WHAT’S UP WITH THE PROPOSED ROSEMONT MINE?

Sustainable Tucson’s October meeting

Sustainable Tucson’s October meeting

 

6:00 – 8:00 PM, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018

(Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Tucson City Council Ward 6

3202 East 1st Street · Tucson, AZ

If you’ve been looking at the newspaper recently, you will have seen an op-ed from the Tucson Chamber of Commerce saying that it is time for us all to stop “fighting” and for the Rosemont mine to start. That was followed by a number of letters to the editor that clearly explained why the mine is a really bad deal for southern Arizona.

In this talk Gayle Hartmann, president of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, will bring you up to date on what is happening and what is likely to happen in the near future. We’ll also screen a documentary about the Rosemont Mine by Frances Causey: “Ours Is The Land” is the new short film that depicts in moving and powerful detail the spiritual, cultural, and physical connection of the Tohono O’odham people of Arizona to Ce:wi Duag or the Santa Rita Mountains which are imperiled by the proposed creation of the mile-wide, half-mile deep Rosemont open pit copper mine. Desecrating this revered area with a mine would fundamentally alter the cultural landscape of the Tohono O’odham nation.

 

Sustainable Tucson at TENWEST!

At 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 14th, look for our tents at Discover Local Day in the Tucson Museum of Art Courtyard. “Discover Local Sustainability” Fun activities for all ages that show how our desert town can flourish in the future. Activities include:

  1. “Design your Neighborhood”: Create a walkable, inviting neighborhood from a typical Tucson neighborhood map using movable pieces that represent elements of complete streets. (Model built by Changemaker High School students.)
  2.  “Planning Tucson’s Future”: Draw your ideas of what we can do now to make Tucson a great place to live in 2038.
  3. “Understanding Our Groundwater”: Nothing is more important in the desert than water and the water we use in Tucson comes from underground. Understand how this works with an interactive groundwater model from Arizona Project Wet.
  4. “Note to the Future” letter-writing activity. Adult participants will be prompted to write a letter to a young person to be read 20 years from now, and young people will be prompted to write to a parent or other elder, looking ahead 20 years.
  5. “Tales of the Future”: Attendees will be inspired to tell their own 2-3 minute stories on their vision for a sustainable future for Tucson. The show will be hosted by local comedian Jeremy Segal.

 

TACTICAL URBANISM BLOCK PARTY

From 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 20th, you can find our tent at Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street (near EXO coffee.) “Design your Neighborhood” and “Understanding Our Groundwater” activities. Volunteers with vehicles needed to transport tables and activities. For more information call Jana at 325-9175.

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

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.

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.

 

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.

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)

April 20th: “Welcome the Third Economic Revolution”

Welcome the Third Economic Revolution

A talk on converting from a Consumer Killer Economy to a Sustainable Green Economy
by John ‘Skip’ Laitner, featured speaker at Sustainable Tucson’s December 2013 General Meeting.

Skip is a Resource and Energy Economist, International Economic Conversion Consultant, and Visiting Fellow to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Hear how he is advising the Government of Normandy, France in their conversion to an Energy-Efficient Economy NOW. They are not waiting until all of Greenland’s ice is in the sea.

SUNDAY, APRIL 20 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Milagro Cohousing Common House at 3057 N. Gaia Place in the Tucson Mountains
Refreshments, Q A, Tours of this eco-designed neighborhood following the talk.

Bring a Friend and learn how we can achieve prosperity by reducing energy consumption through conservation, efficiency and renewables and  reduce our climate changing greenhouse gas output!

More information from Holly at 520-743-1948

ST Dec. Mtg: The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency: Leading Tucson to More Jobs and a Robust Economy While Mitigating Climate Change

XXXX

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

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

 

Sustainable Tucson December Meeting: The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency: Leading Tucson to More Jobs and a Robust Economy While Mitigating Climate Change

This month, Sustainable Tucson brings international expertise and vision to our community to understand how our region can move to a much more energy-efficient economy while enabling a 100% renewable-energy-powered, and a more vibrant economy.

A recently leaked portion of the upcoming (March 2014) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report endorses a CEILING ON GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. A September 28, 2013 New York Times article describes the Panel’s endorsement:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/science/global-climate-change-report.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Tucson’s regional power system and economy can be planned to produce a vibrant economy AND mitigate the worst effects of climate change. In fact the components that can make this happen work in concert.
Sustainable Tucson is proud to present two speakers with backgrounds and experience in transitioning from a carbon-intensive economy to one anchored by energy efficiency and powered by renewable energy.

John A. “Skip” Laitner is a resource economist who leads a team of consultants with his own group, Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates based in Tucson, Arizona. He served nearly 10 years as a senior economist for technology policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He won EPA’s Gold Medal award for his contributions to economic impact assessments evaluating climate change policies. More recently, he led the Economic and Social Analysis Program for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a well-known think tank based in Washington, D.C. He has just returned from France where he works as the senior economist for a regional initiative that proposes to reduce energy requirements by half with renewable energy technologies powering all remaining energy needs.
Matthew T. McDonnell, J.D. is a regulatory and policy analyst with Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates. He has previous experience in the renewable energy finance industry and the utility regulatory process. He has worked with former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman, providing policy analysis; and he has given testimony before the ACC. As a consultant, Mr. McDonnell has advised clients on a variety of energy projects including independent review of generation options analysis, prospects for municipalization, as well as, regulatory issues involved with the transmission and sale of electricity–in both FERC and ACC jurisdictions. Mr. McDonnell’s clients have ranged from municipalities and energy firms, to public utilities and stakeholder groups.

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

ST Oct Mtg: Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

Sustainable Tucson October Meeting: Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

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

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

Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

As Tucson begins planning to reduce its greenhouse gases 80% by 2050, the largest emissions sector (59%) arises from the generation and consumption of electricity, currently 84% coal-fired. What clean energy solutions are available to connect consumers to investments in clean solar energy, ready-made for Tucson Electric Power’s utility grid? Community-owned solar is a new, innovative, customer-focused renewable energy model that is being adopted by large and small utilities across the country.

Clean Energy Collective is a new idea in power generation that is building, operating and maintaining community-based clean energy facilities. Headquartered in Colorado, CEC is pioneering the model of delivering clean power-generation through locally centralized, medium-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. To date, CEC has partnered with 10 utilities across the US to deliver and manage 25 community-owned solar projects to respective utility customers. The company’s mission aims to: 1) Accelerate the adoption of long-term clean energy solutions; 2) provide utilities with lower risk, well located and more beneficial clean energy generation; and 3) create a manageable and mutually beneficial production partnership between utilities and consumers.

Come learn about how you can receive maximum benefits from collective investment in localized solar power for yourself and your community, how the CEC model can promote local jobs and the local economy. Join us for this very informative meeting and support renewable energy action in your community.

Meeting speakers will include:

Genevieve Liang, Clean Energy Collective’s VP of Business Development for the Western U.S.

Bruce Plenk, lately of the City of Tucson Energy Office, and Solar Coordinator for the City of Tucson

Kevin Koch, Technicians for Sustainability, local solar installer

Elizabeth Smith, StelcorEnergy, solar energy consultant

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

ST September Mtg: Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community Part IV – Sept 9th

Monday, September 9, 2013

5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

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

ST September Meeting
Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community
Part IV

Sustainable Tucson’s “Conversations with our Public Officials” series provides Tucson community members the opportunity to meet with local public officials to discuss a wide range of sustainability issues. The venue offers a unique opportunity to converse with our public officials in a supportive atmosphere designed to build understanding and establish relationships.

Join Sustainable Tucson for our fourth Conversation with our Public Officials.

Jessie Baxter, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Raul Grijalva, Ray Carroll, Pima County District 4 Supervisor, and Claire Zucker, Director, Sustainable Environment Program, Pima Association of Governments, will share their vision of a more sustainable Tucson. A networking session will precede the meeting from 5:30 to 6:00.

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

We invite you to join us on September 9 for this exciting conversation with our local public officials.

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

 

The One Thing You Need to Know about the President’s Plan to Address Climate Change

The One Thing You Need to Know about the President’s Plan to Address Climate Change

by Kurt Cobb,    June 30, 2013

 

The one thing you need to know about President Obama’s plan to address climate change is that the most it will accomplish is slowing very slightly the pace at which the world is currently hurtling toward catastrophic climate change. Having said this, his plan is nonetheless a brave and even historic move in a country whose political campaigns and public discourse have been utterly poisoned by the science-free propaganda of the fossil fuel industry.

 

I would be more enthusiastic about the president’s baby steps if the devastating droughts and floods and swiftly melting ice in the polar regions and mountain glaciers weren’t telling us that drastic action is necessary right now. Nature doesn’t really care about the timetables of politicians or about what is politically feasible. Nature doesn’t negotiate, and it doesn’t compromise. The laws of physics and chemistry cannot be repealed or altered by the Obama administration, the United States Congress or any other body. And, these physical laws are deaf to complaints about the negative economic consequences of addressing climate change–consequences that will be far worse if we do nothing about climate change.

 

But let me return to the goal announced by the president and put his plan into perspective. Using existing executive powers–mostly through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which the Supreme Court affirmed in 2007 has the power to regulate greenhouse gases–the Obama Administration will endeavor to reduce the RATE of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States to 17 percent below the RATE in 2005 and do this by 2020. It’s a relatively easy target because half the reduction has already taken place. In recent years electric utilities have been changing from coal to cheaper and cleaner-burning natural gas to fuel their plants, and drivers, stung by unemployment and high gasoline prices, have reduced their driving.

 

I’ve put the word “RATE” in all capitals above because this one word gets to the heart of the matter. The plan does NOT propose to reduce the absolute concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the major greenhouse gas which recently topped 400 parts per million (ppm). Instead, that concentration would continue to rise–even though it is increasingly evident that we must now reduce that concentration (some say to below 350 ppm) in order to avoid the worst.

 

The proposed decline in the rate of U.S. emissions would only reduce the overall rate of world emissions by just 1.6 percent based on 2011 emissions figures (using carbon dioxide as a proxy for all greenhouse gas emissions). Of course, other countries will have to do their part if we are to succeed as a species in addressing climate change. But it is worth noting that while the United States is home to just 4.5 percent of the world’s population, it currently produces 16.8 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. (The 2011 emissions were 5.49 billion tons for the United States and 32.58 billion tons for the world.)

 

I often refer to climate change as a rate problem. By this I mean that the rate at which we are dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere exceeds the rate at which the planet can remove them. Because the rate of emissions has consistently exceeded the rate of absorption by the Earth since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the absolute concentration of greenhouse gases has steadily risen. (The oceans, the forests, and the weathering of rocks are responsible for almost all of the carbon absorbed from the atmosphere. Were it not for these, the atmospheric concentration of carbon would be about twice what it is today, and we would long ago have have passed into a planetary emergency.)

 

Now, logic tells us that the only way we are ever going to get the absolute concentration down is to make it so that the rate of emissions falls below the rate of absorption by the Earth. And, that would require a drastic cut in the rate of emissions by more than 50 percent. But if we are to avert catastrophe, we must go much further so that the concentration can be brought down before a permanent new climate regime gets established. In other words, human survival depends on avoiding the tipping point in climate change that would render any human action ineffectual.

 

(Keep in mind that time is of the essence because climate change lags by 25 to 50 years the emissions that cause that change. We are only now experiencing climate change caused by greenhouse gases emissions between the early 1960s and the late 1980s. Even if all emissions ceased today, we would be in for another generation or two of warming.)

 

The oft-used phrase “tipping point” in this case refers to self-reinforcing loops in Earth processes that once started cannot be stopped by human action. Perhaps the most troubling example is the release of carbon dioxide and methane in the Arctic from the permafrost. The permafrost is now melting at an alarming rate and releasing greenhouse gases from the decay of dead plants formerly immune to such decay because they were frozen. The amount of carbon contained in the permafrost is nothing short of stupendous, twice as much as is currently in the atmosphere. The methane portion of any release is at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet .

 

Once this vicious cycle gets going, it will be unstoppable as warming temperatures melt more permafrost which then releases more greenhouse gases which then increase the temperature which means further melting and so on until the globe reaches a new stable climate that is much, much hotter than our current one.

 

But this isn’t the only self-reinforcing loop that imperils us. Another is the declining albedo or reflectivity of the Earth at the poles as snow and ice disappear more frequently from larger and larger land and water surfaces as a result of rising temperatures. Snow and ice have high reflectivity and return much of the Sun’s light to outer space. But land and water absorb much more of the light and turn it into heat which then melts adjacent snow and ice which creates ever larger areas of heat-absorbing open ocean and exposed land surface.

 

It’s no wonder then that many scientists are calling for an 80 to 90 percent reduction in the rate of emissions by 2050. It’s not simply about slowing warming. It’s about stopping and possibly reversing it so as to stay away from climate destabilizing tipping points.

 

I haven’t even touched on a subject which seems almost taboo, even among policymakers who are eager to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from utilities, factories, homes and vehicles. Meat production is so energy intensive that it is estimated to contribute about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions each year. Telling people to reduce their meat intake, however, could prove to be even more unpopular than telling them to drive less or to lower their thermostats in winter.

 

And, deforestation–primarily in the world’s rainforests–contributes nearly as much as meat production each year to climate change, about 15 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. Felled forests cease to absorb carbon dioxide and instead emit it as the waste wood and other dead biomass left behind decays.

 

The application of nitrogen fertilizers, essential to the so-called green revolution around the world, releases copious amounts of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Today’s large human population would not have been possible without nitrogen fertilizers which played a leading role in raising crop yields. It is thus going to be difficult to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use.

 

Then, there are several industrial gases. These compounds are extremely long-lived in the atmosphere–one lasting up to 50,000 years–and they are very potent, three of them exceeding the warming potential of carbon dioxide by more than 10,000 times. Some have been banned. Others are still in use. While their small concentrations in the atmosphere means that their contribution to climate change remains small, they are nevertheless worth addressing.

 

So, any credible climate change response must also address these other sources of emissions as well. The president’s plan does touch on deforestation, but only briefly. The word “meat,” however, does not appear anywhere in the report. In fairness, the president of the United States does not control world forests, nor can he change American farm policy–let alone American eating habits–single-handedly. While hydrofluorocarbons–used to replace now banned ozone-layer killing chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants–are mentioned, nitrous oxide, a major greenhouse gas, is omitted. Yes, agricultural practices are mentioned, but use of nitrogen is THE major agricultural practice alongside meat production that generates climate warming gases.

