Fort Huachuca. Later this year, we’ll install solar arrays on up to 600 local homes through the new TEP residential solar program.

 

Like all of our solar power projects, these two new efforts are designed to expand our resources without imposing undue costs on our customers.

 

While we all look forward to the day when all of our power can come from the sun, TEP must ensure that electric service remains affordable, reliable and safe as we transition to newer, more sustainable resources.

 

We must also abide by economic realities and proven facts, including the higher cost and lower reliability of solar power.

 

Such concerns do not burden everyone who takes an interest in energy issues. Last week, a Terry Finefrock (“Economic development: Start with a Tucson microgrid,” Jan. 23) offered a series of misleading assertions about energy costs and issues.

 

I’d like to provide some clarity on a few key points.

 

* The energy costs and related assertions were inaccurate, in part because the author cited the projected cost of new facilities rather than actual costs. TEP’s existing coal resources produced power at about 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2014 — not 12.5 cents, as the author claimed.

* Cost comparisons of renewable and conventional resources must account for the fact that renewables operate intermittently, requiring the ongoing support of other utility resources. When those additional costs are considered — as they must be — renewable power is shown to be far more expensive than other resources.

* Energy-storage systems are not yet capable or cost-effective enough to provide an alternative to the constant support and backup capabilities of a utility’s local electric grid.

 

In urging local governments to develop their own solar power and energy storage resources, the author seeks to subject taxpayers to steep capital expenses as well as significantly higher energy costs.

 

Because private solar power systems often reduce customers’ bills below the cost TEP incurs to serve them, these unpaid costs must be recovered through higher rates borne largely by customers without solar power systems.

 

If local governments sought to secure all of their power through third-party renewable resources, as Finefrock suggests, they would remain dependent on TEP’s local grid while shifting the cost of paying for it to other local residents — the very people whose interests they seek to serve.

 

No responsible public servant would advocate such a position, and neither would we.

 

I’m proud of TEP’s efforts to provide affordable solar energy solutions for our community.

 

We will continue to work with local leaders under the oversight of the Arizona Corporation Commission to provide innovative, cost-effective programs that serve our customers’ evolving energy needs.

 

Carmine Tilghman is senior director of wholesale, fuels and renewable energy for Tucson Electric Power. Contact him at ctilghman@tep.com

 

 

 

An Energy Partnership / Climate Solution for Tucson?

 


OOOOOOOOOO

(Note Special LOCATION, DATE, & TIME)
February 18th     
6:30pm to 8:30pm
University of Arizona, Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), Room 103

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Do you know that the production of electricity in Tucson accounts for over 60% of Tucson’s climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions?

Imagine the City of Tucson joined in a “clean energy partnership” with Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas, sharing a goal to reduce greenhouse gases in our region 80% by 2050 and “do our part” to stem the worst effects of global warming. Imagine the local jobs created in the solar industry, energy storage and clean mobility, energy efficiency, building retrofits and appro-priate design.

Imagine the partnership is made up of high-level representatives of TEP and SWG as well as from the Mayor’s office and City Council – with the Board be made up of decision-makers from their respective organizations.

Just such a partnership has already begun in Minnesota between the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy (their electricity provider) and CenterPoint Energy (their natural gas supplier).

Sustainable Tucson and other Co-sponsors are bringing John Farrell, policy director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and one of the participants in this first-in-the-nation partnership, to tell the story about how this came to be and what the future holds for Minneapolis.

Join us the evening of Feb.18th to learn about this important turn in City/Utility relationships and to show support for climate solutions here in Tucson.  In preparation, watch John make the economic case for solar energy in Tucson:

http://ilsr.org/utilities-solar-expensive/

Help bring John to Tucson.

Contributions to Sustainable Tucson are tax deductible and can be made through our fiscal sponsor, NEST Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, and by using the Donate Now button on the left of this page.

If you are more of a time volunteer, we are looking for partners to table at outreach events like the Peace Fair, and participate in our annual Envision Tucson Sustainable festival. For helpful opportunities to create a more Sustainable Tucson contact: Paula Schlusberg at paulasch@mindspring.com

Doors open at 6:30. Program starts at 7:00.

