Perspective by Patrick Grady
Yes, action by individuals on climate is important — very important.
Personal actions do influence behavioral change across society. But the climate impacts we face in the Southwest and our own community also require collective action, and we are fortunate to have neighbors like Flagstaff and Sedona that are showing us a path forward. We simply have to analyze the impacts and make policy choices that will work in our community. So, where to start?
One: Rely more on renewable energy; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, first in City operations, and then community-wide. The two most important sources are transportation and fuel, and powering existing buildings. Options:
Undertake a full-scale energy audit for all municipal and County facilities.
Convert city vehicles to electric.
Provide electric-vehicle charging stations.
Reduce energy use in City facilities through conversion to solar power.
Retrofit old buildings.
Promote pedestrian walkability and safe bike lanes.
There are more ideas that we have all seen in presentations around our community recently.
Two: Examine local planning processes.
Integrate sustainability into local and County-wide general plans.
Undertake a climate vulnerability assessment at the local level.
Embed climate impacts into emergency-management planning.
Integrate proposed actions into the various municipal codes and regulations.
The first focus should be adopting green building codes for new residential and commercial development, including solar and energy-efficient air-conditioning and furnaces, the use of drought-resistant plants, rainwater harvesting and other ideas.
Three: Localize food and minimize transportation impact.
On the whole, our food system is the largest sector contributing to carbon-dioxide and methane emissions worldwide. To reduce food waste, we can keep it out of the landfill and create more composting options for everyone. To conserve and expand agricultural areas, we can increase awareness and emphasis within all local institutions to encourage a plant-based diet.
Four: Join in community with others.
Attend marches and rallies. Make climate change an electoral issue. Vote for candidates who support clean energy and action on climate. Talk with your family, friends, neighbors and fellow church members. Make action on climate change a moral imperative. Make every day Earth Day.
Five: Build a movement that has the scale and power to implement a range of actions.
Many of you reading this have attended scores of events over the past few years. Now it’s time to make a collective choice to join with others to create the vision we want.
Is it possible? Yes! But, you may say, “we're not Flagstaff or Sedona.” It's true, we aren’t. But we share many common concerns with those cities, and we can learn from one another. Flagstaff’s 2018 Climate Adaptation Plan is focused on eight key sectors that clearly mirror our concerns here in Prescott — the natural environment, water, energy, transportation and land use, waste and consumption, public health and safety, prosperity and recreation. Sound familiar? Flag's vision is to be a resilient community.
Now, take a quick look at Sedona. A 2019 review by the city's Sustainability Office identified a number of notable accomplishments:
Updated building codes
The City’s purchase of its first electric vehicle
Installation of a solar PV system on carports at City Hall, in partnership with APS
Completion of the City’s first municipal and community-wide greenhouse-gas inventory
Sedona recently finalized its first Municipal Sustainability Plan, which “outlines clear steps to addressing sustainability and resilience in City operations over the next two years.”
There’s that word “resilient” again. It means, simply, the ability to look to the future and prepare now to be able to adapt to changing conditions, including population growth, climate impacts, new health risks, transportation impacts, more devastating wildfire potential, and the list goes on.
So, first we educate ourselves, then we are empowered to act. If this call to action speaks to you, we invite you to our April 22 panel event during Earth Week, Sustainability for a Bright Future, featuring participants from the City of Sedona, the Sustainability Alliance, Prescott College and YCCC; and to our April 23 event, What’s Next, Prescott?, hosted by myself representing the Yavapai Climate Change Coalition and Kari Hull of the Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance.
These discussions will encourage a community-driven agenda around climate impacts and sustainability for 2020 and into the future. For a schedule of all events in the Prescott region, links and registration, visit the NAZCCA website:
NAZCCA 2020 Regional Earth Week
Online Events April 11-24 in Prescott, Sedona, Cottonwood and Flagstaff
Saturday April 11, 4-6pm:
Virtual Poster Painting Party for Earth Day!
We’ll connect people throughout the country and maybe even the globe to create images of Earth Day posters that we can share online. Sponsored by the NAZCCA Youth Activist Team in Prescott.
