Category Archives: Jana Segal

Articles by Jana Segal

The Real Recycling 101

After the city’s falsely named “Recycling 101” event turned out to be more of a budget meeting than a presentation on how to recycle, Sustainable Tucson hosted our own program, “Recycling and Beyond.” We stressed to Sherri Ludlam, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Environmental and General Services, that this time we wanted her to concentrate on the rules for recycling. Her chosen topic was “old and new challenges to Tucson’s recycling program.” One of the new challenges was that China wouldn’t be accepting all of our dirty recycling anymore because of the contamination. Contamination is all the trash that doesn’t belong in recycling – including plastic bags that jam up the machines. That same contamination is costing the company contracted to do our recycling truck loads of money. Our bad. Tucsonans put everything from dirty diapers to dead cats to Saguaros in our recycling cans. Sherri reminded us that there are actual people who sort through all that yucky trash. So don’t throw in anything that you wouldn’t want to find in your own recycling can.
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Celebrate Our Sustainable Future

 

Sustainable Tucson invites you to our holiday party.

St Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Geneva Room,  3809 E 3rd St.
Tuesday, December. 11, 6-8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)

Share the bounty of the season at our holiday potluck. Non-alcoholic drinks provided by Sustainable Tucson. Save a dinosaur; bring your own flatware and glasses.

REASON TO CELEBRATE: If you’ve read the recent IPCC study on climate change, you might not think there is much to celebrate this holiday season. The idea that climate change is progressing faster than first predicted can be quite a jolt, even if you’re already working to fight it. But it could also be an opportunity to come together as a community to envision and create a better, more sustainable and resilient Tucson!

At this year’s holiday party, Sustainable Tucson will be celebrating the possibilities by recreating a festival atmosphere with street fair activities:

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Voting for the Planet

I probably don’t have to remind you how important it is to vote this year. But it is especially vital to safeguarding our remaining environmental protections. This year Rep. McSally completely disregarded our requests to protect our waterways. In fact, she used her clout with the President to urge him to sign a bill allowing mines to dump their toxic tailings into our streams.  See her letter to the President here.

Since President Trump has taken office, there have been so many assaults on our national parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges, endangered animals, the ocean, our water, and even the air we breathe. Our so-called representatives worked to repeal or dismantle hard fought for environmental protections: Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Act, Clean Water Rule, Methane Waste Prevention Rule, Clean Air Act, Emissions Standards, Endangered Species Act, to name a few.

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard

Here is a list of some environmental assaults that I’ve compiled since Pres. Trump took office, aptly named “Crimes Against Humanity.” (I haven’t had time to completely update it.  It’s hard keeping up with them all!)

Putting a hold on the Clean Power Plan made Sustainable Tucson’s advocacy team’s fight against TEP’s 10 gas-fired engines so much more difficult (if not impossible). Read my blog about our struggle here.

If you would like to help our efforts in encouraging TEP to transition quicker to clean energy, there are two things you can do. 1) Vote “yes” on prop. 127, the citizens initiative that requires them to transition to 50% clean energy by 2030. Read: Renewable Energy and Prop 127, in a nutshell by Paul Hirt.  2) Vote for members of the Arizona Corporation Commission who haven’t been bought by the utility companies.

The Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter endorses Sandra Kennedy and Kianna Sears for the ACC.

Sandra Kennedy previously served in the Arizona Legislature and as a Corporation Commissioner. She is a strong advocate for solar energy and energy savings through efficiency and conservation, and she supports Proposition 127. Sandra has repeatedly opposed efforts to weaken Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard, including by voting against trash burning as a renewable energy resource. Sierra Club gives Sandra Kennedy a strong endorsement.

Kiana Sears wants to help put the Arizona Corporation Commission back on track to do its job to hold utilities accountable. She supports Proposition 127 and significantly increasing our state’s commitment to clean renewable energy such as solar and wind. She also wants to see the Commission do more to watchdog private water companies. Sierra Club is pleased to endorse Kiana Sears for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

You can read the Sierra Club’s voter guide here.

The Sierra Club didn’t mention Mine Inspector Candidate Pill Pierce. But Blog for Arizona writer David Gordon wrote:

Democrat AZ Mine Inspector Candidate Bill Pierce Will Protect Us from Soil and Water Contamination

It is also important to vote for Arizona legislators who aren’t trying to dismantle our environmental protections.