 

The public needs to understand that the sources of greenhouse gas emissions are far more varied than most realize. And, the public also needs to understand that declines in the rate of emissions–unless very steep–are likely to be too little, too late. That’s because it is the absolute concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that largely determines the climate. And, this concentration needs to start falling soon if we are to make certain that we avoid a climate catastrophe.

 

To read this story with original links, go to:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-06-30/the-one-thing-you-need-to-know-about-the-president-s-plan-to-address-climate-change

ST June Meeting – Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community – Part III – June 10

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

Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community
Part III

Last spring Sustainable Tucson hosted two “Conversations with our Public Officials.” Tucson community members had the opportunity to meet with City public officials to discuss a wide range of sustainability issues. The venue offered a unique opportunity to converse with our public officials in a supportive atmosphere designed to build understanding and establish relationships.

On June 10, from 6 – 8pm, community members will once again have the opportunity to converse with our public officials. This year we are inviting County and City officials to sit together to share their vision of a more sustainable Tucson. City of Tucson Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham, Pima County District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias and Pima County Sustainability Coordinator Alex Odin will join us for our third “Conversations with our Public Officials.” A networking session will precede the meeting from 5:30 to 6:00.

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

We invite you to join us June 10 in this exciting conversation with our local public officials.

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

Also see last year’s Sustainable Tucson meetings – 2012 March Conversation with our Elected Officials – 2012 June Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community Part II

Building Sustainable Cities – New York Times Conference April 25

See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

ENERGY FOR TOMORROW – BUILDING SUSTAINABLE CITIES

A NEW YORK TIMES CONFERENCE
IN COLLABORATION WITH RICHARD ATTIAS AND ASSOCIATES

APRIL 25, 2013
THE TIMESCENTER, NEW YORK CITY

 
THE CONCEPT

According to U.N. data, the worldwide urban population over the next 40 years will increase by 3.1 billion people. Where will the water come from for these people to drink and use? The fuel to heat and cool their homes? The fresh fruit and vegetables for them to eat? The modes of transportation to move them from home to workplace and back? And how can we build buildings, develop infrastructure and diversify transport in ways that limit the waste and pollutants that could make these urban areas unpleasant and unhealthy places to live? These are the issues The New York Times will tackle in its second annual Energy for Tomorrow Conference: Building Sustainable Cities.

In America and in other countries around the world, there is an enormous amount of innovation going on to make our cities more eco-friendly and sustainable. There are fleets of natural gas-fueled trucks and hybrid taxis. LEED-certified buildings are being constructed. Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use. Summers bring urban and rooftop farming. And this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level.

THE FORMAT AND AUDIENCE

The New York Times will bring together some 400 thought leaders, public policy makers, government urbanists and C-suite level executives from energy, technology, automotive and construction industries among others, to debate and discuss the wide range of issues that must be addressed if we can create an urban environment that can meet the needs of its citizens and, thanks to innovation, run cleanly and efficiently. The conference will be invitation-only.

There will be a fee of $795 to attend the one-day conference, but The Times will make some grants available for N.G.O.s, entrepreneurs and start-ups to attend at a discount. The format will mix head-to-head debates, panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies and audience brainstorming sessions.

 
APRIL 24 EVENING
(THE EVE OF THE CONFERENCE)

7 – 9p.m.
SCREENING OF THE DOCUMENTARY “TRASHED”

The documentary feature film “Trashed” highlights solutions to the pressing environmental problems facing us all. Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons has teamed up with British filmmaker Candida Brady to record the devastating effect that pollution has had on some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Irons.

Confirmed speakers:
Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with David Carr, media and culture columnist, The New York Times

 
APRIL 25 AGENDA

Throughout the day, we will be conducting networking and discussion sessions (via smartphones and BlackBerries) to gather, as well as to submit questions to the panel

7 a.m.
REGISTRATION AND BREAKFAST

7:45 – 8:45 a.m.
BREAKFAST DISCUSSION
SMART VEHICLES ARE HERE: CAN GOVERNMENT KEEP PACE?

The pressures are building for safer and smarter vehicles on our roads, raising questions about the national, state and local policies that will emerge. Several states are already early adopters of legislation to enable the use of autonomous vehicles. But every law is different, no national policies exist and innovations are unfolding rapidly. With the evolution of connected vehicles, intelligent roadways, and cloud-based technologies (first maps, soon much more), there will be a host of choices for consumers and governments.

Moderated by Gordon Feller, director of urban innovations, Cisco Systems; founder, Meeting of the Minds

Confirmed Panelists:
Anthony Levandowski, manager, Google autonomous vehicle project
Alex Padilla, state senator, California
Jim Pisz, corporate manager, North American business strategy, Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
Dan Smith, senior associate administrator for vehicle safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Bryant Walker Smith, fellow, Center for Automotive Research, Stanford University

9 – 9:30 a.m.
OPENING ADDRESS

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York and chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Introduced by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher, The New York Times

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
THE MAYORS’ PANEL
HOW DO WE REINVENT OUR CITIES FOR THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?

The city of 2025 could be crisis-ridden if the world doesn’t create more sustainable models of urban development. Research says that our cities will continue to expand and increase in population, while their populations will bring rising consumption and emissions. Alongside these huge challenges, there are also opportunities for businesses: electric vehicles, new low-carbon means of cooling, and energy efficient buildings. We ask a group of mayors to outline an urban planning strategy for 2025.

Moderated by Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil
Stephanie Miner, mayor of Syracuse
Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

10:15 – 10:40 a.m.
COFFEE BREAK

10:40 – 11 a.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with Andrew Revkin, Op-Ed columnist and author, Dot Earth blog, The New York Times

*Please note, there is a screening of “Trashed” on the eve of the conference. Seats are limited and the
screening will be open to the public. Confirmed conference participants will get priority.

11 – 11:30 a.m.
PLENARY: THINK NATIONAL, BUT POWER LOCAL

A sustainable city will use a high proportion of renewable energy, but there is a catch-22: sites that generate renewable electricity – wind farms, solar farms and tidal generators – tend to be far away from urban centers. How can we create grids that get renewable energy from the places it is made to the hundreds of millions who will use it? Meanwhile, how can we increase and incentivize localized power generation and supply? Options include district heating and cooling, and buildings producing their own power through solar powered roofs or single wind turbines, and then sharing that power through a smart grid.

Moderated by Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Sabine Froning, C.E.O., Euroheat and Power
Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S.
Kevin Burke, chairman, president and C.E.O., Consolidated Edison Inc.

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Shaun Donovan, United States secretary of housing and urban development
in conversation with Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

12 – 12:40 p.m.
GAMECHANGERS: THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use and this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level. Can we innovate quickly enough?

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Stephen Kennedy Smith, president, Em-Link LLC
Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology and innovation, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Adam Grosser, group head and partner, Silver Lake Kraftwerk
Neil Suslak, founder and managing partner, Braemar Energy
Steven E. Koonin, director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)

12:40 – 2:05 p.m.
LUNCH AND BRAINSTORMING, URBAN FOOD SUPPLY

Lunch will take place in the Hall downstairs; during lunch we will host a brainstorming discussion featuring expert panelists on the Urban Food Supply.

Moderated by Mark Bittman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Discussion leaders:
Will Allen, founder and C.E.O., Growing Power
Dave Wann, president, Sustainable Futures Society
Dan Barber, chef and co-owner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and director of program, President’s Council on
Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

2:05 – 2:40 p.m.
DISCUSSION: GREEN BUILDINGS AND URBAN DESIGN

Sustainable cities need energy-efficient buildings and the current symbol of urban architecture – the glass and metal skyscraper – scores badly in this regard. What kinds of building should be the centerpieces of new sustainable cities? Are current green building codes leading us in the right direction? Nearly half of the world’s new megacities will be in China and India: how can their leaders ensure that the millions of new structures in these cities use energy sparingly and follow sustainable urban planning?

Moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
David Fisk, co-director of the BP Urban Energy Systems Project and Laing O’Rourke Professor in Systems Engineering and Innovation, Imperial College London
Hal Harvey, C.E.O., Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC
Katrin Klingenberg, Passivehouse Institute, USA
Jonathan Rose, founder and president, Jonathan Rose Companies
Martha Schwartz, professor in practice of landscape architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and co-founder, Working Group for Sustainable Cities, Harvard University

2:40 – 3:15 p.m.
DISCUSSION: TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

An effective and energy-efficient transport network is the skeleton of a sustainable city, allowing residents to move from home to work with a minimum of congestion, pollution or emissions. The solutions are different for old cities and new cities, and for rich cities and poor cities. But the traditional model of urban expansion followed by new roads has created a vicious spiral where new roads beget more cars, which beget the need for more roads. New, more sustainable ideas for city transportation not only reduce emissions, but also improve quality of life.

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Walter Hook, C.E.O., Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Peder Jensen, head of programme, governance and networks, European Environment Agency
Anna Nagurney, director, Virtual Center for Supernetworks, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
Naveen Lamba, intelligent transportation lead, IBM
Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC transportation commissioner

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION
PLANET-WARMING EMISSIONS: IS DISASTER INEVITABLE?

Klaus Jacob, adjunct professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
in conversation with Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
NETWORKING DISCUSSION:
Participants will be split into two concurrent sessions to brainstorm two issues on the sustainable agenda. Led by a member of The Times team, and with an expert panel to comment and shape the discussions, participants will brainstorm ideas together. The results of the brainstorming – including suggested actions – will be released after the event.

DISCUSSION 1: TRANSPORT

Ingvar Sejr Hansen, head of city planning, City of Copenhagen
Ari Kahn, policy adviser for electric vehicles, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Bruce Schaller, deputy commissioner for traffic and planning, New York City Department of Transportation
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

DISCUSSION 2: GREEN SPACES

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
Steven Caputo Jr., deputy director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Susan Donoghue, senior adviser and assistant commissioner for strategic initiatives, New York City Parks
Deborah Marton, senior vice president of programs, New York Restoration Project

4:15 – 4:35 p.m.
COFFEE BREAK

4:35 – 4:55 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Carol Browner, senior counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group, and former energy czar
in conversation with Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

4:55 – 5:45 p.m.
CLOSING PLENARY
DEALBOOK: INVESTING IN THE CITY OF TOMORROW

The challenge is to reinvent and retool the cities and urban life in a guise that is more sustainable – and to do it fast. Some of the best minds in the developed and developing worlds are trying to address this global issue. Architects, urban planners and engineers are drawing up plans. Business consultants are looking for new business opportunities as these sustainable cities evolve. The World Bank is trying to figure out how to finance their growth. How can we finance the creation of the city of tomorrow?

Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist/editor, DealBook, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Alicia Glen, managing director, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance, Office of the Governor, State of New York
William McDonough, chairman, McDonough Advisors

5:45 p.m. CLOSING AND RECEPTION

 
See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

Move to Amend – Corporations Are Not People – May 10

May 2 planning meeting at Unitarian Church, 22nd between Swan and Craycroft

May 10 demonstration at Miracle Mile freeway entrance

 

Move to Amend – Corporations Are Not People

JOIN US IN A NATIONWIDE ACTION ON MAY 10TH (details below) urging Americans to take the next step in passing a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT which declares that corporations are not persons, and money is not speech.

The disastrous “Citizens United” ruling was just the death knell in the 127-year-long corporate takeover of our government, and must be overturned, to return control of our government to the people.

Until we do that, we will not be able to achieve any of the changes necessary for stopping the slide of the middle class into poverty, creating jobs instead of soaring unemployment, holding Wall Street, Big Banks, and other financial entities accountable for their crimes against Americans, social justice, freedom from war waged for corporate profit, preventing reckless plundering and poisoning of natural resources, and saving our environment. Currently, we can’t even pass legislation for background checks on gun purchases.

Twelve states have already formally requested a Constitutional Amendment to overturn “Citizens United”

We need 22 more to make it happen.

May 10th is the date of the action, and we need volunteers now to help in planning and preparation, and to help in executing it on the 10th IN LARGE ENOUGH NUMBERS THAT THE MEDIA CANNOT IGNORE IT.

COME TO OUR MEETING at 7:00 PM WED MAY 2ND AT THE UNITARIAN CHURCH ON 22ND BETWEEN SWAN AND CRAYCROFT, TO HELP US IN OUR PLAN TO GET THE WORD OUT TO ALL AMERICANS ON MAY 10TH !

The plan is to have a very large group of real “persons” holding a 45-foot long banner on the walkway over the freeway at the Miracle Mile freeway entrance from 7:00 AM until 9:00 AM facing incoming rush hour traffic, and from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM facing outgoing rush hour traffic on Fri. May 10th.

www.MoveToAmend.org

Sustainable Tucson Community Fundraising Appeal

Sustainable Tucson needs your support to continue to present timely, interesting and informative monthly programs. With minimal financial support from the larger community we have provided continuous monthly programs for nearly seven years, drawing particularly on local talent and sustainability leaders. As we increasingly bring in cutting-edge speakers from other cities and regions, Sustainable Tucson faces greater costs and increased organizational needs.

A brief review of previous programs archived on our website shows the breadth and depth of subject matter we have produced for the emerging sustainability community free of charge. More than 2,000 people have directly benefited from our educational, networking, and advocacy opportunities. Efforts to provide media coverage of our events will reach many thousands more.

There are two ways you can help us further our mission to foster greater understanding  and collaborative activities ensuring resilience and a sustainable future.  One way is to use your credit card and go to our online donation webpage: (http://www.sustainabletucson.org/contactcontribute/donate). The other is simply to write a check to “NEST Inc — Sustainable Tucson”  and mail it to P.O. Box 41144, Tucson, AZ 85717

Thank you for your support and remember that every dollar donated to Sustainable Tucson goes a long way to help all of us find our way to more sustainable lives and a more sustainable community.

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

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

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

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

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

Some quick background:

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

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

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

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

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

Community Vision for the Ronstadt Transit Center – Tucson Bus Riders Union – April 2

at the Rialto Theatre, 318 East Congress Street, Tucson AZ

 

Community Vision for the Ronstadt Transit Center

Music, food, information, and the opportunity to give YOUR input.

As downtown development proceeds, what will become of the Ronstadt Center? The City of Tucson has begun a public process aimed at “seeking a qualified development team to plan, design, construct and own/lease/manage some components of an integrated mixed use development/transit center.”