Co-sponsors to date:

Local First Arizona

Tucson Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission

City of Tucson Ward 3 Councilmember Karin Uhlich

Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce

University of Arizona Office of Sustainability

University of Arizona Students for Sustainability

Sierra Club

Mrs. Green’s World

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Progressive Democrats of America

Center for Biological Diversity

Southern Arizona Green for All

Citizens Climate Lobby – Tucson Chapter

 

Click on the link below and print the following image as a flyer. PLEASE distribute this link and flyer widely:

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2015/02/february-18th-st-meeting-flyer/

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For parking, see the  UA parking map at this link: https://parking.arizona.edu/pdf/maps/campus.pdf


 

Economic development: Start with a Tucson metropolitan microgrid

Economic development: Start with a Tucson metropolitan microgrid

By Terry Finefrock Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

January 23, 2015

There is great potential that electricity costs could be reduced, increases avoided, system reliability improved and recurring economic benefits provided by establishing utility-scale photovoltaic solar electric facilities within and adjacent to the Tucson distribution grid.

By using rapidly developing energy storage equipment on feeder circuits we can manage fluctuations in demand or supply, essentially creating a metropolitan microgrid.

Why is this move to multiple solar facilities dispersed around the area so important?

The cost of electricity has a great impact on our economy and all residents, businesses, ratepayers and taxpayers, especially those with little or no discretionary income. Energy, like water, is not a discretionary expenditure.

Conventional fossil-fueled generation of electricity via coal or natural gas simply costs more than solar electric generation technology. Here are just two examples why: “Freight” costs for transmission infrastructure account for about 10 percent of an electric bill; another 3 percent pays for the energy lost during transmission requiring incremental generation costs and surcharges.

Additionally, there are environmental costs. Coal combustion emits carbon and natural gas mining emits methane. Both emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, result in higher average temperatures, greater energy consumption and costs, and less local precipitation.

Methane is cleaner than coal but traps 26 times more heat than coal/carbon.

Generation of electricity via steam and turbines loses to evaporation billions of gallons of potable water each year.

That water, so precious now, will be even more so in the future. As David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, has stated, the cost to develop alternative water sources is 10 to 50 times more than the cost of current sources. Not only will future water bills rise, but so will the cost of food crops.

I believe we should not continue to incur the operational expenses of obsolete technology such as coal-fired plants or attempt to upgrade and prolong their life for a short period of time.

Instead, I’m advocating that ratepayer revenues should be invested in new technology that avoids these expenses.

By accelerating the reduction and displacement of conventional generation with solar and energy storage, we minimize those costs and allow continued harvesting of prior investments until those assets are fully depreciated.

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Tucson Electric Power’s 2014 cost to generate electricity via pulverized coal is 12.5 cents/kWh; the least costly generation technology is 8.8 cent/kwh; rapid-response generation, used to balance supply and demand, ranges from 26 to 29 cents/kWh.

Local utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities can be established at less than 5 cents/kWh, and incur no fuel, emissions, water or transmission-related costs. Pima County recently contracted solar facilities at a much smaller scale for 5.7 cents/kWh.

Considering conservatively projected annual increases in utility costs, satisfying their electricity requirements via self-generation could reduce the county’s operational costs by $663 million over 30 years. Since the city of Tucson uses about twice as much energy as the county, the combined savings would total about $2 billion over that time period. (That would fill a lot of potholes or pension funds).

Federal energy-program funding for a metro microgrid could be acquired; local governments could provide zero-cost leases of public land in exchange for fixed energy prices.

In addition to electricity cost reductions, the demand for the equipment would help our economic development organizations to entice higher-wage manufacturers and solar-system providers to locate here and supply the Western U.S. and Mexico who are implementing a renewable energy mandate. The resulting population growth would increase property values, local and export trade and the various tax revenues required for community improvements.

If you believe a private-public partnership to implement some form of these concepts has merit, contact your Tucson City Council (government.tucsonaz.gov/city-government) and Pima County Board of Supervisors (webcms.pima.gov/government/board_of_supervisors), and ask that they establish a project team to work with TEP, the Arizona Corporation Commission, Residential Utility Consumer Office, and our Arizona congresspersons to make this happen.

Terry Finefrock, a Tucson resident since 1956 and a graduate of the University of Arizona and the Eller Graduate School of Management, is a former high-technology manufacturing operations and supply chain director. He has provided testimony and comment to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Contact him at tlfinefrock@comcast.net

 

The Yes Men Are Revolting – Sunday Jan 4 at the Loft

at The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Boulevard, Tucson AZ 85716

Start the New Year Right: Gear Up to Fight Climate Change!