In the past year, Sustainable Tucson’s advocacy team submitted Requests to Speak in response to several bills that would weaken the Arizona Water Law that requires proof that there is 100 years worth of water before applications for new developments are approved. Realtor Gail Griffin, the chair of the Natural Resources, Energy and Water committee, fought tooth and nail to weaken these laws so they can push through a new development that would drain the one river in Arizona that still flows year round: the San Pedro.

The Republican majority of our state legislator made it a priority to dismantle regulations. They even made it illegal for towns to ban plastic bags. (How’s that for the party of “Freedom” and eliminating government overreach?)

The newest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). states that Climate Change is worse than first thought, but… humans can still prevent the worst effects.  This election is an opportunity to make a real difference by voting for the planet.

Looking forward to seeing lots of “I VOTED” stickers – or better yet – “I voted for the planet!”

Tell the EPA don’t restrict the use of science

It is vitally important that the Environmental Protection Agency rely on the best possible science to ensure that we have clean air and clean water.   I believe that the EPA’s refusal to factor in the most recent science hurt our community’s efforts to fight TEP’s permit for the 10 RICE gas-fired engines.  And now the EPA is proposing a new rule that would further restrict the agency’s ability to rely on the best available science!

I recently received a response from the Pima Department of Environmental Quality regarding the public comments submitted on TEP’s permit to install the 10 RICE gas-fired engines in Tucson. I want to thank the members of Sustainable Tucson, the Sierra Club, and other community members who took the time to go on record regarding this important issue. While our letters didn’t result in PDEQ rejecting TEP’s permit, we did slow down the process. (It took five months for them to review the comments and approve it.) And they did revise a number of permit conditions including: annual monitoring and reporting to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with the carbon monoxide emission limits for the RICE, and a condition that they would decommission the old generators before the new engines are installed.

Summary of their decision.

Within 30 days after service of this notice announcing the final permit decision, any person who filed comments on the proposed permit for the TEP Irvington Generating Station or participated in any of the public hearings for the TEP Irvington Generating Station may petition EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to review any condition of the final permit.

One of the problems our community faced in responding to how TEP’s permit complied with PDEQ’s code was the absence of carbon dioxide standards. That’s right! The code doesn’t include carbon dioxide standards because Scott Pruitt put a hold on the Clean Power Plan.  This is just one example of how vital it is for the EPA rely on the best available science when making decisions!

Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule that would restrict the agency’s ability to rely on the best available science.  According tho the Union of Concerned Scientist, this is nothing more than an attempt to undermine the EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment. Our air, water, and health all rely on the EPA using the best available science in decision making.

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City Council, Stop allowing City Maintenance to Poison Tucson

It’s no secret my fondness for edible weeds or my complete disdain for Round Up. I hung a sign in the alleyway, “No Poison, Please. Edible Weeds Grow Here.” I’ve done my best to educate the poor, misguided landscapers and maintenance workers who spray Round Up on every little weed and even baby palm trees. (Won’t kill ’em anyway…) Sometimes I’m more successful than others. At a recent city council meeting, a woman took advantage of the public hearing period to urge the council to stop weeds from coming up this monsoon season by spraying pre-emergent herbicide all over town. Right then and there I decided to use my time to speak up about it. But Mayor Rothschild, in his great wisdom, had me speak on my other issue instead. That was just the nudge I needed to share my concerns with him and all the city council members in great detail… including links. lol

Feel free to write your Council Member too!

Find your ward here.

Contact info for Council Members here

Following the city’s example

Dear Mayor Jonathon Rothschild and Council Members:

I’ve been meaning to speak up at a city council meeting about the transportation department’s overuse of herbicides for some time. After my mom got a severe headache from breathing in the Round Up sprayed in a right of way on our street, I spoke to the landscaper about it. He replied, “The city sprays it everywhere, so can we.”

Since then I have been very aware of herbicides sprayed on city property. The other day I was stunned to see an entire lot covered with it. Recently I walked by the County Public Service Center building. In the catchment basins – that should be an example of the best water-harvesting practices – there were turquoise patches of weed killer. Right where the rainwater sinks in to restore our aquifer! I brought this up to t
Department of Environmental Quality just to be told that was the work of the city maintenance department.

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