Tucson Bus Riders Union is taking the lead by hosting a community discussion about the future of Ronstadt. Help make sure the Ronstadt Center truly serves Tucson’s bus riders and that our downtown is for everyone!

Join the conversation.
Bring your ideas… Your story… Your voice

Hosted by Tucson Bus Riders Union and Primavera Foundation.
For information or to help with this event, contact Suzanne, 289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com


Ronstadt Center user survey, Wednesday, April 10

Tucson Bus Riders Union is seeking volunteers to help survey bus riders at the Ronstadt Center, in cooperation with Sun Tran and the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

If you’d like to participate for a 3-hour shift between 4:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., contact Suzanne, 289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com, for info about the brief training session to be held in the preceding days.

A great opportunity to learn about transit users and the current downtown scene!

Rethinking Money in Tucson – meetings with Bernard Lietaer & Jacqui Dunne – March 25 & 26

Monday – Santa Rita Room, Student Union, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ
Tuesday – City of Tucson Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Avenue, Meeting Room C in the basement

 
Both events are Free. Monday’s will also be webcast (ask for address). Please RSVP for Tuesday.

Rethinking Money: A Wildcat Currency?

Date: Monday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Santa Rita Room, Student Union, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721
Contact: rshatz(at)inno-tech.org / mfoudy(at)gmail.com

“Currently, we stand at an extraordinary inflection point in human history. Several intergenerational, even millennial cycles are coming to a close including the end of the Cold War (50 years), of the Industrial Age (250 years) of Modernism (500 years), of Hyper-Rationalism (2,500 years), and of Patriarchy (5,000 years).” from Rethinking Money by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Recognizing the complex duality played by the market economy and the invisible economy (unpaid ‘volunteer’ work), we see that goods and services produced for oneself and one’s circle are quite real, but they are not measured nor valued in the Gross Domestic Product. What we create in the invisible economy does more than complement the array of goods and services generated in the market economy. It engenders Community Spirit. Now 4000 Communities around the planet have started to monetize the invisible economy to improve quality of life for all.

Jacqui and Bernard will help us begin to explore ways to monetize the Wildcat Mystique into our own currency. What would it look like, how would it be earned, how would it be used, how would it be recycled, how is it managed, what are the metrics, how much money do we start with, how will it be funded, how do all of the pieces fit together? How do we brand this?

Bernard Lietaer, MIT PhD in economics, served as an official of the Central Bank of Belgium, and as President of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System. He was an architect of the European Currency Unit that transformed into the Eurocurrency System, and Business Week named him “Top World Currency Trader” in 1992. Ms. Jacqui Dunne is an award winning journalist and a leader in identifying, evaluating and promoting environmentally friendly technologies.

Rethinking Money: A Tucson Currency?

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. (doors open at 1 pm)
Location: City of Tucson Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Avenue, Meeting Room C in the basement
Contact: rshatz(at)inno-tech.org / mfoudy(at)gmail.com

What is complementary currency? How can we promote economic activity especially among small businesses and build the Tucson community?

You are invited to attend a conversation with the Author of “Rethinking Money”, Bernard Lietaer. Mr Lietaer holds a PhD in economics from MIT and served at the Central Bank of Belgium, and as President of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System. He was an architect of the Euro. He will be joined by Jacqui Dunne, an award winning journalist, and Tucsonan Tom Greco, a currency expert. Learn how 4000 communities around the world have started to monetize the invisible economy for a quality of life for all.

Jacqui, Bernard and Tom will help us explore opportunities to create our own complementary currency; discussing for example: “What would it look like, how would it be earned, how would it be used, how would it be recycled, how is it managed, what are the metrics, how much money do we start with, how will it be funded, how do all of the pieces fit together? How do we brand this?”

There is no cost to attend, but RSVP is requested to mfoudy(at)gmail.com

Co-sponsored by University of Arizona, National Law Center, Sunbelt World Trade Association, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and SABHA.

 
Also see Money and Life – Fox Theater March 26 and Tucson Time Traders – Tucson’s Local Timebank

Citizens Climate Lobby monthly conference call & planning meeting – (usually) first Saturdays

at 255 W University Blvd, Tucson AZ

Groups meet at 9:45am PT / 12:45pm ET, the international conference call starts at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET. The conference call is about an hour long, and the groups meet for another hour after that to plan actions.

 

Citizens Climate Lobby – Monthly Conference Call

www.citizensclimatelobby.org

 

Saturday, July 13th 2013, 9:45am (3rd Saturday)
Guest Speaker: Lynne Twist of the Pachamama Alliance

 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Guest speaker: Dr. Amanda Staudt, National Wildlife Federation

Dr. Amanda Staudt is a climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation who uses her expertise to translate complex scientific theories into terms the public can understand.  Dr. Staudt connects the dots between global warming and weather related phenomenon including wildfires, hurricanes, increased flooding and drought in certain areas of the country. On our next call, she will give an overview of the National Climate Assessment, a report that will be finalized and released later this year.

 

Actions:

1) Write letters to your two senators asking them to improve and co-sponsor the Climate Protection Act, and plan your group’s strategy for generating additional support in your state for this legislation.

2) Confirm which members of Congress your group will research and schedule meetings with during the conference in Washington this summer.

 

For more info, come to a meeting, or email Tucson Climate Action Network tucan.news(at)gmail.com or phone 400-1775

Also see: Tucson Climate Action Network monthly meetings, the March 2013 Sustainable Tucson meeting on Climate Change Activism, and the Citizens Climate Lobby website

Edgar Cahn, TimeBanks USA – How President Obama Can Beat The Odds And Make Good On His Commitments

How President Obama Can Beat The Odds And Make Good On His Commitments

from Edgar S. Cahn, CEO TimeBanks USA,
Distinguished Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

In his Inaugural Address, President Obama made some commitments that seem to defy fiscal reality:

  “A little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anyone else.”

  “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

  “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.”

The problem: there are not enough funds, public, private, philanthropic to pay the cost, at market prices, for all the educational services and all the health care services needed to make good on those promises.

For a quarter century, the TimeBanking community has been demonstrating how to make the impossible possible.  There is vast untapped capacity in community.  We have proven that:

  • Healthy seniors and their families can provide reliable, informal care that reduces medical costs.

  • Fifth graders can tutor third graders who otherwise fail to attain essential reading levels.

  • Teenagers can tutor elementary school children using evidence-based cross-age peer tutoring.

How could this get paid for?  How can we record, recognize and reward labor from a work force that is not recognized or valued by the GDP?  For decades, the TimeBank community in the United States and thirty four other countries has been learning how to do it, teaching us all that every one of us has something special to give.

The function of a medium of exchange is to put supply and demand, capacity and need together.  What money does not value, TimeBanking does.  TimeBanking provides a tax-exempt, local medium of exchange that uses Time as a currency.  One hour helping another (regardless of mainstream market value) equal one Time Credit.  TimeBanking has proven capable of harnessing vast untapped capacity that the market does not value to address vast unmet needs.

Ask the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which just made a major award to Neighborhood Health Centers of Lehigh Valley to utilize its TimeBank program as a resource to help build a super utilizer intervention program to reduce health care costs.  For ten years, home visits by Lehigh Valley TimeBank members functioning as health coaches and providing informal support have helped folks with chronic problems stay healthy and at home.

Ask Mayor Bloomberg’s Department for the Aging which has established TimeBank programs for seniors in all five boroughs to provide the kind of informal support needed to promote health and prevent unnecessary utilization of the emergency room care by elders.

Ask the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (with a 3,000 member TimeBank) that reports that 79% of TimeBank members felt that their membership gives them support they need to be able to stay in their homes and community as they get older and 100% reported they have benefited from becoming a TimeBank member.

Ask the National Education Association or do a Google search to see if Cross-Age Peer Tutoring rates the status of an evidence-based instructional and remedial strategy.

Ask the Washington State Office of Public Instruction for its authoritative manual on Cross-Age Peer Tutoring.

Ask the National Science Foundation why it granted nearly $1million dollars to Pennsylvania State University Center for Human-Computer Interaction to develop mobile apps for TimeBanking so every Smartphone user can be a time banker.

It’s time America discovered its vast hidden wealth: people not in the work force – seniors, teenagers, children, the disabled – whose energy and capacity has been tapped by TimeBanking for over a quarter century to strengthen fragile families, rebuild community, enhance health, promote trust, restore hope.

President Obama, if you want to do the impossible, it’s time to bet on each other and on our collective capacity.  TimeBanking supplies a medium of exchange that translates “Created Equal” into a currency that embodies that equality.  If we take it to scale, we can make good on delivering those “inalienable rights” to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness promised to every one of us by the Founding Fathers.

Also see TimeBanks USA and Tucson Time Traders

Tucson’s visionary Graywater Ordinance is at risk – Mayor and Council meeting at City Hall – Dec 4

Mayor and Council regular meeting at City Hall, 255 W Alameda, Tucson AZ

 

ACTION ITEM: Urge Mayor and Council Not to Repeal Tucson’s Graywater Ordinance

In 2008, the City of Tucson passed a Residential Graywater Ordinance, mandating inclusion of graywater plumbing stub outs on all new homes built in Tucson. This ordinance is among the first of its kind in the nation and demonstrates a visionary approach to address water scarcity through creative, community-driven solutions. By using graywater as an on-site landscape irrigation resource, Tucson can offset demand on potable water supplies and ultimately reduce water treatment costs.

Now the ordinance is under attack. Concerns over the added cost to homebuilders have led to a recommendation to repeal the ordinance with no review by the stakeholders who helped craft the ordinance originally.

Mayor and Council will address this issue at their regular meeting on December 4, Tuesday 5:30 p.m., at City Hall (255 W Alameda). Consider attending the meeting to support this ordinance that is an important part of our local, non-extractive water portfolio.

If the meeting doesn’t fit your schedule, please call or email Mayor Rothschild and the council members to urge them to vote NO on repealing the Residential Graywater Ordinance.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater — instead, ask Mayor and Council to establish a stakeholder committee to address cost concerns and identify opportunities to improve the ordinance.

Email addresses and phone numbers for the mayor and all the council members are available here – cms3.tucsonaz.gov/citygov?qid=197768

Need more information before you call? — read WMG’s letter to Mayor and Council here – watershedmg.org/node/489

Food Policy links & resources on the internet

Food Policy links & resources on the internet (ST Food working group, November 2012)

National Websites:

http://www.foodsecurity.org/FPC/council.html * (List of Food Policy Councils in North America)

http://www.foodfirst.org/sites/www.foodfirst.org/files/pdf/PB_19_Cutting_Through_the_Red_Tape.pdf (Food First/Institute for Food and Development policy brief)

http://www.socialenterprise.net/assets/files/REDI_Summary_May_2011.pdf (4 food initiatives case studies)

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

Austin, TX: http://www.farmlandinfo.org/index.cfm?function=article_view&articleID=38548/Austin,_TX_Sustainable_Food_Policy_Board.doc (Ordinance creating the Sustainable Food Policy Board)

Baltimore, MD: http://baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/Planning/BaltimoreFoodPolicyInitiative.aspx (Food policy website) http://cleanergreenerbaltimore.org/uploads/files/Baltimore City Food Policy Task Force Report.pdf (FP report)

Delaware Valley/Philadelphia, PA: http://www.farmlandinfo.org/documents/38512/Food_System_Planning_4.2010.pdf (Food system planning tool)

Eugene, OR: http://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1087 (Food security plan)

Los Angeles:  http://goodfoodla.org/good_food_for_all_agenda.php (LA food policy council website)

New Mexico: http://www.dreamingnewmexico.org/food (Comprehensive food system research website.)

Northern New Mexico: http://www.socialenterprise.net/assets/files/REDI_Summary_May_2011.pdf. (Excellent report created by student interns.)

Portland, OR: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/416389  (Food policy study)

http://web.multco.us/sustainability/portland-multnomah-food-policy-council  (Food policy council website)

http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=8728&c=27429 (A resolution creating the council)

Salt Lake City, NV: http://www.slcclassic.com/slcgreen/food/ (Food policy website)

San Diego:  http://aginnovations.org/alliances/sandiego/ (Food system alliance website)

San Franciscohttp://www.sfgov3.org/index.aspx?page=754 (SF food policy website)

http://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/editor-uploads/zero_waste/pdf/sfe_zw_mandatory_fact_sheet.pdf (SF recycling & composting ordinance); http://sfenvironment.org/zero-waste/recycling-and-composting (Food composting program)

Santa Fe, NM: http://www.santafecounty.org/userfiles/FoodPolicyResolution2008-26.pdf  (The resolution creating the food council); http://www.santafefoodpolicy.org (Food policy council website)

Seattle, WA: http://www.seattle.gov/council/conlin/food_initiative/ (Food initiative website) http://clerk.seattle.gov/~archives/Resolutions/Resn_31019.pdf  (Local Food Action Initiative Resolution)

http://www.seattle.gov/util/MyServices/FoodYard/index.htm (Food composting program; includes excellent video on how to handle food/yard waste for collection.)

Shelburne Falls, MA: http://issuu.com/conwaydesign/docs/foodsecurity (Food security plan)

UK Tyndall Centre Interview: Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse

 by Rob Hopkins

Published by Transition Culture on Fri, 11/02/2012  and republished by EnergyBulletin.Net  on Sat, 11/3/2012

Kevin Anderson is the Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre and is an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories. He will be giving the annual Cabot Institute lecture, ‘Real Clothes for the Emperor’ on 6th November in Bristol, which has already sold out. I was hoping to be able to go and report on it for you here, but no longer can, so instead, I spoke to Kevin last week, by Skype. I am very grateful for his time, and for a powerful, honest and thought-provoking interview.

 

Could you share with us your analysis of where you think we find ourselves in terms of climate change and what’s our current trajectory if we carry on as we are?

 

In terms of the language around climate change, I get the impression that there’s still a widely held view that we can probably hold to avoiding dangerous climate change characterised by this almost magical 2°C rise in global mean surface temperature. This is the target that we have established in Copenhagen and then re-iterated in Cancun and to which most nations of the world have now signed up to; I think the rhetoric that we should not exceed this 2°C rise is still there.

