Tag Archives: climate change

Saudis Buy Huge Arizona Farmland After Sucking their own Aquifers Dry

Fifteen years ago, the Saudi government told its farmers to grow wheat and paid them 5 times the market price to do so. In a county without a single lake or river, they told farmers to drill as deep as they wanted for water.

Flash forward to 2011: the aquifers were sucked dry. Totally depleted. Bone dry in a country with scant rainfall. What did they do next? The Saudi dairy Almarai came to western Arizona and bought 15 square miles of farmland. They are sucking our aquifers dry by planting alfalfa for export, which requires 4 times more irrigation than wheat.

This is how climate change is bringing competition for water to Arizona, according to a new book, This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America. Author Jeff Nesbit says, “This $47.5 million transaction is an example of the Saudi’s efforts to ensure the country’s dairy business as well as conserving the nation’s resources.”
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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!”

“The Age of Consequences” free climate change film at the Loft

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 AT 7:30PM | FREE ADMISSION

Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson

“Featuring a post-film panel discussion with local experts: Gary Krivokapich Engineer at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base; Edward Beshore, Tucson Group Leader, Citizens Climate Lobby; Dr. Gregg Garfin Director of the Southwest Climate Science Center; Austin Yamada, Director of the Defense and Security Research Institute at the UA; Moderator – Katherine Jacobs, Director of Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

Thanks to our community partners, Citizens Climate Lobby and the UA Institute of the Environment.

The Hurt Locker meets An Inconvenient Truth in The Age of Consequences, a new documentary investigating the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of U.S. national security and global stability.

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, general and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict. Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as “accelerants of instability” and “catalysts for conflict” in volatile regions of the world. These Pentagon insiders make the compelling case that if we go on with business as usual, the consequences of climate change – waves of refugees, failed states, terrorism – will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century. The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism – but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy. As in any military defense and security strategy, time is our most precious resource. (Dir. by Jared P. Scott, 2016, Germany/Spain/Jordan/USA, in English, 80 mins., Rated PG)”

 


“Between Earth & Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” at the Loft

Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 AT 7:30PM | REGULAR ADMISSION PRICES at Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson

“Featuring a post-film panel discussion with local experts, including Dr. Joseph Blankinship, UA Assistant Professor and soil biogeochemist; Moira Hough, PhD candidate  in the UA  Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Dr. Craig Rasmussen, UA Professor of Environmental Pedology. 

Special thanks to our community partners The University of Arizona Institute of the Environment, the University of Arizona Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.

Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.    

Alaska has been the source of myth and legend in the imagination of Americans for centuries, and what was once the last frontier of American expansion, has become the first frontier in climate change.

Between Earth and Sky examines climate change through the lens of impacts to native Alaskans, receding glaciers, and arctic soil. The island of Shishmaref has been home to the Inupiaq people for thousands of years. As sea ice retreats and coastal storms increase, the people of Shishmaref are faced with a disappearing island and a $200 million price tag to move their people with an untold cost on their culture and history. Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) in the Arctic and Subarctic sequesters 40% of the Earth’s soil carbon. Alaska has experienced the largest regional warming of any state in the U.S., increasing 3.4 degrees F since 1949. This warming has created a feedback loop of carbon to the atmosphere and the thawing of permafrost. Mixing interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming, Between Earth and Sky shows the calamity of climate change that has started in Alaska but will soon engulf the globe. (Dir. by Paul Hunton & Jonathan Seaborn, 2016, USA, 80 mins., Not Rated)

Science on Screen pairs current, classic, cult and documentary film with lively introductions by notable figures from the world of science, technology or medicine, allowing audiences to experience the excitement of discovery while enjoying some enlightenment along with their popcorn!

Dr. Joseph Blankinship, University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Dr. Blankinship is a soil biogeochemist and a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. He is the Fellow for the USGS Powell Center Working Group on Soil Carbon Stabilization, an Action Group Leader for the International Soil Carbon Network, and building a research program focused on developing strategies for enhancing soil carbon storage and soil health in degraded arid ecosystems.

Moira Hough, University of Arizona Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Moira Hough is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology studying arctic ecosystems. Her research focuses on understanding how changes in plant and microbial activity impact carbon storage and greenhouse gas release after permafrost thaw. She spent the last three summers working at a field station in northern Sweden and has previously studied sites in northern Siberia and southeastern Alaska.

Dr. Craig Rasmussen, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Dr. Rasmussen is a Professor of Soil Science in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science with over 20 years of experience working in ecosystems ranging from Southwestern deserts to alpine and subalpine forest and grasslands. He has performed extensive research on soil formation, soil organic carbon cycling and sequestration, mineral weathering, and predictive soil mapping.”

https://loftcinema.org/film/between-earth-and-sky-climate-change-on-the-last-frontier/