August 2, 2013
PHOENIX, Ariz. – July 31, 2013 – Local elected officials, business owners and advocates held a press conference today to highlight the impacts of climate change – including extreme heat, drought and air and water quality – on Arizona’s environment, economy and public health.
“The issue of climate change is big and daunting, it’s true,” said State Senator Katie Hobbs.
“But working together, we can create the change necessary to protect our home. It begins with simply caring for each other. When we care for each other, as fellow human beings, caring for our planet becomes a natural progression. I urge you to act with me today to move toward a healthier and brighter future.”
In addition to Senator Hobbs, speakers at the press conference included State Rep. Chad Campbell; Arizona State Climatologist and Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability scientist Nancy Selover; Rep. Ruben Gallego; Lodestar Day Resource Center Executive Director Jessica Berg; Rep. Juan Mendez; Pastor Doug Bland of Arizona Interfaith Power and Light; Senator Katie Hobbs.
The press conference followed President Obama’s historic action on climate change. The President’s plan includes the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, as well as other strategies to prepare America for the effects of climate change.
According to data from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the number of hours per summer day that the temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix has doubled in the last 50 years. In addition, about 93 percent of Arizona counties face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century, and some areas will likely see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds water supply by 2050.
In addition to the press conference, the event at Civic Space Park and A.E. England Building downtown also included a large visual display with 150 red #ActOnClimate umbrellas, informational tables, a speaker series, including a keynote presentation by well-known green architect and author Eric Corey Freed.
"We need to ask how nature creates density through symbiosis and space,” Freed said during his presentation. “Urban sprawl is not an option.”
The speaker series addressed the following regional issues: What is it like for the homeless in the Phoenix summer heat? How does a small business afford high energy costs when summer business slows down? What kind of results would we achieve if everyone worked on the issue of urban heat island effect as a community? How do we create less trash for our landfill to help curb greenhouse gas emissions? What can we do to support clean and renewable energy options in Arizona? How does a vibrant community improve the health and well-being of its people? Together, we can create positive change by acting on climate today.
“The umbrellas provided a nice visual and welcome shade for the brief time we were in the sun,” said attendee Steve Dreiseszun. “Afterwards, they were passed out to homeless individuals in downtown who have no relief.”
Dreiseszun added, “No one on the planet is immune to climate change. Sustainability is a fancy word for survival. We must act before it's too late.”
The event also included a water drive for Lodestar Day Resource Center. All 150 umbrellas were passed out to public transit riders and the homeless population near Civic Space Park, Hance Park and CASS following the event.
Community partners in the event included, Lodestar Day Resource Center, Local First Arizona, ASU Global Institute of Sustainability, Reimagine Phoenix, Green Living Magazine, Energize Phoenix, Decision Center for a Desert City, Roosevelt Row, Arizona Interfaith Power & Light, Sierra Club, Keep Phoenix Beautiful, Environment Arizona, Arizona Forward, Eeko, Rogue Green, CycleHop, organicARCHITECT and many more.
For more information, please visit IWILLACT.US.