 

It’s not just about our emissions now. If you look at the emissions we’ve already put out into the atmosphere since the start of this century, and you look at what’s likely to be emitted over the next few years, then I think it tells a very different story. It’s hard to imagine that, unless we have a radical sea-change in attitudes towards emissions, we will avoid heading towards a 6°C rise by the end of this century.

 

Can we for definite, in your opinion, say that this year’s extreme weather can be linked to climate change?

 

Certainly not. I think it’s fair to say that it’s unlikely we will ever be able to robustly link any particular single event to climate change. Now that’s not to say we can’t get a greater level of attribution, where we can start to say the things that we are seeing are what we would expect to see with a warming climate. We are struggling to find any other reasons for them and therefore it does seem a high probability that these events are caused, if not exacerbated by, the rise in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases and hence the increase in temperature. But I think it’s unlikely that we’d ever be able to say that any single event is a ‘climate change event’.

 

But would you say that if we were still at 280 parts per million it would be much less likely that we would have had a summer like this?

 

Yes, I think that would be a fair comment. It would be much less likely. Before this summer, the probability of having this summer’s weather would have been less if we had not seen significant rises in greenhouse gases and their cumulative impact in the atmosphere. We are starting now to see events that it’s difficult to explain in terms of normal probabilities. We get extreme weather events, we always have had such events; extremes do occur. But if extremes start to occur regularly they’re no longer extremes, and what you’re then seeing is not a weather extreme, you’re seeing change in the climate. But it’s hard to say that any particular event in a range of events is a consequence of climate change, and not just an extreme weather event.

 

Sometimes people talk about this idea of ‘a new normal’, that the basic conditions around us have changed. In terms of what’s happening in terms of the climate, how would you characterise the ‘new normal’ that we’re in given the rise we’ve had in emissions so far?

 

I think it would probably be a very short normal, I don’t think this is the normal at all. It’s the normal for today, but I think the rate of increase of emissions, and there is no sign at all of that rate significantly coming down, would suggest that we’ll be reaching a new normal, and then another new normal, and then another new normal. I’m one of the people that concludes that we’re likely to experience significant climate change impacts over the next 1,2,3 decades and obviously beyond that point. At the moment, unless we change our emissions pathways and trajectory, the normal will be changing regularly.

 

You have already argued and you’ll be arguing in Bristol on November 6th that responding adequately to climate change and economic growth are no longer compatible. Could you flesh that case out a little bit for us?

 

Now I’m going to talk specifically about the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world, the OECD countries, broadly, the countries that are fairly well industrialised. In those parts of the world, the rate of reduction in emissions that would be necessary for us to even stay within an outside chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, characterised by the 2°C rise that we’re all internationally committed to, would be in the order of around 10% per annum.

 

Though a very approximate guide, it’s far removed from the 1, 2 or 3% that most energy scenarios or emissions scenarios consider. It is well beyond anything we’ve been able to countenance, well beyond virtually anything so far that we’ve analysed. What we know is that in the short term, because we need to start this now, we cannot deliver reduction by switching to a low carbon energy supply, we simply cannot get the supply in place quickly enough.

 

Therefore, in the short to medium term the only major change that we can make is in consuming less. Now that would be fine, we could become more efficient in what we consume by probably 2 – 3% per annum reduction. But bear in mind, if our economy was say growing at 2% per annum, and we were trying to get a 3% per annum reduction in our emissions, that’s a 5% improvement in the efficiency of what we’re doing each year, year on year.

 

Our analysis for 2°C suggests we need a 10% absolute reduction per annum, and there is no analysis out there that suggests that is in any way compatible with economic growth. If you consider the Stern Report, Stern was quite clear that there was no evidence that any more than a 1% per annum reduction in emissions had ever been associated with anything other than “economic recession or upheaval”, I think was the exact quote.

 

So we have no historical precedents for anything greater than 1% per annum reduction in emissions. We’re saying we need nearer 10% per annum, and this is something we need to be doing today. And therefore, we can draw a very clear conclusion from this, that in the short to medium term, the way for the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world to meet their obligations to 2°C, is to cut back very significantly on consumption. And that would therefore mean in the short to medium term a reduction in our economic activity i.e. we could not have economic growth.

 

Now we might have a steady-state economy, but my overall sense is that the maths probably point to us having to consume less each year for the next few years, maybe a decade or so.

 

Has that ever happened before? As I understand it, when the Soviet Union collapsed it was 9% cut and that was just for 1 year. What would 10% a year look like?

 

My understanding with the collapse of the Eastern Bloc countries was that the drop was about 5% per year for up to about 10 years. So what we saw there was a relatively prolonged, completely unplanned, and as it turned out very chaotic and uneven reduction in emissions, and even then only delivered about a half to a quarter of, the rate of reduction, what we would need for 2°C.

 

So as their economy collapsed, their emissions dropped by about 5% per annum for about 10 years. We would be needing at least 10% per annum if not considerably higher and for longer than a 10 year period. For the Soviet Union, the economic collapse, though a pretty terrible time for many people, still did not achieve the rate of reductions that we would need to be seeing here.

 

Of course our view is that to deliver on 2°C , we should plan the economic contraction. It need not necessarily have the devastating impact that it very clearly had, and very inequitable impact, in Russia in particular.

 

Given that the current administration or indeed any administration that would be elected in this country would never be able to run on a platform of shrinking the economy by 10% every year, what are the implications? How do the need to do that and democracy sit alongside each other?

 

Firstly I don’t say we have to reduce our level of consumption by 10% per annum in terms of material goods. I’m not saying our economy has to reduce by 10% per annum. The emissions have to come down at 10% per annum, but we should be able to get some efficiency improvements as well. So the economy would not have to come down as fast as the rate of emissions coming down. It’s very important to make that distinction, and of course the more low-hanging fruit that we can find, and I think there’s a lot more out there than we’ve discovered previously- the less the material contraction of the economy would need to be. From some of our provisional work we have identified some very significant improvements in the efficiency of how we do what we do; some technical, some behavioural.

 

I don’t think it’s necessarily as dire as you’re painting from an economic perspective. Nevertheless we are talking here at best a steady-state economy. The analysis that I and colleagues in the Tyndall Centre have undertaken would suggest there probably has to be a reduction in our consumption and an economic contraction.

 

How would we sell that? Well, we’ve sold it at the moment. It’s very clear in the UK and many parts of Europe that what we’re seeing is at best stagnation, if not an economic reduction in our level of consumption. So we have actually got that at the moment. We’re not all finding this utterly dire .. not that it’s been evenly spread, I think it’s been unfairly spread. I think equity should be one of our main considerations here. We have to bear in mind that even if we have an economic contraction that wouldn’t necessarily mean that for many people they would have to consume less.

 

I take the very clear view on this that the distributional effects would very likely mean that many people in the UK for instance would not see a reduction in their levels of consumption or their levels of wellbeing, but others of us in the UK, like myself, would certainly have to see reduction in levels of consumption. Probably not a reduction in levels of wellbeing but certainly in levels of consumption. So I think distributional impacts might mean that it could be much more attractive, or less unattractive, to policy makers than at first sight it would seem.

 

Particularly given that we face a lot of issues now with unemployment, welfare reductions etc., issues that disproportionately affect people in the middle-lower income band; it is these people that could actually benefit from a transition to a much more efficient and lower carbon economy.

 

The implications will obviously have to be thought through, but any government that embraced a more sophisticated analysis of climate change would likely recognise the economic situation that we have got ourselves into anyway with our current model. Put those two together and there are real opportunities now for a significant transition in how we do what we do; a transition away from the dogmatic economic growth model and towards a steady-state low carbon alternative.

 

What do you see as the role, certainly in terms of the Transition approach, as very much about what a bottom-up, community-led response to that looks like, what’s your sense of the role that communities can play in making that happen?

 

I take the view that the community approach, the bottom-up approach, is absolutely pivotal to resolving some of the challenges and issues that we find ourselves facing now. So I think communities are really important here. They’re important in a number of ways.

 

You might make an argument that the actions of any individual, of any household, of any local community, in and of themselves are relatively insignificant, I all too often hear this. The point is less about the emissions of an individual, though still important, but more about the example it sets. It gives other people the opportunity to see that you can do something differently.

 

If communities, and even if it’s only one or two communities are starting to do things significantly differently, that means we have an example of what we can do. If those examples are successful they can spread. Once they spread, policy makers can start to see those examples at work and can start to set a top-down agenda that can coincide with the bottom-up agenda. We can actually point policy makers to where it’s working and make arguments for implementing policies that would facilitate those sorts of changes.

 

If we are going to get out of the hole we’ve got ourselves into there’s real scope for some partnership between bottom-up-individuals, through to communities etc. – and top-down, trying to facilitate initiatives as they emerge. It’s the kind of partnership we need if we are going to see real substantive change. And if we see that in the UK, that helps within the EU and can signal a wider, global transition. I think we all have a responsibility to try and bring these changes about in our own lives and our immediate environments, and actually this could be significant. What we do ourselves is absolutely central to bringing about substantive change.

 

What do you see as being the role of scientists in all this? Should they only focus on definitely proven science or move more towards how James Hansen is taking more of an activist stance. How do you see that balance between science and activism?

 

This is quite a difficult question. My view here is that as scientists we have to behave as scientists. Now we are human beings, and so science will never be the perfect, objective, neutral profession that the textbooks might try to describe it as. Nevertheless I think it is really important in our science to remain neutral and objective, as much as we ever can. Science is not about black and white, there is a huge amount of uncertainty in a lot of science, there’s a huge amount of probabilities and clearly climate change has a lot of this wrapped up in it. But I think it is absolutely pivotal that as scientists we behave as scientists.

 

Now as individuals, as citizens – we may be scientists but we are also citizens – I see nothing wrong with standing up and saying I think my and other people’s science raises concerns for society and so I have to chosen to act on that analysis. There is a duality here. An individual can, as a scientist, produce their work neutrally, and then they can use that work to inform how they act as a citizen.

 

If Hansen and others want to chain themselves to bulldozers building new runways, that is their choice as a citizen, I don’t disagree with that. What I would disagree with is that if anyone starts to misuse science to support other sets of views. Because people like Hansen’s analysis looks to be more extreme, people then assume that he is pushing the boundaries of the science. I think the scientists that are pushing the boundaries are those that are deliberately, and I know many of these people, holding to a line that is politically palatable, because that is what politicians, what their pay masters, what society wants to hear.

 

Actually I think Hansen and some of those scientists who are prepared to stand up and make quite strong statements from their science are the ones that are being more neutral and objective; far too many of the scientists who are working on climate change, are towing, in my view, a political line. It looks like it’s neutral because it doesn’t sound extreme, it fits within the orthodoxy. But that is not the way we should be doing science. Whether it fits within the orthodoxy or not we should be objective, robust, direct and honest about science.

 

You spend a lot of your time surrounded by all the papers and research and stuff that’s coming out, all the models that get worse and worse. How do you personally cope with that, and what do you do in your own life that’s motivated by what you encounter in your professional life?

 

I have to say it gets increasingly difficult, it has affected my personal life quite considerably over the last few years and is getting worse. I find it very hard to engage with the science and then not link that to what we as individuals, what society, what policy makers are doing, or evidently not doing. It has been really challenging for me with some work colleagues, less so in the immediate group that I’m involved with here in Manchester, but certainly wider colleagues who I work with on climate change who, it seems to me, have no regard for what their research tells them.

 

For many, but with significant exceptions, their work seems to be little more than something that pays the mortgage. I find that quite difficult. I take the view that it is incumbent on us as scientists and citizens that we should be changing what we’re doing in our own lives, and I think that people would take much more note of the analysis that we do if we decided to live broadly in accordance with our science. In my view, far too few scientists who work on climate change actually do that.

 

But also I find it increasingly difficult not to challenge friends and family, who often appear to have complete disregard for the impacts of their action. I’ve got to the point now where I think that when we’re profligately emitting, we’re knowingly damaging the lives and the prospects of some of the poorest people in our communities, both in the UK, but more significantly globally. Yet we obscenely carry on doing this. We’re happy to put a few pence into a collection pot in the middle of town to help people living in poorer parts of the world but we don’t seem to be prepared to make substantive changes to how we’re living our lives- even when we recognise the impact our emissions are having.

 

And yet science is pretty clear on this, that vulnerable people in the poorer parts of the world will suffer dire repercussions of what we are doing now and what we’ve already done. I find that almost reprehensible that scientists are able to completely ignore such a very clear message; we know that the people on the coastal strips of Bangladesh will suffer very significantly from our behaviour as will many other people, poor people around the world. And we really do not collectively as a society and even often as individuals demonstrate any meaningful care or compassion.

 

I’ve cut back on many of the activities I previously pursued. Many of my friendships linked to activities; as a keen rock climber, I used to travel away for breaks by plane. This has all had to change quite considerably. I have close friends from when I used to work in the oil industry, friends who think climate change is a serious issue but are not prepared to make any changes to their lifestyles. It has raised some serious challenges for me in maintaining personal relationships.

 

I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy. I do not think that the future, for those of us that are in the very fortunate position of living in the West, is full of win-win opportunities. People who have done well, very well out of our western system, and live very carbon profligate lifestyles are going to face difficult challenges, and we should not pretend otherwise.

 

Until we actually embrace alternative means of finding value in our lives, I think that transition from where we are today, high-carbon, high-energy lifestyles, to ultimately lower-carbon lifestyles is going to be both difficult and unpopular. But ultimately, I do not see an alternative. Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy- but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse.

 

Do you see any possibility that that might come from and be led by government?

 

No, I don’t think it will be led by government. I don’t think it will be led by anyone. I think it will be an emergent outcome of a society that cares, of which government is part and citizens and individuals are part as well. I have never particularly liked the idea of great people, of wonderful leadership, I much more believe in an emergent system, the properties and values that are embedded within a system.

 

Now we might see that, manifested sometimes in a leader, but it actually is an outcome of that society moving in a particular direction. So that’s why, to me, I’m not looking for some great person to come on their white charger and take this forward. I’m looking for all of us to engage, and out of that will emerge a new way of thinking of the world.

 

Given the economic challenges, crisis, whatever we want to call it, that we are seeing at the moment, this is a real opportunity for change. An opportunity we need to grasp. We need to think differently, think positively, but recognise in my view that it will not be easy. We can institute these changes ourselves both bottom-up and top-down. It is this kind of leadership we need, leadership from all of us.

