Category Archives: Environment

An evening of “Urban Is” with Vital Voices

Vital Voices Urban eventConsider coming to support Vital Voices as we explore “Urban is” with Bboy House at the Cyphers Center for Urban Arts, Thursday, August 15.  The Herberger Institute’s Socially Engaged Practice is teaming up with Project Humanities this year to help design these participatory, thought-provoking evenings of community dialogue.

Events are free and refreshments are provided.

Celebrate Earth Day 2013 in Downtown Phoenix

DPR_standardFrom April 22 – 27, Downtown Phoenix will become spring cleaning headquarters as Spring Cleaning Week brings together the community and business to beautify Downtown Phoenix.

This weeklong donation and recycling drive will end with a giant charity I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale with all proceeds used to bring shade, greening and art to our streets.
How can you join in?
Clean out your closets, donate your items and shop our Street Sale.

Spring Cleaning Week is proudly brought to you by Downtown Phoenix Recycles, The Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and Keep Phoenix Beautiful.

For complete details, visit

“Not a Plastic Bag: Artist-Made Tote Bags” exhibit, Sept. 21 to Nov. 3

[Source: MADE Art Boutique] – Why should we be concerned with single-use non-biodegradable disposal plastic bags? A 1,000-mile wide collection of discarded plastics, mostly blown from land, currently floats in the ocean in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. This island of discarded plastics is estimately to weigh over 18 million tons.

Thirteen local artists are recycling used plastic bags and creating tote bags in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. None will end up in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

  • Date: Opening Reception, Third Friday, September 21, 2012; exhibit to run through November 3
  • Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Place: MADE, 922 N. Fifth St., Phoenix AZ

2012 AridLID Conference

The 2012 AridLID conference takes place in Tucson from March 27 to March 29th. Early-bird registration ends February 10.

Learn more here:

AridLID is an annual conference on green infrastructure and low impact development in arid regions–terms that describe the practice of using natural systems (plants, soils, water, etc.) to provide services like cleaning air and water, providing wildlife habitat, and calming traffic. The event features dynamic presentations and engaging breakout sessions on topics like urban greening, sustainable storm- and rainwater management, urban planning, landscape architecture, and water policy.

For the past two years, the AridLID Workshops held in Albuquerque, New Mexico have built a growing discussion and exposition of Green Infrastructure (GI) and Low Impact Development (LID) practices that are appropriate to the unique climates of the southwestern U.S. In 2012, we are holding the conference in Tucson, Arizona, with the twin goals of sharing best practices and building professional networks across a wider swath of the region, and of developing a clearer Southwestern vision and voice in the growing national discussion on GI/LID.

The theme of AridLID 2012 is Integrated Approaches to Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development. Green Infrastructure projects function best and are most cost-effective when they provide multiple benefits­—like a streetside bioretention basin that captures and cleans stormwater while it passively irrigates vegetation that shades the street and sidewalk, beautifies a neighborhood, and calms traffic. Likewise, effective green infrastructure practice often requires that people of various disciplines and perspectives work together—think landscape architects, engineers, and stormwater managers working together with a watershed group, a neighborhood association, and a University laboratory to achieve shared goals! This conference will explore the potentials, best practices and pitfalls inherent in GI at various levels of integration in our region.

State of Sustainability Forum

Flyer for DVC's State of Sustainability forum

PHOENIX, Arizona – A panel of local experts and Andrew Ross, author of “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City,” will discuss the current state of sustainability in metropolitan Phoenix at a public forum on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  The event, free to the public, will be held at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center at 415 E. Grant Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., panel discussion 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., audience Q&A 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and reception with complimentary refreshments 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

RSVP on Facebook / Join DVC on Facebook

Panel moderator will be Charles Redman, Arizona State University (ASU) Virginia M. Ullmann professor of Natural History and the Environment and founding director of the ASU School of Sustainability. The current slate of panelists (with two to be added soon) includes:

  • Steve Betts, former president/CEO of SunCor Development and current Arizona District Council Chair of the Urban Land Institute;
  • George Brooks, NxT Horizon Group and sustainability consultant
  • Terry Goddard, former Phoenix mayor and former Arizona attorney general who now teaches a course at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus: “Phoenix and the Art of Public Decision Making;”
  • Taz Loomans, architect and writer/blogger on sustainability issues;
  • Eva Olivas, executive director, Phoenix Revitalization Core
  • Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.
  • Silvia Urrutia, director of Housing and Healthcare Finance, Raza Development Fund

According to Susan Copeland, steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition, “Issues of sustainability are paramount to the future of Phoenix. Ross’ book is a great springboard from which to begin, or continue, discussion.”

The Downtown Voices Coalition is sponsoring the event with in-kind support from the Lexington Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Four Peaks Brewery of Tempe and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Bird on Fire” is available at Made Art Boutique, 922 North 5th Street in downtown Phoenix and at Changing Hands Bookstore at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. It is also available at Burton Barr, Cesar Chavez and Mesquite Branch libraries in Phoenix.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit

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Building Community: From Empty Spaces to Meeting Places

[editor’s note: A new feature that we’ll have here on the DVC blog are posts from Steering Committee members. The viewpoints presented in these points are those of the individual and not necessarily those of the Downtown Voices Coalition or the Steering Committee.]

With all the discussion groups, symposiums and conferences given on the subject, it seems the best places to create a strong community might just be the coffee house, dog park or potluck table. My own “Building Community Cinema” series is rooted in seeing a movie, but with a location conducive to an after-film chat and chew.

This column explores the roots of place, and how place can separate or enhance a community.