The Yes Men Are Revolting

On Sunday, January 4 at 1:00 p.m., Sustainable Tucson will partner with the Loft for a special preview screening of The Yes Men Are Revolting, with the duo of pranksters tackling the urgent issue of climate change. Join us for a comic and thought-provoking film, followed by Q&A with Yes Man and co-director Andy Bichlbaum. Stop by the Sustainable Tucson table before the film and learn more about what’s happening in Tucson to fight climate change and promote a sustainable future, including details about our next General Meeting. Physicians for Social Responsibility will also partner for this event.

Click here for information about the film: http://loftcinema.com/film/the-yes-men-are-revolting/

Continue reading below for more perspectives on climate change and climate action.

A PUBLIC BANK FOR ARIZONA?

 A PUBLIC BANK FOR ARIZONA?

 

How public banking can build Arizona’s

economy and benefit Arizona’s citizens.

Monday, December 8, 2014, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

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

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

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Following the Wall Street crash and the housing market collapse a few years ago, the Move Your Money campaign encouraged millions of Americans to take their money out of big commercial banks and hold the funds locally in credit unions and community banks.  In 2013, the Tucson City Council emulated the Move Our Money campaign by moving $5 million of the City’s rainy day fund from a big commercial bank to a community bank to encourage local business development–an action that spurred $9 million in loans to 16 local small businesses.  In May, 2014, the City Finance Department reported to the Mayor and Council that the program could be expanded to $10M.

Across the U.S., millions of dollars of taxpayer funds are held in big commercial banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and invested on Wall Street.  What if Arizona had a state-owned public bank—similar to the one in North Dakota—and the state’s rainy day funds were held and invested in Arizona?

Local investment of state funds would translate into jobs and a stronger economy…How? An Arizona public bank could create jobs by investing in public works projects; could boost entrepreneurship by backing small business loans through community banks; could build our state’s future by helping finance college loans—and much more.

Isn’t it time that Arizona invested in Arizona—instead of Wall Street?

Here are a few reasons why Arizona could use a public bank:

  • Arizona has a crumbling infrastructure and “no money” to fix roads, bridges, and public buildings.
  • Arizona’s entrepreneurs can’t get the capital they need to grow and innovate.
  • Cities and towns are strapped for cash and have to sell bonds and pay high fees in order to get credit.
  • Arizona has the 3rd lowest credit rating in the U.S., making borrowing extremely expensive.
  • Arizona is among the 10 worst states in the country for home foreclosures.
  • 10 Arizona banks have failed in the last few years.
  • University tuition continues to increase, pricing young Arizonans out of the market for higher education.

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Come to our next Sustainable Tucson public meeting on December 8, 2014 to learn more about alternative economic strategies such as public banking from our four presenters:

Jim Hannley and Pamela Powers Hannley, newly appointed co-directors of Arizonans for a New Economy, will discuss the benefits of public banking and what it would take to create a public bank in our state.

Silvia Amparano, City of Tucson Finance Director – Speaking about the Community Banking Program

Phil Lopes, Legislative District 27 – Addressing legislative strategies for a state-owned bank

Someone from Karin Uhlich’s Ward 3 office has been invited to give us background and updates on the moving of $5M of Tucson’s rainy-day fund into an Arizona-based community bank and how that helped fund 16 small, local businesses.

 

Last chance for meaningful climate change mitigation? – City-Utility Partnerships

The most recent Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2012) for our region has recently been released, showing a slight decrease since its peak in 2010. Nationally, this same trend is attributed to reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in energy efficiencies, reduction in travel and yearly fluctuation in prevailing weather conditions. For the Tucson region the two largest sources of GHG emissions are Electricity (63%) and Gasoline (22%).

Meanwhile, the latest AR5 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is endorsing a “carbon budget” or limit to how much carbon can be put into the atmosphere. Given current rates of fossil fuel burning, we will burn through that budget by 2040. And even if we do transition to a zero-carbon culture by that time we will only have a 50/50 chance of stabilizing a 2 degree C rise in temperatures.

To date the planet is experiencing less than a 1 degree rise, producing changes outside “normal” including increasing temperatures, decreasing water supply, increasing health and social problems, increasing intensity of wildfires and flooding, and greater demands on our infrastructure including electricity production and mobility. If we put 2 and 2 together, the climate change picture is definitely not pretty – the challenge huge and “solution” – imperative.