 

Do you think from a climate change perspective actually a deepening and a worsening recession is the best thing that could happen to us?

 

At the moment I just see it as blaming everyone else. Inequity is going up, not down. Recessions are not good times– we clearly are not all in it together. Many of us have not made any changes to the restaurants that we go to, the hotels that we go to, the holidays that we take, and yet the other side is we are completely stripping back welfare, and we’re not investing in green infrastructure. We’re constantly putting money, a third of a trillion into the banks, not into a new grid network or a new set of renewable technologies or retro-fitting houses. So we have the prospect of doing things differently, offered us by the recession but we’re letting those opportunities go, on a day to day basis we’re throwing these opportunities away. It could be a much more positive drive toward a low carbon and resilient society than it’s turning out to be.

 

Bill McKibben argues that we need to get back to 350 parts per million. Is that possible?

 

Well it is in the very long term. But within the sort of time frame that we’re talking about at the moment, unless the geo-engineering routes work and I think we have to be very cautious about sucking the CO2 out of the air when we can’t even turn the lights off when we leave a room at the moment! I find this quite bizarre, but it is not to say we shouldn’t spend some money now on research into negative emission technologies.

 

I think it highly unlikely that we’ll get back to 350 within quite a lot of generations. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have it as a goal, but what I think we should be looking to do is to stabilise the concentration as quickly as possible at the levels they are today. They’ll be higher tomorrow and higher the day after that. What we need to do immediately is to stop that rate of growth and then get the CO2 out of the atmosphere as quickly as we can.

 

I don’t know whether we’ll be able to suck the stuff out. At the moment it’s a long way away. It’s a Dr Strangelove future. That’s not to say it may not have some purchase in the long-term but at the moment we’re digging out shale gas and tar sands and lots of coal. We’re going to be digging under the Arctic. We don’t need to concern ourselves too much with geo-engineering for the future, we just need to stop getting fossil fuels out of the ground today.

 

You talked about the need to cut emissions by 10% a year and how difficult that’s going to be and how it’s not going to be an easy thing and it’ll affect every aspect of what people do, particularly the people who are used to having it better. Can you describe a bit what you think it’ll look like when we get there? What’s your vision of what things would be like if we actually do this successfully, if we’re able to muster the will and the collective spirit and we actually manage to pull it off? Can you describe what it might be like when we get there?

 

This is quite hard… what will the future look like? It’s difficult for us as scientists and engineers not to impose our other personal ways of seeing the world. There are particular changes that I would like to see the world achieve that are not related to carbon or climate change, not to embody those in my view of the future is not easy.

 

I’m 50 years old now. I had a very good life in the 1970s and a pretty good life in the 1980s. I don’t think my quality of life has significantly improved since the 1970s and 80s, and yet my emissions and the emissions per capita have really gone up very significantly.

 

So we have lived good quality, relatively lower-carbon lives than we are today, not very long ago. Now a lot of that was because we consumed less. We still lived fairly high-consumption lifestyles, and I think if we allied the technical expertise that we have now that could really improve the technologies that we actually use to deliver lifestyles that are very good – we’re not talking about going a long way back to times when people were very impoverished.

 

We had good medical treatment, we had good schools, good transport networks. So I think we can ally both our current technical skills and abilities, with a recognition that we consumed considerably less than we consume today but had a not noticeably different lifestyles – going back to the 50s, 40s or the 30s would be very different, but I don’t think that’s true for the 70s and 80s.

 

Such a transition would certainly be challenging, with some significant equity and distributional impacts, and with a shift in emphasis from a strongly individual and consumption based society to one that embraces more collaboration. I acknowledge this would be more attractive to me, but I recognise that some people would not see such change in a positive light. Nevertheless, I think it’s hard to imagine ourselves getting out of the hole we’re in without a greater degree of collective effort.

 

I don’t think we should be looking to go back to the point where we can’t travel, and where we’re living austere lives. With a greater degree of equity, scarce energy resources can be balanced with high-welfare lives.

 

It’s a future about sufficiency more than it is about greed and wants, whether it’ll be radically different from where we are today will depend on how fast we respond now, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be. We will have lots of opportunities to behave differently, adopt lower consumption habits, and ally that with significant changes in the types and the efficiency of the technologies that are already available. All this could steer us in a resilient low-carbon direction.

 

Do you think the tradeable energy quotas that David Fleming came up with would be a useful tool for that?

 

Myself and my colleague Richard Starkey at the time did quite a lot of work on that, in fact we knew David quite well. Yes, I think it’s certainly one very serious route to consider and indeed David Miliband was quite keen on it at the time, DEFRA eventually dismissed it as “an economic instrument beyond its time”, so it was for the future. Well maybe the future’s here now and we should re-consider using it. It adds a very good equity dimension that demands greater changes from those of us that emit more than others. Coincidently, it is this fairness aspect that could drive innovation and the early adopters more than taxes and other economic instruments whereby high-emitters may be able to buy themselves out of change.

 

I think there’s some significant merit in it as an approach. Setting it up will not be easy. But we have to remember – people say it’s like rationing, well we’re all rationed by what’s called our salary, our income. So we’re all familiar with rations. We are all the time juggling our rations of resources because of what we can and cannot afford. This is just one more of them.

 

I’m not sure it’s quite as difficult as some people suggest to imagine to have to ration, particularly if it only relates to our household energy consumption, electricity, gas and so forth and our vehicle consumption. I think as you start to extend it beyond that it becomes more problematic but I think applied to households and transport it could be a useful tool in catalysing widespread and more equitable engagement and more effectively driving innovation and deployment than would standard economic instruments.

 

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

Original article: http://transitionculture.org/2012/11/02/an-interview-with-kevin-anderson-rapid-and-deep-emissions-reductions-may-not-be-easy-but-4c-to-6c-will-be-much-worse/

EnergyBulletin.Net  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.

Eco-Health Relationship Browser – EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities

Eco-Health Relationship Browser
EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research News Flash
September 25, 2012

The EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program is pleased to announce the launch of the Eco-Health Relationship Browser, an easy-to-use new online tool from the SHC program.

The Eco-Health Relationship Browser illustrates the linkages between human health and ecosystem services—benefits supplied by nature. This interactive tool provides information about our nation’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and how those services, or their degradation and loss, may affect people and communities.

Ecosystems, such as wetlands and forests, provide a wide variety of goods and services, many of which we use every day. However, some of these services, such as air filtration, are not obvious and it therefore may be hard to understand the impact they have on our daily lives.

Scientific studies have documented the many tangible and intangible services and health benefits that are provided by our surrounding ecosystems. This tool is designed so that users can easily explore the services ecosystems provide and how those services affect human health and well-being. It is important to note that the studies summarized in this tool are by no means an exhaustive list. However, the inclusion of over 300 peer-reviewed papers makes this browser an exceptional compendium of current science on this topic.

If you have questions or comments please contact Laura Jackson at jackson.laura(at)epa.gov

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Welcome to the EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) research program News Flash. SHC is developing data, tools and approaches to help communities make decisions that better protect human health and community well being. This News Flash will provide subscribers periodic updates about SHC science, products or information. You were added to this mailing list because you are involved or have expressed an interest in sustainable communities work, ecosystem services research, or related topics.

For questions about the SHC News Flash contact Melissa McCullough mccullough.melissa(at)epa.gov, or Carolyn Hubbard Hubbard.carolyn(at)epa.gov

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Class – WMG – Oct 11

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Class

Spaces are still available in Watershed Management Group’s upcoming session to fulfill the educational requirement for Tucson Water’s rainwater-harvesting rebate. The next class is scheduled for Thursday, October 11, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tucson Water is offering rebates on qualifying rainwater harvesting projects, including tanks and earthworks. Two tiers of rebates cover full-system expenses up to $300 or 50 percent of expenses up to $2,000. A requirement to receive the rebate program is attendance at a three-hour educational session such as this one. We expect to offer approximately one session per month, depending on demand.

Complete information and online registration can be found here or by calling 520-396-3266.

AZ Corporation Commission candidates debate – Sep 27

at the UniSource Building, 88 East Broadway, Tucson

 
On Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 5:00 pm, candidates for the AZ Corporation Commission will be holding an open meeting and debate at the UniSource Building, 88 East Broadway, Tucson, AZ

Please join us to engage the candidates on important energy efficiency and clean renewable energy issues.

The AZ Energy Efficiency Standard, which directs electric utilities in the State to reduce their retail sales of electricity by 22% by 2020 (and gas savings of 6% by 2020), is under the purview of the ACC. The Commission also approves utility company plans for compliance and implementation of the EE Standard.

In early 2011, the 2011-2012 TEP Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan was submitted for Commission approval. Since that time, a number of modifications prompted by public interest groups and private companies, and a review (and approval) of the Plan by an Administrative Law Judge have occurred, but the ACC has still not approved the Plan. As a result, TEP ratepayers do not have access to incentives for Energy Efficiency retrofits to their homes, commercial energy efficiency programs, energy education for schools, and other programs and services enjoyed by ratepayers of other utilities with ACC oversight.

Research shows Energy Efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce energy costs, while increasing comfort and reducing pollution. Energy Efficiency jobs are local and cannot be out-sourced. Please consider attending this Open Meeting to express your support for TEP’s Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan and the AZ Energy Efficiency Standard, and encourage others to do so.

(from sierraclub.org/borderlands)

Forum for Candidates for AZ Corporation Commission – League of Women Voters – Oct 4

at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N Country Club Road, Tucson AZ

Sustainable Tucson October Meeting

Please note special time and location for this month’s
Sustainable Tucson meeting,

Temple Emanu-El, 225 N Country Club Road, Tucson AZ
Thursday, October 4, 2012, 6:30 PM

Doors open at 6:15 pm

Forum for Candidates
for AZ Corporation Commission

All Candidates Have Been Invited

Utility Regulation • Power Lines
Business Regulation • Investment Fraud
Railway Safety • Energy Generation

Your questions for the candidates may also be submitted online here!
Please comment on this post before October 4.

Sponsored by
the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson,
AAUW (American Association of University Women),
Temple Emanu-El, and Sustainable Tucson

About the Arizona Corporation Commission and its roles and responsibilities

The Arizona Corporation Commission is a key independent arm of state government presided over by five elected commissioners. Only 7 states have constitutionally formed Commissions. Arizona is one of only 13 states with elected Commissioners. In the 37 other states, Commissioners are appointed by either the governor or the legislature.

In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. The Arizona Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.

Regulation of public service utilities including electricity, gas, sewer, water, and telephone remains the most important role, especially in the case of electricity and Arizona’s efforts to transition away from fossil-fuel burning power plants to clean, renewable energy sources. Republicans are attempting to reverse course on these efforts while Democrats are in favor of expanding the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard which applies to regulated power companies.

Crucial ACC Election for Climate Activists – TUCAN Workshop Sep 8

at Miller Golf Links Public Library, 9640 E Golf Links Rd, Tucson (see below about carpooling)

Crucial ACC Election for Climate Activists

Workshop on September 8 Saturday 1 p.m., free t-shirt

Dear Climate Activist,

In the 2012, three of five seats at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) are up for election. This election will decide the future of energy efficiency and solar power in Arizona. The Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed three candidates for the ACC. They are incumbents Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy, and newcomer Marcia Busching.

Please join us on Saturday, September 8th to learn what you can do to elect the Solar Team – Newman, Kennedy, Busching – and help make Arizona the Solar State and a leader for energy independence. A well respected individual from the solar industry will join us to debunk some myths about solar energy, as well as other wonderful speakers. This election will decide our energy future. Please be there to learn how you can help.

Event will take place: Saturday, September 8th at 1pm
Miller Golf Links Public Library at 9640 E. Golf Links Rd., Tucson, Arizona 85730

Carpool: Rides and riders are encouraged to contact Andrea Sirois to set up carpooling. For information (and carpooling) call Andrea Siriois at 707-319-1089 or email arsirois(at)gmail.com

Best,
Laila Amerman
Field Director, Paul Newman 2012 for Arizona Corporation Commission
Work: (623) 850-1338
Email: Laila(at)PaulNewmanAZ.com

ST September Meeting – Sept 10 – Sustainability of Urban Mobility and Urban Form continued – Broadway Boulevard Project

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

Broadway Boulevard Project:
Sustainable Urban Mobility and Form?

As a follow up to Sustainable Tucson’s July meeting, The Sustainability of Urban Mobility and Urban Form, the September 10th meeting will be convening a public conversation furthering the discussion, using the Broadway Boulevard Project as a focus.

Presenters will include
Jen Burdick – Broadway Corridor project manager for the TDOT
Colby Henley – Citizen’s Task Force and local Neighborhood Association member
Tres English – Sustainable Tucson
• and others to be announced

Efforts to incorporate local Neighborhood goals with those of the transportation planning agencies are moving forward through the efforts of the Broadway Citizen’s Task Force (CTF). By the time Sustainable Tucson convenes its meeting on September 10th, the CTF will have conducted 2 public meetings. The findings of the 1st meeting are posted online at http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/broadway

Neighborhood and City goals should be updated and integrated given the interrelated issues of mobility and urban form. In this age of fiscal and environmental constraints, we have the opportunity (and calling) to redirect limited funds to support live-ability and vibrancy at the neighborhood level while implementing a transportation system that unites and serves the larger city. Additionally, now is the time to address larger embedded issues such as the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) and Climate Change.

A recent Arizona State University study by leading author, Matei Georgescu (http://geoplan.asu.edu/georgescu-megapolitan) notes that urban development could by itself, increase average June-August temperatures by as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. Add in another 5 degrees due to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions over the same period (United States Global Change Research Project), and it becomes apparent “business as usual” will significantly affect the health, live-ability, and pocketbooks of Tucsonans.

To mitigate temperatures neither current nor future inhabitants of Tucson want to endure and to ensure live-able and vibrant communities we must seek alternatives to current built-environment and mobility practices that solve rather than add to an unsustainable city. The Broadway Boulevard Project discussion is a great place to start.

Join us in conversation September 10th at the Joel Valdez Library, lower level meeting room.

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

Sustainable Tucson August Film Festival – August 12th and 13th

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

 

Sunday, August 12th 1:00 to 5:00pm, Sustainable Tucson will show three top-rated sustainability films covering critical sustainability topics:

• The U.S. financial crisis erupted in 2008 and still looms on the horizon.

• Resource depletion including non-renewable fossil fuels and clean water threatens further economic growth.

