Across Arizona, communities are increasingly forced to deal with the consequences of extreme heat exacerbated by climate change and urban growth. Cities in the region routinely experience more than 30 days above 110 degrees Fahrenheit each summer and growing populations continue to be strained by the complex interactions of extreme heat, atmospheric pollutants, and limited water supplies.
The automotive industry is actively moving away from internal combustion, and as electric vehicles have become increasingly popular, the number of skeptics have grown. A spectrum of concerns has been raised, ranging from uncertainty about the true sustainability of EV production to systemic labor issues in raw material mining. Others have questioned if electric propulsion is even the right way forward, lauding alternatives like hydrogen or e-fuels. There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical, especially when the planet’s climate is at stake, but scientists are saying electric power truly is the way forward.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced which local school districts across the nation, including Arizona, are the winners of a rebate lottery Clean School Bus Program to transition from diesel to electric school buses. This is part of the $5 billion now available as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for clean school buses over the next five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models, prioritizing funding for low-income, rural, and Tribal school districts.
When it comes to preparing for our future, the power of public policy cannot be underestimated. It can bring people together and motivate them to act for the common good. Nowhere is that more apparent than when the focus shifts to a commodity that all will agree is precious to everyone. Water. Without it, life as we know it stops.
As part of their ongoing effort to keep the public informed about how reduced allocations of Colorado River water are impacting the City of Phoenix, Phoenix Water experts will deliver a presentation at various locations in the weeks ahead. The speakers will focus on how the City manages its diverse and robust water supplies, decades of planning and forethought that have put the City in a strong position to handle this eventuality, new infrastructure investments, and other strategies in development to prepare for a hotter, drier climate.
This story, like many, starts with rejection. Jose Gruenzweig grew up in the lush, green hills of Switzerland and studied the cold, wet forests of Alaska before settling into his current position as associate professor of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Israel’s climate is notably drier than those he’d lived in before, with scarce rainfall, mild winters, and hot, dry summers that produced one of the world’s hottest temperatures ever recorded at 129 degrees Fahrenheit. As a keen observer of ecosystems, he couldn’t help but ponder the differences.
Reggie Carrillo knows firsthand that where you live can determine how hot your neighborhood gets. The environmental activist and educator resides in a largely Mexican American area of south-central Phoenix, where segregation once forced Black and Hispanic people to live south of the railroad tracks. More than a half-century later, the historic lack of investment means fewer trees and subsequent temperatures 13 degrees higher than wealthier, leafier neighborhoods just a few miles away.
The Navajo Nation has now received the first of three electric buses to help its largest school district become more energy and fiscally efficient. “Chinle Unified School District is always a leader, so we like that, being first,” Chinle Unified School District Superintendent, Quincey Natay told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “I’ve talked to several districts across Indian Country about this exciting opportunity that my students are going to get to enjoy.” Chinle Unified School District is the largest school district in the Navajo Nation both in number of students and geographic area.
Imagine a different sort of America. Imagine that by 2030, homes, businesses and communities will be powered by more options for clean energy. This is no longer just a pipe dream but a reality, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently brought to life with the signature of President Joe Biden. And let’s not forget Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose pivotal vote helped get the measure across the goal line.
NASA satellite photos show how drastically the water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead have receded in just the past few years. They demonstrate the severity of long-term drought and the challenges Arizona will face to conserve and enhance its precious water supply. Susanna Eden is the research program manager for the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona. She has been with the center for 17 years and has researched water policy and management even longer. The NASA images are shocking, she said, and should concern Arizonans.