Minneapolis just reached a milestone agreement to partner with their electricity utility to reach their goals to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/10/17/minneapolis-utility-fight-ends-with-unique-clean-energy-deal/

Could Tucson do the same? What would it take? Where will leadership come from?

Join Sustainable Tucson’s public meeting to find out more about the latest GHG inventory and the potential to leave future Tucsonans with a habitable climate and sustainable future.

Speakers will include:

Suzanne Cotty, Senior Air Quality Planner and report author

Tucson Electric Power Co representative: invited

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s November 10th meeting to find out more.

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

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

 

LET’S TALK TRASH (Rescheduled)

From Garbage to Gold: Turning Organic “Waste” Into a Valuable Resource

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

  • Compost is a good alternative to chemical fertilizers…It doesn’t pollute groundwater, wells, or waterways.
  • Compost keeps organic materials out of landfills, reducing methane gas emissions.
  • Compost sequesters carbon deep in the soil.
  • Compost promotes healthy microbial activity in the soil, providing micro-nutrients to plant roots and discouraging soil diseases.
  • Compost improves soil structure, thereby protecting topsoil from erosion.
  • Compost helps soil retain more rainwater.
  • Compost helps grow plants rich with nutrients that sustain good health.
  • Compost manufacturing supports green jobs.
  • Composting is easy and it’s satisfying.
  • Composting turns food scraps into new food!

Come to our next Sustainable Tucson general meeting on October 13, 2014 to learn more about composting from our four presenters:

CHET PHILLIPS, Project Director of the UA Compost Cats, will talk about their innovative student-run program, in which they collaborate with the City of Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo, and the San Xavier Co-op Farm to turn more than 1.5 million pounds of food waste into a valuable agricultural resource.  In 2013, Compost Cats received the Recycler of the Year Award from the Arizona Recycling Coalition.

EMILY ROCKEY, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fairfax Companies, which includes Tank’s Green Stuff, will tell us about their large-scale composting operations.  Tank’s Green Stuff rescues local plant material that would otherwise be considered “waste” and transforms it into something valuable: a rich, water saving, nutrient filled organic compost.

LINDA LEIGH, Co-owner with partner Doug Shepherd of Vermillion Wormery, will talk about the use of worms for composting, aka vermicomposting, to achieve their goal of zero organic waste.  They partner with restaurants and friends, taking kitchen scraps and feeding them to earthworms to produce a beautiful, full-of-life soil amendment called vermicast.

JOY HOLDREAD, Proprietor and resident of Joy’s Happy Garden, will be sharing with us her creative low-cost, low-water, low-labor composting strategies for sustainable desert living.  Her goal to encourage folks to compost, reduce waste, and conserve water locally is a great plan for a more sustainable Tucson.  Joy is a passive-aggressive desert gardener!

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PLEASE NOTE:  Because of the number of presenters, we are starting earlier than usual this month.  Doors will open at 5:00 pm and the program will start promptly at 5:30 pm.
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Support the Broadway Coalition Petition Drive

NOTE: This petition is an initiative of the Broadway Coalition which is solely responsible for processing and managing the results. Sustainable Tucson hosts this online petition drive as a community service.

[gravityform id=8 name=Please sign petition here title=true description=true]

We want a thriving, vibrant Broadway Boulevard that is a destination for all of Tucson.

Local, regional and out-of-town residents flock to this unique cultural asset for delicious Best-of-Tucson cuisine and quirky boutiques found only there, as well as for services that locals rely on every day. Currently, this street boasts 287 businesses generating over $4 million in sales and real estate tax revenues, nearly all of them in historic or architecturally significant buildings.  And in addition to the sense of place, the mid-century modern architecture and design generates $1.5 million tourist dollars annually.  Excessive widening of the road puts all of these assets in danger. International transportation expert Jarrett Walker recently said in Tucson that widening Broadway would be “economically ruinous.”

Therefore, we call on you, our elected officials, to select an alternative for Broadway that:

– protects the economic vitality of the hundreds of existing small businesses along Broadway and provides safe, convenient access to them;

– promotes accessible, efficient use of public transit and other alternative modes of transportation, giving particular attention to pedestrian and bicycle activity and safety;

– promotes a safe and pleasant envirionment for all users–pedestrians, cyclists, transit and wheelchair users, as well as cars;

– continues to offer residents in the area a range of services and amenities while preserving and enhancing the connectedness and quality of life of surrounding neighborhoods and residents;

– is environmentally sustainable;

– incorporates innovative approaches to transportation that recognize changing public attitudes and behaviors; and

– is a fiscally sound, affordable approach that recognizes that people are driving less (travel on this stretch of Broadway is down over 15% from 2010) and doesn’t waste $74 million on excess roadway capacity.