• Global warming and climate change threaten most life-forms including people and future food.

• Social disruption following economic dislocation and government contraction can threaten our capacity to solve-problems and build a more sustainable culture.

• Many solutions are being identified but most require abandoning “business as usual.”

The first film will be shown from 1:00 to 2:30pm and includes a comprehensive presentation of the sustainability crisis and a path way out of our predicament. Many sustainability leaders are interviewed including  Wes Jackson, Paul Hawken, David Suzuki, Kenny Ausubel, David Orr, Janine Benyus,, Stuart Pimm, Richard Heinberg, Paolo Soleri, Thom Hartmann, Lester Brown, James Hillman, Joseph Tainter, James Woolsey, Stephen Schneider, Stephen Hawking, Sandra Postel,  Bill McKibbon, James Hansen, Dr. Andy Weil, Ray Anderson, Andy Lipkis, Tom Linzey, Herman Daly, Peter Warshall, Jerry Mander, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bruce Mau, William McDonough, John Todd, and Gloria Flora among others.

The second film is an award-winning documentary describing the financial crisis which erupted in 2008 and continues to play out today as the global economy is beginning to contract. Financial experts help tell the story of how the largest financial bubble in history grew and finally burst. These include Simon Johnson, George Soros, Satyajit Das, Paul Volker, Nouriel Roubini, U. S. Rep. Barney Frank, Eliot Spitzer, Kenneth Rogoff, Raghuram Rajan, Martin Wolf, Christine Lagarde, and Martin Feldstein among others. This film will be shown from 2:30 to 4:15.

The final film to be shown from 4:15 to 5:00 is a special film which describes how the island nation of Cuba became more self- sufficient and resilient after the food and energy subsidies ended from the Soviet Union which collapsed in 1991.

 

Monday, August 13th, 5:00 to 8:00 pm, Sustainable Tucson will present two excellent films.

The first is a documentary about how the many electric street car systems in U.S towns and cities were intentionally scrapped by a group of automobile-related corporations. The result is that the U.S. is the only industrial country in the world without electric rail systems within and between most cities.  This film will be shown from 5:00 to 6:00pm.

The second film will be shown from 6:15 to 7:45pm and includes a comprehensive presentation of the sustainability crisis and the need to find a path way out of our predicament. Many sustainability leaders are interviewed including Richard Heinberg, Lester Brown, U. S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Albert Bartlett, Joseph Tainter, David Pimental, Terry Taminen, Bill McKibben, James Hansen, David Korten, Derrick Jensen, and William R. Catton, Jr. among others.

Due to unanswered questions about public licensing, the titles of the films were omitted in this public announcement. The Pima-Tucson Library System does have a general license for showings of films free to the public for educational purposes. This license is granted by a film company consortium but we don’t know for sure about each film. ST falls back on its “fair use” rights under copyright laws to show the films for educational purposes.

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, businesses, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to our members, interested people, and community leaders, bringing them together to focus the wider public on these critical sustainability discussions. Our ultimate intent is to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

Join us for viewing five great sustainability films in August!

PLEASE NOTE:

Doors open at 1:00 pm on Sunday, August 12th.
Doors open at 4:45 pm on Monday, August 13th

Speak Up for Energy Efficiency – AZ Corp Commission open meeting – July 11

at Arizona Corporation Commission Tucson Offices, Room 222
400 W Congress St, Tucson AZ

TEP Customers – Speak Up for Energy Efficiency

Please come to a public comment session and tell the AZ Corporation Commission that you support TEP’s Energy Efficiency Plan

Energy efficiency programs help conserve energy, reduce water use, reduce air pollution, and keep energy costs lower for everyone. They also create jobs in our communities and keep more of our energy dollars in Arizona.

If we don’t invest in energy efficiency, we guarantee ourselves higher energy bills in the future as utilities will build unnecessary infrastructure and buy more fuel from and send jobs out of state.

Arizona Corporation Commission Open Meeting
Wednesday, July 11
10 a.m.
AZ Corporation Commission Tucson Offices
400 W. Congress St., Room 222, Tucson 
(map)

If you cannot attend, please send a message to the commissioners!

NYT Publishes Private Industry Documents: “Shale Gas Called a Ponzi Scheme”

Documents: Industry Privately Skeptical of Shale Gas

Over the past six months, The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of documents related to shale gas, including hundreds of industry e-mails, internal agency documents and reports by analysts. A selection of these documents is included here; names and identifying information have been redacted to protect the confidentiality of sources, many of whom were not authorized by their employers to communicate with The Times.

Go to the New York Times website to view documents here.

Sustainable Tucson July Meeting – Urban Mobility and Urban Form – July 9

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

The Sustainability of
Urban Mobility and Urban Form

The July ST General Meeting will feature panel presentations and conversation by special Tucson speakers who are addressing in their work “Sustainable mobility and urban form.” This is a very timely topic on many fronts now:

  City of Tucson’s current ten-year update of the General Plan.

  Anticipation of Tucson’s modern streetcar line.

  Tucson’s love affair with walking, jogging, biking, hiking and using transit.

  Community visioning and planning related to the Imagine Greater Tucson Project.

  The emergence of “urban villages” as places where we could live.

  City of Tucson’s current climate change mitigation and adaptation planning.

  Local adaptation to the global credit and energy contraction now taking place.

Gene Caywood, local transportation planner and leading light for Old Pueblo Trolley presents Tucson mobility: past, present, and future.

Ian Johnson, co-leader of the Living Streets Alliance discusses ways we can all help to create, maintain, and enjoy the culture of “living streets” combining sidewalks, bike paths, and transit where people meet and move.

Steve Farley, Arizona State legislator and public artist talks about the benefits of sustainable transportation and advocacy.

Ann Chaneka,  Pima Association of Governments bicycle planner and recently returning from the international Velo conference in Vancouver presents sustainable urban transportation and bicycle planning.

Tres English, ST Core Team member, talks about “21st Century Tucson – a Network of Urban Villages – More convenient, More accessible, More affordable – NOT More mobile.”

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, businesses, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to our members, interested people, and community leaders, bringing them together to focus the wider public on these critical sustainability discussions. Our ultimate intent is to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

Join us for another lively Sustainable Tucson General meeting!

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

Also read James Howard Kunstler’s Making Other Arrangements

Support Energy Efficiency Workshop – June 27

at Historic Y conference room, 738 N 5th Ave in Tucson

 

TEP Customers — Help TEP Move Beyond Coal to Clean Energy!
Join us at a free workshop!

You can help move Tucson Electric Power from coal to clean energy! Come to this informative workshop and find out more.

Support Energy Efficiency Workshop
Wednesday, June 27, 6-8 p.m.

Historic Y conference room
738 N. 5th Ave., Tucson (map)

We will discuss what Tucson Electric Power (TEP) can do to get off dirty fossil fuels, including through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and what you can do to help!

The Arizona Corporation Commission will be holding a special open meeting in Tucson on July 11 and taking comments on TEP’s Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan. Our workshop will help you prepare for this meeting and will provide an opportunity to write comments on this important issue.

For more information, please contact Dan Millis at (520) 620-6401 or dan.millis(at)sierraclub.org

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

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

Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community
Part II

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

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

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

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

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

Reconsider RTA Broadway Project – Public press conference – April 30

at Assembly of God Church parking lot, NW corner of Broadway & Campbell

 

Neighborhood Support Network / Broadway Corridor

Hi Neighbors,

You and your neighbors are invited to a press conference on Monday, April 30 at Broadway and Campbell that will begin at 6pm – please send around. Speakers will include Council Members Kozachik and Fimbres, Pima County Supervisors Elias and Valadez, as well as reps from Rincon Heights, Sam Hughes and Broadway business owners.

We look forward to seeing a big crowd!

Colby Henley, Rincon Heights

This is a critical point in our efforts to get the RTA to abandon it’s outdated plans for widening Broadway Blvd to 8-lanes and instead allow a Citizen’s Task Force to provide meaningful input to re-scope the project in a way that is within budget and compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods and our desired future for this corridor. We are asking for everyone’s support in two specific ways.

1. We need a big turnout for the press conference on Monday April 30th at 6 PM in the Assembly of God church parking lot on the NW corner of Broadway & Campbell. Steve Kozachik is calling this press conference and is inviting the Mayor and other City Council Members/County Supervisors to attend as well. We need to have HUNDREDS of people show up – so rally your neighbors to attend!

2. We are asking for people to write letters to the editor of the Arizona Daily Star supporting a re-scoping of the Broadway Project and to contact your City Council Member/County Supervisor asking them to add their support to this effort. In your letters, you can emphasize the need for the RTA/TDOT to engage the Citizen’s Task Force in a serious discussion about down-scoping the project to get it back to within the RTA funding level, and to reallocate RTA money saved to other RTA ballot approved projects, and the County Bond money that was earmarked for this project to road repair within the City limits.

Please circulate this call to action among your neighbors and we look forward to seeing a big crowd at the press conference!

Here is a letter recently submitted to the AZ Daily Star by Laura Tabili from Rincon Heights (not yet published):

Councilmember Steve Kozachik and County Executive Chuck Huckelberry have recently called for reconsidering and downscoping the costly and unnecessary Broadway Project. The 1987 plan to widen Broadway is outdated in view of conditions in the street itself as well as up-to-date thinking about sustainable transportation and livable cities. Wasting $71 million taxpayer dollars we simply do not have, widening the street to 150 feet would destroy over 100 local businesses and historic properties, lifeblood of our local economy and tax base.

Up-to-date infrastructure improvements such as bus pullouts, turn bays, and properly timed lights would better move traffic while encouraging bus ridership, biking and walking along a safe and pleasant street. The Broadway Coalition calls on our elected officials on the Board of Supervisors and the Tucson City Council to reconsider this costly and unnecessary project and find a sustainable solution that will better meet Tucson’s needs now and in the future.

Don Ijams, Coordinator
Neighborhood Support Network
email: dsijams(at)gmail.com

Plan Tucson – Urban Agriculture Policy Working Group – May 3

at Sentinel Building Conference Rooms, 320 N. Commerce Park Loop

 

PLAN TUCSON
ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY FOCUS AREA
Urban Agriculture Policy Working Group

Meeting Invitation
Thursday May 3, 2012

Hello,

The Plan Tucson Team appreciates the active participation by agency, organization, and other stakeholders in the Working Groups to develop policies for elements to be addressed in Plan Tucson, the City’s new General Plan now in preparation.

During the Working Group discussions regarding a variety of elements from public health to green infrastructure to land use to economic development, the topic of urban agriculture has come up often enough that staff decided it would be helpful to have a separate meeting devoted to the topic. Therefore, we have arranged a meeting that will include brief presentations on efforts already underway in the City and County to address urban agriculture issues and to provide an opportunity for interested stakeholders to share their thoughts about the topic.

The URBAN AGRICULTURE meeting is scheduled for:

Thursday, May 3, 2012
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Sentinel Building Conference Rooms
320 N. Commerce Park Loop

If you would like to attend this meeting, please RSVP by sending an email to plantucson(at)tucsonaz.gov by Tuesday, May 1, and type “Urban Agriculture” in the subject line. If you have any questions, please contact Gina Chorover at gina.chorover(at)tucsonaz.gov or 520‐837‐6946.

If you are unable to join us on this date, but have ideas about Urban Agriculture that you would like considered, please email them to Gina Chorover at the above email address.

Thank you,

Gina Chorover
Plan Tucson Team

Sustainable Tucson March Meeting – Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community

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

Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan Tucson – Urban Design Policy Working Group – Feb 29

Plan Tucson – Smart Growth Focus Area
Redevelopment and Revitalization Policy Working Group

Meeting Invitation for Wednesday February 29, 2012

Subject: Plan Tucson – Redevelopment and Revitalization Policy Working Group Meeting Invitation

Dear Colleague:

We are sending you this invitation because you expressed an interest or were recommended to participate in the Urban Design Policy Working Group. The first meeting will be held on:

Wednesday February 29, 2012
1:30 – 3:30 PM (Check in starting at 1:00 PM)
Sentinel Building, First Floor
320 Commerce Park Loop, Tucson, AZ 85745

Plan Tucson staff will make a brief presentation on the status of Plan Tucson activities and the Working Group schedule. This will be followed with background information and a discussion of current initiatives in Redevelopment and Revitalization. The second part of the meeting will be devoted to a group exercise designed to begin identifying concepts that should be considered in the development of Redevelopment and Revitalization policy for Plan Tucson.

To ensure that we have sufficient material for participants, please RSVP by sending an email to plantucson(at)tucsonaz.gov and include the phrase “Will Attend Redevelopment and Revitalization Policy Working Group” in the subject line. Please include your name and affiliation in the body of the email. There will be no response to this email.

If you have any questions about this meeting or would prefer that someone else from your agency/organization be the primary contact for Plan Tucson, please send an email to plantucson(at)tucsonaz.gov and include the phrase “Redevelopment and Revitalization Policy Working Group Question or Comment” in the subject line, or call María Gayosso at (520) 837-6972.

We value your time, and thank you in advance for participating in the development of Plan Tucson.

Sincerely,

María Gayosso, Project Manager
Plan Tucson Team
City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department

What Are We Planning For? – A New Advocacy Initiative

What Are We Planning For?
A Sustainable Tucson Issues Paper                                                  March 2012

Since Imagine Greater Tucson’s initiating phase began more than three years ago, Sustainable Tucson has been engaged with the IGT Project at many levels, participating in the steering, community values, outreach, and technical committees. Imagine Greater Tucson has consistently requested input and Sustainable Tucson has tried to contribute ideas in order to make IGT a more relevant and successful visioning process for the Tucson region.

The following text summarizes seven key issues which Sustainable Tucson has previously presented and which the IGT process has yet to address. This document concludes with four specific requests to modify the Imagine Greater Tucson Project.

 

1. There has been no step or focus in the IGT process to sensitize and ground the community in the context of the emerging future. The impacts of climate change, resource depletion, food security, water use, conservation of our natural environment and economic and financial crises were all avoided.

Problem:  Without a grounded understanding of the emerging context, how can we realistically connect our values to a preferred future for the region? IGT views the problem of addressing growth as disconnected from the unprecedented challenges facing us. What does it mean to envision the future with our eyes closed and our heads in the sand?

 

2. Every IGT scenario is built on doubling population and the purpose of the visioning process is to determine the preferred way this growth should happen.

