April 2022
To Prepare for the Future
A Closer Look at the PROTECT Campaign

Last April this magazine published an article, “Climate-Change Risk Rising in Prescott,”  in which we took a closer look at the climate impacts of wildfires and increasing temperatures on our region. We raised concerns about drought and flooding as well, and the relationships of these climate impacts on water and our more vulnerable neighbors in the region.

We closed with this: “Our future quality of life demands that we, as a community, talk, examine and confront these very real climate impacts. Our citizens deserve a safe, resilient and prosperous future. We want a healthy forest that protects our valuable, threatened biodiversity. As citizens we must demand that our regional communities be prepared for climate impacts and conduct our own regional climate-impact risk-assessment.” As we often say, Sedona and the Verde Valley have them, why not us?

Spurred by that story, several environmental organizations and concerned faith communities banded together to create the PROTECT Campaign, with a kickoff event in late July, just days before the City of Prescott elected a new mayor and Council. What a transformational vote that turned out to be! For the first time in years, the sitting Council is open to conversations about climate impact.

So, what is the PROTECT Campaign, and what have we been up to these past eight months.? Our first step was the formation of a nimble, diverse and nonpartisan steering committee, with eight to ten members. It’s a grassroots campaign committed to finding common ground. We didn’t want an event here and there; we want a coordinated campaign employing various strategies and tactics, reaching out more deeply into the region with a quantifiable mission and objective: to protect Prescott and the region from the devastating climate impacts now facing our communities, and to secure public and political support for implementation of a climate-impact vulnerability risk-assessment, similar to the 2020 Climate Profile produced for Sedona and the Verde Valley.

With this mission in mind, we developed a campaign identity that’s all about protection, preparedness and community: Planning for the Resiliency of Our Towns, Environment, Climate and Tourism — PROTECT.

Then we got to work, even through the pandemic. We created a website page (protectcampaign.org) as well as Facebook and Instagram presences, and began to table at events and faith communities. Our followers wrote letters to the editor and even a Talk of the Town column or two in The Daily Courier. We initiated a petition campaign to secure signatures endorsing this call for a climate-vulnerability risk-assessment. We reached out to new potential allies in cosponsoring films and events. In mid-November we raised funds and hired a part-time campaign coordinator.

In December, the new Council instituted a more open and transparent Call to the Public system. That action inspired and empowered us to bring this issue to Council’s attention. We had PROTECT speakers at each Council meeting from December 21 through January. They listened, heard us, and responded. In January Council designated a climate-vulnerability assessment as a priority objective in its 2022 Strategic Plan!

Also in January we kicked off our PROTECT postcard campaign. Check out protectcampaign.org/postcards and download your own. We have dropoff points throughout the community. We wanted to take our petition-signature strategy a step further, with personal messages to our local leadership about the importance of community preparedness and climate planning. This initiative will continue through April.

We have to grow support for the PROTECT Campaign so the City and perhaps other regional partners will take the important next steps of soliciting and hiring a consulting firm to conduct the assessment. In February and March we began to reach out to other Quad-Cities communities. In March we began a series of listening sessions on actual local climate solutions, beyond the more formal climate risk-assessment study, that we will highlight during Earth Week. The community has a great deal planned for Earth Day and Earth Week this year! Check out the website at prescottearthday.org.

The capstone event will be on April 26, when Prescott City Council will hold a study session on PROTECT and our call for a climate risk-assessment, which will enable us to share our campaign story and objectives, and engage in conversation, not based on fear but on hope and practical solutions, regarding the climate impacts facing our community now and into the future. Join us at City Hall on April 26 and show your support for climate preparedness and resiliency in our region.

Earth Week April 2022 Schedule

12: Earth Week Proclamation

Prescott City Council Chambers, 3pm

22-24: Town Hall on the Climate Crisis

Sponsored by Phoenix College, at Prescott College campus;

schedule TBA

22: Earth Day Rally, Courthouse Plaza, 4:30pm

23: Prescott Earth Day Celebration

“We are the Solution,” sponsored by the Greater Prescott Outdoor

Fund, Cortez St, 9am-2pm

24: Earth Care Sunday

26: PROTECT Study Session with Prescott City Council, 1pm

26: 2040

Film sponsored by Prescott Peacebuilders

GPUU, 882 Sunset Ave, 4:30pm

27: “Manage Your Money for a Healthier Earth”

Zoom talk sponsored by Sierra Club Yavapai Group

shorturl.at/knKPZ, 6:30pm

28: “Earth Care Amidst Climate Change”

Interfaith service sponsored by the Interfaith Climate Action Team

First Congregational Church, 216 E. Gurley, 5pm

29: Local Climate Solutions

Talk sponsored by the PROTECT Campaign, place and time TBD

30: Restoration at Perkinsville Bridge and Blessing of the Verde River

Sponsored by the Sierra Club Yavapai Group

Perkinsville Rd at the river, 11:30am

Visit prescottearthday.org for program details and updates.

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