Cities of the US and abroad are realizing the benefits of renovating their urban cores on a more human scale and are moving away from car-centric designs. Cities that are human scaled promote community. The Sunshine Mile could become this human-scaled neighborly place. The foundation is already there.

I therefore petition the Tucson Mayor and Council members to select a design alternative that locates all improvements substantially within a 96-foot crosswidth (which City staff has stated can be done), or less where possible, so that Central Broadway can regain its role as a great, attractive, historic Tucson destination with an enhanced sense of place while safely supporting all modes of mobility so that Central Broadway can regain its role as a great, attractive, historic Tucson destination with an enhanced sense of place safely supporting all modes of mobility.

Special AUGUST 18th Meeting — Thomas Greco Presents: HOW CAN TUCSON THRIVE?

 

Monday, August 18, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone

(free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

HOW CAN TUCSON THRIVE IN THE FACE OF ONGOING ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MALAISE?

WHAT AILS OUR TUCSON ECONOMY?

HOW CAN TUCSON THRIVE IN THE FACE OF ONGOING ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MALAISE?

WHAT CAN LOCAL BUSINESSES DO TO HELP THEMSELVES?

These are a few of the questions that will be addressed by Thomas H. Greco, Jr., renowned economist, author, and lecturer in his presentation:

BUILDNG HEALTHY COMMUNITIES IN THE NEW ECONOMY!

“As the national and global institutions break down, it is becoming increasingly important to re-localize our economic activity and work to make our communities more self-reliant and resilient.”

Mr. Greco’s presentation will highlight the crucial importance of creating local liquidity based on local production. He asserts that “Banks no longer do much to provide essential credit to local small and medium-sized businesses, and when they do, the terms are onerous, requiring collateral, burdensome repayment schedules, and high rates of interest.” He will describe the processes by which the credit of local producers can be mobilized to provide them with the means of payment that are abundant, reliable, locally controlled, and at a fraction of today’s costs.

Learn how communities around the world have started to monetize the value of local production and creativity to “pump the blood of commerce to all parts of the economic body.”

Tom will help us explore the opportunities and issues involved in creating our own exchange media and complementary currencies; discussing for example: “What would it look like, how would it be created, earned, managed and recycled, what are the relevant metrics, how will it be funded, and how do all of the pieces fit together?

WHEN: Monday, August 18, 6pm-8pm (Doors open at 5:30)

WHERE: Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone Ave., Tucson

Tom’s Websites: www.beyondmoney.net; www.reinventingmoney.com

Inquiries: Norman Soifer. 326-6792. norman@re-energizers.com

 

 

Summer Movie Night: Inequality for All

[NOTE EARLIER START TIME: 5:00 pm]

We don’t need to be expert economists to recognize the dramatic disparity in wealth between the rich and, well, everyone else. Since the 1970s, the gap between rich and poor has steadily widened, exacerbated by the recent financial crisis but tracing its roots to policies put in place several decades ago.   How can we better understand those policies and their impact, to better prepare ourselves as advocates and fighters for change?

Join us for a thought-provoking meeting, with a showing of the film Inequality for All, featuring Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and now a professor at UC Berkeley.  Prof. Reich examines the widening income inequality in the US, exploring not just its impact on the US economy and threat to the American middle class, but even its disruption of life in the country overall.

Please Note: Because of the length of the movie, we are starting earlier than usual this month.  Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the program will start promptly at 5:30 p.m.

“We make the rules of the economy – and we have the power to change those rules.” – Robert Reich

As always the meeting is at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Inequality for all trailer

ST July Mtg — Tucson CAN Have Abundant Urban Food Production

Tucson CAN Have Abundant Urban Food Production

Monday, July 14, 5:30-8:00 pm

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone

(free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Urban agriculture is becoming much more common — in many forms, not just backyard gardens. Voters of Tucson recently adopted a General Plan that endorses urban food production, and City of Tucson is developing a Sustainability Land Use Code that supports urban agriculture, while still maintaining appropriate nuisance and noise regulations. We need urban food production (including distribution/sale) to flourish, legally, in Tucson  — as it has in so many urban areas around the country and around the world.