Problem: If this doubling of growth does not happen, IGT will have left us less prepared to adapt to any other possible future. Planning on the basis of doubling population growth constrains the investigation of what is best for the Tucson region. Population may or may not grow as current trends are showing (See Appendix A) and far different scenarios follow from those different assumptions. In planning a sustainable future it would be prudent, considering issues of climate change and resource limitations, to be considering population “build out” or planned decrease. A doubling population may make it impossible to decrease carbon emissions enough to limit uncontrollable climate change effects – important since Tucson is frequently described as “ground zero” for the worst effects of global warming.

 

3. IGT is intended to inform the 10-year comprehensive plans of the regional jurisdictions.

Problem: If IGT is only concerned about how we shape and support growth and if growth does not happen in the next decade (See Appendix A), then what value does IGT actually offer to inform the 10-year comprehensive jurisdictional plans? Worse still is the diversion of time and energy away from addressing the coming unprecedented challenges in what may be the most critical decade of our region’s history.

IGT has surveyed the region’s “values” but again not within the present context of changing eras. These survey results can be used by the jurisdictions but they will not reflect the community’s response to what is important in a coming period of unprecedented social, environmental, and economic change. The elephant in the room that IGT does not address is how to restructure our economy without population growth being the primary economic driver.

 

4. The scope of IGT is limited to how we shape the land-uses and infrastructures for the addition of one million future residents. It is true that the existing community was asked what we value and how we should shape this future addition. But existing residents had no option to define what land-use and infrastructure options we want for ourselves.

Problem: How can we define a preferred future without including the desired changes the existing community would like to see in its mix of infrastructures, especially given that becoming more sustainable and resilient requires significant changes in existing systems? Are the existing residents’ needs and preferences for urban form not an important part of the region’s future?

 

5. The impact of debt restructuring and credit availability were not included as key indicators.

Problem: Preparing for growth and preparing for sustainability both require significant public and private investments. How can we plan for change without estimating availability of funding, especially given the unprecedented local and global credit contraction ongoing these past three years. Population increase, development, economic growth, and protecting our natural environment will all be constrained by credit availability.

 

6. Scalability of scenario features was not included as an indicator or evaluative criterion.

Problem: Regional investment capacity is inherently constrained regardless of population growth level. So it is important that for each level of actual growth, a balanced approach is taken to ensure that all infrastructure categories are adequately addressed. If the investment approach is not balanced, some systems become over-built with excess capacity and others suffer with insufficient investment and capacity. Worse yet is the lack of financial planning for maintenance and repair of both existing and newly planned infrastructures. An obvious example of the latter is our crumbling regional and neighborhood roadways described by Pima County officials as  “rapidly deteriorating”.

IGT staff response to the problematic construct of doubling population has been that if this doubling growth doesn’t happen we will simply scale the implementation of the final “preferred” scenario to what actually happens. However, if an infrastructure cannot be “smoothly” or “linearly” scaled, investment in such infrastructure may preclude other critically-needed system choices should growth not happen as projected.

Thus, the scalability value of features in the alternative scenarios should be presented so that community participants can choose their preferred scenario, in part, by the characteristic of scenario features to be scalable or adaptable to lower growth levels.

 

7.  The 3 IGT scenarios  compare indicators with the reference projection or “trend” scenario, not with current conditions.

Problem:  Because the reference scenario is constructed in such a way as to demonstrate the unsustainability of continuing “business as usual”, the alternative future scenarios automatically show “improvement” over the reference scenario.

Not comparing the 3 alternative scenarios to current conditions – conditions that people can experience and verify now – obscures the very real possibility that for important indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, the values will actually get worse not better under what becomes the final “preferred” scenario.

In the case of greenhouse gases, the goal of regional climate change mitigation planning is to reduce emissions by at least 80% below current levels. It would appear these reductions cannot be met by adding population, even at greatly improved infrastructure efficiencies.

 

Bottomline Conclusion:  The intent of the IGT project to educate the community about “smart growth” concepts and how they can be applied to jurisdictional planning is by itself a worthy effort. Unfortunately, this should have happened 10 to 15 years ago when the region was experiencing the pressures of rapid growth.  Further, these concepts have not been re-calibrated to embody new constraints such as current greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The biggest challenge now is: how do we maintain prosperity and quality of life and environment without continuous population growth and how will we adapt to the unprecedented sustainability challenges in the coming decade.

 

We invite other individuals and organizations to join us in requesting that IGT:

 

1) Directly address and facilitate greater regional understanding of the unprecedented challenges which we face including climate change, peak oil, resource depletion, food security, water use, economic crises, and conservation of our natural environment.

2) Augment its future scenarios to include at least one scenario that considers population stabilization or “build-out” at no or low growth levels.

3) Broaden the scope of participant choices to register “optimal population levels“ along with their scenario preferences.

4) Compare indicators of the alternative future scenarios to actual current conditions, not hypothetical projections.

To support and add your endorsement of this proposal, please post a comment below.

 

Appendix A: Evidence that a new era without growth has begun

The IGT Project’s assertions that regional population “is projected to double in the coming decades” or more recently,  “is expected to grow by as many as 1 million people during this century” are misleading and not substantiated by any facts. At recent rates of change, our population would not even double in a hundred years – a timeframe that climate change and resource depletion research indicate would likely be unfavorable for growth.

For many decades up until five years ago, Arizona and the Tucson region did double their populations at rapid rates: every 20 and 35 years respectively. A major task for every jurisdiction was to manage the pressures and impacts of this growth dynamic. But the rapid growth era has ended as we find increasing evidence that the factors governing growth have indeed changed.

For four years, Americans have been moving less, driving less, and in great numbers, walking away from homes worth less than the mortgage obligation.  The 2010 US Census shows that the Tucson region had less population in 2010 than the 1 million 2006 population estimate. CNBC News recently named Tucson, “The Emptiest City in America” because of high apartment and home vacancies. UA economist Marshall Vest recently revealed that the Tucson region lost net population in 2011.

Declining regional home prices have erased ten years of gains and experts conclude that the local housing market will never return to past levels of activity. All of this points to the likelihood of a  “growthless” decade ahead, perhaps even longer.

www.SustainableTucson.org

Dreaming New Mexico – Peter Warshall – TEDxABQ video

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

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

from 2011 September TEDx in Albuquerque New Mexico, posted to YouTube Nov 22 by TEDx
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbyIlbt5_3g

Pima County Food Systems Alliance – Meeting & Potluck – Nov 30

On November 30th (this Wednesday) from 6-8 pm, there will be a large group meeting of the Pima County Food Systems Alliance (PCFSA) with a potluck at the Sam Lena Library (1607 S. 6th Ave, Tucson; call 520.594.5265 for directions)

The Agenda is as follows:

  1. Welcome & Introduction (Nick) (5 min; 6:00-6:05)
  2. Presentation by PCFSA Consultants (Bryn/Lewis) (25 min; 6:05-6:30)
  3. Break & Get Food; Potluck (5 min; 6:30-6:35)
  4. Workgroup Activity (Bryn/Lewis) (1 hour; 6:35-7:35)
  5. Activity: Getting involved in the Policy Process (Jaime) (5 min; 7:35-7:45)
  6. Next Steps (Lewis) (15 min; 7:45-8:00)

Bring your friends & colleagues, plus a taste of your favorite or signature Thanksgiving dish.  And check out our Facebook page!

The Pima County Food Systems Alliance is an open membership network comprised of a variety of groups and individuals—including but not limited to farmers, chefs, restaurants, schools, educators, youth, gardeners, researchers, food banks, health professionals, attorneys, nonprofits, activists, and consumers.  The Alliance works in a collaborative manner to serve as a space to invite discussion and foster learning and education for those who are directly affected by food insecurity, as well as legislative decision makers about food policy.

Local Gardening & Farming – Resources & Contacts

A Secure Food Supply for Tucson & Southern Arizona
Resources & Contacts: Gardening & Farming – Production, Distribution, Education
A sampling and an on-going growing list (see this page for updates)

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona – communityfoodbank.com
Native Seeds/SEARCH – www.nativeseeds.org
Pima County Food Systems Alliance – go to Facebook page
Tucson Organic Gardeners – www.tucsonorganicgardeners.org
Community Gardens of Tucson – www.communitygardensoftucson.org
Tucson Village Farm – www.tucsonvillagefarm.org
Santa Cruz Heritage Alliance – www.santacruzheritage.org
Altar Valley Conservation Alliance – altarvalleyconservation.org
Desert Harvesters – www.desertharvesters.org
Somos la Semilla – www.somoslasemilla.org
Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture – www.bajaaz.org
Sonoran Permaculture Guild – www.sonoranpermaculture.org
Tohono O’odham Community Action – www.tocaonline.org
Slow Food Tucson – www.slowfoodtucson.org
Local Food Concepts – go to Facebook page
Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network – www.fruitmappers.org
Arizona Native Plant Society – www.aznps.com
Food Conspiracy Coop – www.foodconspiracy.org
Local Harvest – www.localharvest.org
Tohono Chul Park – www.tohonochulpark.org
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum – www.desertmuseum.org
University of Arizona “Compost Cats” – compostgolive.blogspot.com
Vermillion Wormery – lindaleigh1.wordpress.com
Tucson AquaPonics Project – www.TucsonAP.org
Local Roots Aquaponics – www.localrootsaquaponics.com
Sabores sin Fronteras – saboresfronteras.com

Farmers Markets

There are lists with locations and times each week in the Tucson Weekly and in Caliente.  For locations of more farmers markets (and farmers/ranchers, CSAs, etc), see Local Harvest, above.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Tucson CSA
Sleeping Frog Farms
Walking J Farm
River Road Gardens
Avalon Gardens
Agua Linda Farm
Down on the Farm CSA
Menlo Farms CSA

In addition, there are many, many farmers, ranchers, and gardeners around Southern Arizona, as well as artisan producers using local food, who supply our farmers markets, CSAs, some of the grocery stores and supermarkets, some of our local restaurants, and many homes.   Names and contact information will be added to this list on an on-going basis.

ST Water – resource links

RAINWATER & GREYWATER USE RESOURCE LIST

Hands-On/Workshops

http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/ (Sonoran Permaculture Guild workshops – gray water use; rainwater harvesting; and more)

http://www.watershedmg.org/calendar-tucson (Watershed Management Group calendar of events & workshops – hands-on work with gray water systems, rainwater harvesting systems, earthworks, etc.)

http://communityfoodbank.com/2011/08/10/gardenworkshops/ (Food Bank garden workshops – gray water use; self-watering containers; and more)

Websites for More Information

http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/greywater (City of Tucson guidelines for grey water use)

http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/harvesting (City of Tucson info on rainwater harvesting)
Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona)

http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/permits/download/graybro.pdf (AZ DEQ brochure)

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/rain-gray-resources.pdf (Comprehensive resource list–may be slightly outdated.)

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/ (Brad Lancaster’s website)

http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr/default.aspx (AZ Dept of Water Resources)

http://ag.arizona.edu/azwater/ (University of AZ Water Resources Research Center)

http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=cal/WaterFootprintCalculator (Calculate your total water footprint.)

Videos

http://ondemand.azpm.org/videoshorts/watch/2011/8/4/1830-conserving-water-by-planting-rain/ (Interview with Brad Lancaster)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBMpaWq4EKE (Creating a Home Graywater System)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1DfNlxlk-A (How to Implement a Greywater System for your Garden)

Books/Documents

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Vol 1 & 2 ,by Brad Lancaster (Can order from his website, listed above.)

Harvesting Rainwater for Landscape Use by Patricia H. Waterfall. Available for free download at http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1344.pdf or for purchase at Amazon.com

The Desert Smells Like Rain A Naturalist in O’odham Country by Gary Paul Nabhan. Available at http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid1418.htm

Tucson Active Management Area Water Atlas – http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr/StatewidePlanning/WaterAtlas/ActiveManagementAreas/documents/Volume_8_TUC_final.pdf

The New Create an Oasis with Greywater: Choosing, Building and Using Greywater Systems – Includes Branched Drains by Art Ludwig. Available for purchase at http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/createanoasis/index.htm

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. Available for purchase at multiple online sites.

Water in the West: a High Country News reader; Miller, Char [Editors].. Available at the Pima County Public Library.

Programs

Tucson Water Zanjero Program – In-home water audit and recommendations…Call 791-3242 or look at website: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/zanjero_program

Water-harvesting Co-Op Program – Developed by Watershed Management Group to promote communities helping each other to design and install water-harvesting features: http://www.watershedmg.org/co-op/tucson

Update on the Tucson/Pima Water Study

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


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

Web:www.tucsonpimawaterstudy.com (Comment Form link)

E-mail:info@tucsonpimawaterstudy.com

Phone:520-884-9477

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

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

A Sustainable City

2008 State of the City Address
Mayor Robert E. Walkup
February 1, 2008

“A Sustainable City”

The state of our city is strong.

We increased our investments in key areas-public safety, transportation, parks and water-after decades of neglect.

We diversified our revenues and cut costs. While Arizona state and city governments face steep deficits this year, Tucson’s deficit is manageable.

We should not raise taxes. Instead, we should cut costs internally to balance our budget and preserve programs and services for our people.

Your City Council has made tough choices in recent years. But they were the right choices. Each has put Tucson’s needs above any political agenda. Tucson is better and stronger because of all of their leadership. I’d like for all of them to stand now and be recognized.

***

Our vision for Tucson is clear.

Tucson at its best is a desert city that balances the needs of its people and its environment. Our mission is to be a recognized leader in a knowledge-based global economy. And our top goal is the highest quality of life and place for all of our people.

Therefore, our policies must promote economic opportunity for all—for this is the foundation of a high quality of life.

And our policies must promote environmental stewardship of our land, our water and our air—the foundation of a high quality of place.

My honest assessment is that we are doing well. But we can do better. And we must do better.

There is a great focus these days on environmental sustainability. Specific steps to defend open spaces, preserve wildlife habitat, protect our water supply, promote energy-efficient construction and reduce our carbon footprint are all being aggressively pursued by the City, the County, the towns and the Native American Nations.

There is more to be done to protect our environment, of course. It is our duty, as a Boy or Girl Scout might say, to leave Tucson better than we found it.

But we should be proud of how far we have come.