“Building Community: From Empty Spaces to Meeting Places” by Julian Dobson

How will community be built in the 21st century? If you want to know the lie of the land, sometimes you must literally see how the land lies and what human beings have done to it.

Ancient settlements were connected by trade routes and divided by fault lines: valleys, rivers and hills were means meeting or contested territory. This week I was in Luton, where the barriers and bridges, physical and psychological, were obvious – sometimes painfully so.

But just as physical places can create psychological barriers, they can also help bring them down.

Looking around Luton and listening to the stories of two men whose work is to build bridges between faiths and cultures, I was reminded of the kaleidoscopic complexities of building communities. But sitting with them and chatting and observing the trust between them, I came away optimistic that we can devise meetings of body and mind that can move beyond an ubiquitous blandness into a serious engagement with people’s real selves.

Read the entire article here.

Steve Weiss
Executive Director, No Festival Required
Steering Committee, Downtown Voices Coalition

Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony is September 17

Valley Forward is hosting their 31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards on September 17 at the Westin Kierland Resort.

Valley Forward Association’s 31st Annual Environmental Excellence Awards program, held in partnership with SRP for the tenth consecutive year, is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011, at The Westin Kierland.

This prestigious program has grown significantly over the years and now encompasses seven broad categories, including buildings and structures, livable communities, site development and landscape, art in public places, environmental technologies, environmental education/communication, and environmental stewardship (SRP Award).

Read more here, plus watch a video from KAET’s Horizon program highlighting the 2010 awardees. There’s also a link to register to attend this year’s ceremony.

Valley Forward updates Environmental Education directory

Valley Forward is working diligently this summer to update their online Environmental Education Resource Directory, a comprehensive listing of Valley Forward member organizations providing educational programs, activities and curriculum on environmental issues. Topics of particular interest include: agriculture, air, archeology, conservation, energy land use, recycling, waste, water, wildlife and nature.

The directory will be showcased to the more than 400 Arizona teachers in attendance at Valley Forward’s annual EarthFest Educators Night this October, in addition to being an ongoing resource for educators, parents and Valley residents.

If you have an educational resource that should be in the directory, download the form and send it in.

Earth Day Phoenix 2011

The official Phoenix celebration of Earth Day will be held on Thursday, April 21 in Cesar Chavez Plaza from 11-2. The City of Phoenix Sustainability HUB will showcase most of the city’s sustainable programs in one location near Jefferson Street.

Within the  100 other booths you’ll find reusable grocery bags, Sun Chips (in the newly reformulated environmental bag), samples from Coke and Nestle Water as well as hot-dogs provided by Republic Services.

Come by and learn more about what YOU can do for the environment in your every day life.


What:                Earth Day Phoenix 2011
Date:                Thursday, April 21
Time:                11 AM to 2 PM
Location:          Cesar Chavez Plaza  (2nd Ave between Jefferson & Washington)
Who:                Everyone welcome
Cost:                FREE

News: Valley employers reduce commutes, alleviate pollution

[Source: Valley Metro]

February’s ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge reduces pollution by 8,114 pounds

How many cars on Valley roadways have just one passenger when they could carry more, and how much pollution and traffic congestion could be alleviated if more of us share the ride?

During February’s Rideshare Month, 36 companies answered Valley Metro’s ‘Try 1 in 5’ Employer Challenge by asking their employees to help reduce pollution by taking alternative forms of transportation to work instead of driving alone. Employees stepped up to the challenge as they banded together to carpool or vanpool;  worked from home ; biked or walked to work, or rode the bus and light rail as a way to share the commute.. During the one week challenge Feb. 13-19 participating employers saved 373,263 miles from being driven alone and kept an estimated 8,114 pounds of pollution (or four tons) out of the air.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, every 46 miles driven generates 1 pound of pollution. Challenge participants resolved to ‘Try 1 in 5’ by tracking their alternative mode usage during the week and submitting the results to Valley Metro at the end of the week.

“Imagine the difference we could make in our air quality when more of us take action,” said Dave Boggs, executive director of Valley Metro. “We’re approaching the time of year when high temperatures and vehicle emissions combine to create unhealthy ground-level ozone pollution. Can you commit to try to share a trip at least once a week?”

Winning the ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge in the small employer category was WorldatWork, a Scottsdale-based, not-for-profit organization that provides education, conferences and research for human resource professionals. Exactly 45 percent of their 111 employees participated by carpooling, teleworking, biking and walking to work.

Winning the ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge in the medium-size employer category was Desert Mountain Club, Inc., a private golf community in Scottsdale. Their employees vanpooled and carpooled to work, saving 54,979 miles from being driven alone.

SRP won the challenge in the large employer category, with 8 percent participation from more than 4,000 employees who carpooled, vanpooled, rode bus or light rail, biked, walked, or worked from home. That modest percentage of staff saved 40,620 miles from being driven alone.

Each winner will receive a Clean Air Campaign Award at Valley Metro’s annual awards luncheon to be held later this year. All employers participating in the challenge are part of the Maricopa County Trip Reduction Program, which asks organizations with more than 50 employees or driving-age students at a single worksite to promote alternative modes of transportation to its commuters.

Try 1 in 5 and Rideshare Month are programs  of the Clean Air Campaign, which is sponsored by the Maricopa Association of Governments, Maricopa County Air Quality Department and the Arizona Departments of Environmental Quality and Transportation.

Valley Metro/RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system.


Susan Tierney
Public Information Officer
602.523.6004 (O)
602.292.4093 (M)

Kimberly Gale
R&R Partners
480.317.6082 (O)
480.388.9752 (M)