Password: NAZCCA (required)
Tuesday April 14, 3pm:
Prescott City Council Earth Day Proclamation
Join the livestream of the Council meeting and watch the Mayor read the Earth Day/Week Proclamation. Sponsored by the Greater Prescott Outdoor Fund and YCCC.
Saturday April 18, 9-11am:
Passion for the Planet, Second Annual Earth Week Youth Summit
Witness a passionate and engaged panel of young people as they discuss the topics they care about and answer your questions.
This digital event will have panelists from around the world.
Tuesday April 21, 11am:
Spotlight on Climate on Radio Sunnyside
NAZCCA is sponsoring this new program on Flagstaff radio station KSZN (101.5 FM) every Tuesday. Host Tim Aydelott will be interviewing a series of speakers, including those who have been NAZCCA presenters, NAZCCA Climate Elders, NAU climate experts, and community climate activists and problem-solvers of all sorts. Listen here.
Tuesday April 21, 6:30-830pm:
Climate Change Solutions: Political or Personal? with Dr. Gary Beverly
Gary will be hosting this prerecorded video webinar, and will be available for a live Q&A for attendees. The presentation explores both personal and policy solutions, including the Green New Deal and the book Drawdown.
Wednesday April 22, 1:30-3:30pm:
Fifty Years of Earth Day Celebrations, a Webinar Panel
NAZCCA welcomes Cottonwood Mayor Tim Eliniski, Legislative District 6 Representative Walt Blackman, and candidates running for office: Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans (for LD6 representative), Felicia French (for LD6 Senator) and county Supervisor candidate Donna Michaels. It is essential that we all hear from our lawmakers and candidates on this threat to human existence. This is an historic moment in which the citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition and bravery we need to address our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future. Registration is required to attend this webinar, and space is limited. Please register as soon as possible to secure your spot!
Wednesday April 22, 4-6pm:
Sustainability: Think Globally, Act Locally
Join NAZCCA on Earth Day for a regional look at local practices around sustainability, resiliency, and climate planning and preparedness. YCCC Chair and NAZCCA Board Member Patrick Grady will be moderating a webinar panel featuring Prescott College Director Laird Christensen, MS in Resilient and Sustainable Communities, City of Sedona Sustainability Coordinator McKenzie Jones, Darcy Hitchcock of the Sustainability Alliance. and Debbie Cotton, YCCC lead volunteer for city engagement. Registration is required to attend this webinar, and space is limited. Please register as soon as possible to secure your spot!
Wednesday April 22, 5-6pm:
Cottonwood Earth March
In concert with the Earth Day Network, the march may be digital or potentially a socially distanced gathering along Hihghway 89A from the Food City lot to Dunkin Donuts. About 200,000 people marched in 1970 — how many will participate on the 50th anniversary?
Watch for this event on Facebook Live!
Thursday April 23, 1-3pm:
What's Next, Prescott?
NAZCCA community organizer Kari Hull and YCCC Chair Patrick Grady will lead a conversation to explore how the local climate movement is building scale and moving from mobilizing to meaningful sustainability action at the local level.
Password: NAZCCA (required)
Thursday April 23, 6:30pm:
Thank You Earth Drum Circle
Join us via Facebook Live on this New Moon evening for a special ceremony of gratitude for our Mother Earth.
Watch for this event on Facebook Live!
Friday April 24, 9am:
Arbor Day Tree-Planting Ceremony
Along with the City of Cottonwood and the NAU EcoCulture Restoration Center, NAZCCA will plant several trees throughout Cottonwood. Mayor Tim Elinski will share the City of Cottonwood Arbor Day proclamation. Join the livestreamed tree-planting ceremony — watch for this event on Facebook Live!
Friday April 24, 6-8pm:
Art Mojo! Create for the love of the earth!
Join us for a creative, interactive celebration of the earth! Watch and learn dance moves, draw, paint or craft a little, listen to some music and even jam along with the Youth Action Team.
Visit the sites below for detailed information on all the online events that Northern Arizona Climate Change is sponsoring or co-sponsoring during its first ever Regional “Virtual” Earth Week.