I can tell you that other mayors across America are impressed with what we are doing in Tucson. We are capturing methane at our landfill and converting it to electricity, running a reclaimed water system, powering our buses with natural gas and biodiesel. Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is recognized nationally. And the City Council is now working on additional water and energy conservation measures that will set a national standard.

Tucson is also recognized internationally. I have discussed water-treatment and alternative-energy projects with Israeli government and business leaders. Tucson and Israel have similar water and energy needs.

And I was recently invited to London along with five American mayors whose cities are recognized as environmental leaders. I got a good laugh when they quickly pointed out their rooftop solar panels through a break in the fog. J

Now what about our economy?

Much is being done across Tucson to improve our economy. Thanks to our hard-working people in business and labor (and the work of TREO), we have 57,000 more jobs and average earnings have increased 38% since 1999.

Our Gross Municipal Product, which measures the value of our local economy, is now above $31 billion.

That may sound like a lot. It is actually larger than the entire economies of five American states.

But, in my opinion, it is not big enough. Tucson’s economy is less than half the size of Milwaukee’s, Mike Hein’s hometown ($64 billion), and Austin’s ($66 billion).

A stronger economy is required to bring more opportunities to our working families. A stronger economy will help keep our best-educated children in Tucson. Our quality-of-life and our community’s sustainability are dependent upon it.

We must continue to focus on the areas that add to our economy and increase our quality-of-life. Retaining, expanding and starting new Tucson businesses is a vital community objective. Training our people for the jobs of the 21st century is essential. Improving our education and health care systems is critical. Supporting the arts and sciences to feed our minds and our souls is vital.

Many believe that economic and environmental initiatives are always in conflict. I strongly disagree.

Too many choose sides and divide the community. We must bridge the divide.

The truth is that economic sustainability and environmental sustainability are equally important. Both are required to achieve a sustainable Tucson.

We must pursue policies that improve our economy and serve our environment at the same time. And we must do so regionally, strategically and comprehensively.

Given our limited resources, I strongly encourage our City Council and our region to pursue the following five policy areas that serve both our economy and our environment simultaneously:

Fiscal Sustainability:

Investing in public safety, street repair and our parks and open spaces serves both our economy and our environment.

Better infrastructure and more crime fighting improves neighborhoods, increases property values, lowers insurance rates and protects businesses.

And a stronger central city provides residents an alternative to more urban sprawl.

We are entering year three of our ten-year plan. This year’s investments include:

• 40 more police officers
• 31 more firefighters, paramedics and other fire personnel
• 16 more square miles of neighborhood street repair
• 14,000 more hours of park maintenance and
• 10,000 more hours of parks department programs for seniors and children

I strongly recommend to the City Council to stick to the Fiscal Sustainability Plan as our top priority. It is our job to maintain public safety, good streets and safe parks in this city—no one else’s. And all Tucsonans—not just some Tucsonans—depend upon these investments.

As we now know, the failure to invest leaves payday loan-like debts for future generations.

For example, the failure to maintain a city street regularly at $2 per square yard now costs us $46 per square yard to replace.

The failure to invest properly in our Tucson Water system in the 1970s and 1980s contributed to the CAP debacle of the early 1990s. We saved our predecessors a few dollars a month from regular maintenance costs twenty years ago. But we are now paying hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the problems we inherited.

Water rates should be as low as possible. But we do Tucson no favors by deferring today’s problems, leaving sky-high debts to our children and risking future catastrophes.

Regional Land Use Plan:

I propose that the City, County, towns and Native American Nations all join together to form a consistent, unified land use plan for our entire region.

It would help our economy and our environment at the same time.

The plan would identify where homes and jobs and fire stations and hospitals and roads and parks and water lines should go—and where they shouldn’t.

It would provide certainty to homebuyers and business owners and reduce infrastructure costs. It costs our taxpayers far more to come back and fix the problems caused by unplanned growth than it does to do it right the first time.

And a unified regional land use plan would help our environment as well. Open space reserves and protected washes and trails should be continuous no matter what jurisdiction they happen to be in. Native species and hikers and bikers don’t care about the lines in the sand that serve politicians. They need a regional and comprehensive system.

A unified plan may also help us merge separate planning concepts into a seamless whole.

For example, the City employs Desert Village concepts in planning the southeast side. Desert villages aim to serve many human needs—jobs, parks, hospitals and fire stations—in compact areas.

Both economically and environmentally, it is unwise to approve residential developments where the future residents have to drive seven miles to the nearest supermarket, or ten miles to work, or many miles through traffic to the nearest emergency room.

Pima County’s land uses are guided by the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Concerns for habitat and natural resources help determine the location of future growth. Its goal is to balance economic and environmental concerns.

I propose that we work to put together the best of both ideas.

I believe that there is a way to use the Sonoran Desert Plan to help guide development in the city. I believe that it can evolve to be more relevant to urban development. And I believe that Desert Village principles can assist in the planning of suburban, unincorporated communities.

A unified regional land use plan also presents the opportunity to develop new guidelines for new development. For example, if we are serious about addressing climate change, we should consider requiring that all new development—City, County or town—has reasonable access to transit.

If we are serious about making growth pay its own way, we should consider requiring that growth only occur in areas that offer the highest return on tax revenues, especially state-shared revenues.

Impact fees only address the cost of the original infrastructure. But tax revenues pay for the police, fire, paramedic and street repair services the people will need year after year. We must plan new growth with an eye towards economic and tax-revenue sustainability, too.

Our region has come together to consolidate transportation and economic development efforts. Now a unified land use plan for our entire region is the next big step we must begin this year.

Infill:

Support for infill is a key strategy to deal with growth and serve both our economy and our environment.

It costs taxpayers less to steer growth where the streets and roads and fire stations already exist. And central city development means less demand for sprawl development and all the environmental issues that come with sprawl.

Almost 33% of the land within the city limits is undeveloped. It ranges from empty lots within neighborhoods to large tracts of State Trust Land.

Also, many Tucson neighborhoods were built without any planning. The houses were not subject to any building codes. Too many of these homes are substandard in quality and energy-inefficient.

I believe that we have an opportunity to transform our central city into a 21st century model for balancing economic vitality, historic preservation and environmental stewardship. But new approaches and attitudes towards infill are required.

The partnership between the City, State Land and Westcor to plan 12,000 acres of state land is a good model for planning undeveloped land. This is an infill area. It is surrounded by existing development: Vail on the east, Corona de Tucson on the south and central Tucson to the north and west.

There are some important environmental assets in this area that must be protected. But fewer than in other areas in our region targeted for development. And development inside Tucson will absorb some demand for thousands of new homes in sprawling Pinal County, Benson or Tubac.

But what about infill in developed areas? I believe that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the City Council and the City of Tucson right now.

Housing stock across the central city is aging and falling into disrepair. Layers of city codes have accumulated over the decades. They have made new development, redevelopment, home additions and even home repair more difficult.

It is frustrating to both neighborhood leaders and infill developers that the only projects that can get through the system are the mini-dorms that each side says they don’t like.

The system is dysfunctional. The cost of lower property values to homeowners, the city and the county, is immense.

The City’s new Neighborhood Preservation Zone program is a great opportunity to address the need for infill. But it must balance preservation of existing neighborhoods with the promotion of density and mixed-use development along major roads. One without the other is incomplete. Neighborhood and development leaders must work with each other and together with the City Council to ensure that the program is a success.

And the City must finally engage in a comprehensive reform of its land use code. We have put this off for far too long. Our code must promote the economic and environmental sustainability we seek. That means more density where appropriate, more “green” water and energy-efficiency requirements and clear design standards to match new, creative designs with existing neighborhood patterns.

We must also continue our current major infill project: Rio Nuevo. Downtown is the heart of the effort to build a larger local economy and an alternative to urban sprawl. It is far, far better to grow up than grow out.

The Council unanimously approved key infrastructure investments and new facilities last year. These include a new $200 million convention center hotel, a $60 million expansion of the convention center, a $130 million UA Science Center and a $130 million new arena. $37 million in infrastructure work is already underway.

Now a unified private sector, the Tucson Downtown Partnership, is at the table. Business leaders from downtown and across the region are now partnering with local government to bring the region’s top talent together for this key project.

Community leaders understand that we all have a stake in a successful downtown revitalization. They understand that transparency and public participation are required when tax dollars are being utilized.

And they know that we are committed to not repeat the mistakes of urban renewal projects decades ago. Downtown redevelopment will be for all of our people, not built on top of our people.

Of course we have a ways to go. But we are making steady progress:

New homes are being constructed right across the freeway and along Congress. Historic downtown theatres have been restored and are open for business. Roads and underpasses are being improved. Water, power and telecommunication lines are being upgraded.

You can see it as you drive home today. Something is happening downtown. And thank you for coming downtown during all the construction. J

Regional Water Planning:

As always, water policy is critical to the success of our economic and environmental objectives. Here, too, a regional approach makes sense.

More cooperation between Tucson Water and Pima County Water Reclamation is the best first step towards maximizing our water resources. Working together, we can lower costs, establish quality standards, improve conservation and coordinate our investments.

However, this is just the beginning of the process. Patience is necessary. And public input is essential.

We must take advantage of the unity that has been achieved through support of the County bonds, the RTA and the opposition of Proposition 200. Any decisions must be made with considerable public input: business, environment, human services and leaders from other jurisdictions. As always, the private and public sectors must work together for any new policies to ultimately succeed.

In my opinion, the goal is simple: safe, appealing, abundant and affordable water. And determining the best way to manage every drop of water throughout the water cycle—from the ground to the tap, down the drain and through the treatment plant and back into the ground—is the way to achieve that goal.

I am repeatedly asked: How will we govern our water in the future? Will there be a regional water authority?

Frankly, these questions are important, but they are premature.

The more basic question is this: how should our water policy meet our goal of the highest quality of life and place for all of our people? Or, in short, what is our water for?

From there the questions become far more complex:

How much water should be allocated towards economic goals, and how much toward environmental goals?

How much to support residential growth and how much to support commercial and industrial growth?

If a new manufacturer needs water, how much water is each new job worth?

Should growth be allowed in areas where water conservation requirements are legally unenforceable?

Once the community answers these and other questions, then we can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and decide whether a new system is warranted.

Green Economic Development & Green-Collar Jobs:

One of the key recommendations of the TREO Economic Blueprint is to focus on the Environmental Technology industry cluster.

A strong community focus on Environmental Technology will directly benefit both our economy and our environment.

According to TREO, worldwide clean-energy markets will quadruple in the next ten years, from $55 billion in revenues to $226 billion. Demand for biofuels, wind power, solar power and fuel cell technologies will increase. Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created.

Tucson has a golden opportunity to become a global center for Environmental Technology. Public-private partnerships on research and development, the manufacture of environmental technologies, solar power generation and the application and utilization of environmental technologies are all necessary.

Other cities are already scrambling to build their own Environmental Technology clusters. Albuquerque, for example, just announced an agreement with a German company to build a $500 million, 1,500 job factory there. The product: solar modules for utility-scale solar installations.

Tucson has greater natural advantages than Albuquerque. But it’s not enough to have a lot of sunlight. Lots of places have a lot of sunlight. And lots of places can announce that they are the “solar-con valley” or the “Saudi Arabia of solar.” People see through gimmicks pretty easily.

Instead, we have to be competitive or we will lose out. We have to move quickly and smartly.

Our community must be united and must demand a comprehensive strategy. Who are our competitor cities? What are they doing? Who are the top environmental companies? What do they need in the short term and the long term? What partnerships are required? What financial and regulatory systems must be in place to assist and protect these companies? Overall, what must we do to make Tucson the best place in the world to start or relocate environmental technology companies?

We look to TREO to answer these questions. But the community, and especially the private sector, must support TREO at a higher level. A greater investment in our economic future is required.

Local government may have other resources that can support this effort. The City of Tucson has approximately 20,000 acres of undeveloped land in Avra Valley that was purchased for water rights decades ago.

The Council has recently discussed a solar-energy pilot project in this area. That is excellent. But we can go farther.

I strongly believe that the City should consider any and all proposals for how to put this land to use for solar and other environmental technology projects—public and private—as long as these projects are consistent with current water system and environmental protection efforts in the area.

The UA could locate solar research and development facilities there. TEP could expand its proposed pilot project and provide enough solar power for our water distribution system. Leading companies can use the land for manufacturing, development and possibly even power generation.

Also, in order to compete we need a trained workforce to support this industry. “Green-collar” jobs–building, assembling, installing, operating, maintaining, transporting and manufacturing green technologies and products.

We must work together to provide the skills and training necessary for these new jobs. Here, too, I welcome our friends in Pima County, job-training organizations, faith-based job trainers such as Jobs-4-Life, construction trade organizations and unions, and all other interested parties to come to the table now. We need their leadership and expertise to transform our economy, help our environment and strengthen our workforce.

****

These five areas offer significant opportunities for our region to achieve the highest quality-of-life and place for all of our people.

It is an aggressive agenda. But it is achievable.

This community has come together in recent years to accomplish great things. Business groups, environmental organizations, non-profits and even political parties rallied together to support our County bond projects, improve our transportation system and defend our water.

That spirit of unity must expand in order to face new economic and environmental challenges. And we must go further.

We need the business community to engage on environmental issues. Smart business owners are learning more about how climate change is affecting consumer attitudes, methods of production and the bottom line.

And we need the environmental community to engage on economic issues. An environmental agenda that focuses solely on habitat restoration and open space protection is good. But transforming our local economy from one deeply dependent on land development to one focused on high-tech, clean industry is more sustainable.

Our leading public institutions—and especially the City and the County—must continue to work more closely together, too. I am very proud of the progress we have made. President Shelton, Chancellor Flores, fellow Mayors and tribal leaders and Supervisors and Councilmembers—we are all colleagues and friends. Our shared mission is to serve our people and this place as best we can.

For decades, our community was split on transportation issues between roads and transit. Many plans failed because we could not bridge that divide. Finally, community leaders on both sides realized that we had to come together. We needed both roads and transit. The RTA Plan included both, and our voters approved it.

Now we need to bridge other longstanding divides in our community. The business and environmental communities must come together. Neighbors and developers must come together. We must move forward.

I have laid out today the opportunities I see to begin to bend old swords into plowshares and build a better future for all of Tucson. I ask all community leaders with the vision to see past these old divisions to join with me in this great work.

Thank you. God bless all of you, and God bless Tucson.