 

Many things will need to happen to bring this about, but at least one important thing is for City regulations to allow it to happen. For example, under current codes, up to 24 chickens are allowed almost anywhere — as long as your lot is over 100’ in all directions (very rare within the city). Over the past few years, much work has been done to develop appropriate regulations, with numerous opportunities for public input. But now, because of misunderstandings, the whole process may get dropped, leaving the city with its current, restrictive and/or confusing regulations.

 

Tucson needs pro-food-production regulations and a vision of a community with an abundant, flourishing local food system. The July Sustainable Tucson meeting will provide an opportunity to join the discussion of that vision and what is needed to make it happen.

 

The program will begin with short videos showing some ideas of what has succeeded in other cities — and could be possible here. Then, Merrill Eisenberg, retired professor, UA College of Public Health, will provide a brief overview that summarizes work to this point and contrasts current and proposed regulations. We will then discuss how to get appropriate regulations passed and how to promote a community vision for creating a secure and sustainable local food supply for Tucson.

 

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s July 14th meeting and be part of the discussion.

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

Tucson Talks Transit – with Jarrett Walker – July 11

at Tucson Electric Power Company, 88 East Broadway, Downtown Tucson AZ (two blocks south of Ronstadt Transit Center)

Tucson Talks Transit – with Jarrett Walker

Friday, July 11, 2014
5:00 p.m. Sign-in and Reception
6:00 p.m. FREE Public Presentation

Jarrett Walker, the preeminent transit planner and transit thinker, will visit Tucson for a town hall the evening of Friday, July 11.

Jarrett Walker is renowned as a public transportation planner and consultant, leader of major transit planning projects around the world, and facilitator of community dialogue. He is author of the book Human Transit: How clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives and the blog HumanTransit.org

For more info contact Suzanne, 520-289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com

also download the print flyer – Jarrett Walker 2014-07-11 Tucson Flyer (english & espanol)

 


 

Tucson Habla Sobre El Transporte – con Jarrett Walker

Viernes 11 de Julio del 2014
5:00 p.m. Registración y Recepción
6:00 p.m. Presentación Pública GRATUITA

Está invitado al diálogo con Jarrett Walker, planeador, pensador y escritor del tránsito, el viernes 11 de Julio.

Jarrett Walker se reconoce mundialmente como consultante y diseñador de transporte público, líder de grandes proyectos de planeación, y facilitador de diálogo comunitario. Es autor del libro Human Transit: How clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives y el blog HumanTransit.org

Tucson Electric Power Company
88 East Broadway en el Centro de la ciudad de Tucson
(a dos cuadras al sur del Centro de Tránsito Ronstadt)

Si tiene preguntas contacte a Suzanne, 520-289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com

also download the print flyer – Jarrett Walker 2014-07-11 Tucson Flyer (english & espanol)

ST June Meeting – BUILDING RESILIENT NEIGHBORHOODS: Eco-villages and Social Cohesion

BUILDING RESILIENT NEIGHBORHOODS:

Eco-villages and Social Cohesion

Monday, June 9, 2014, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

With climate change increasing the likelihood of heat waves, flooding and other emergencies that may overwhelm first responders, and when “sheltering in place” becomes the default response, will your neighborhood be a caring and sharing place? Do you have a neighborhood association or group projects?

What is the level of trust on your street? How meaningful are conversations with your neighbors? Do you recognize your neighbors? Are they trustworthy? Do they keep to themselves?

Whether at an Eco-village start-up in Avra Valley, or an Tucson urban neighborhood the challenges and opportunities are great.

Join Sustainable Tucson’s public meeting to explore the value of community cohesion. It may move you to organize where you live.

Speakers will include:

David Burley, organizer at Tortillita Eco-village, Avra Valley. This rural effort to create community can teach us much about starting from scratch including the fundamentals of sharing water and gardening.

Joanie Sawyer, teacher and community activist, past City of Tucson PRO neighborhoods facilitator, Sustainable Tucson core team founder.

Michael Ray, Limberlost Neighborhood Association, President; Inventor and owner of Nurse Tree Arch, LC3.

Both Joanie and Michael are members of the Vulnerable Communities and Neighborhoods Task Force, 2014 (an outcome of the 2013 Climate Smart Southwest national conference).

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s June 9th meeting to find out more.

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