Sustainability: A Growing Way Of Life In Sedona
By Councilor Dennis Rayner
Sedona, AZ (May 25, 2011) – In January 2011, City Council’s Sustainability Commission had its first meeting. The commission is comprised of nine community volunteers who are enthusiastically dedicated to improving and sustaining our quality of life in Sedona. The mission of this commission is to “advise the City Council regarding policies, programs, regulations, and strategies that will increase public awareness, knowledge and action through best practices in sustainability with measurable outcomes to enhance and enrich our community.”
Among the Commissions goals are to pursue a Bicycle Friendly City designation and pursue International Dark Skies City designation, recommend water conservation policies, help develop Community Gardening Programs, and promote buying food locally, which ensures improved nutritional value of our food and decreases the energy required for food transportation.
Sustainability isn’t just about recycling as important as that is. It’s a philosophy and a way of life that we all have to adopt considering our finite resources worldwide. In fact, Sedona unfortunately recycles only about 15% of its waste, while cities like San Francisco recycle about 75% of their waste. We have a very long way to go on this front.
In November 2008, Sedona City Council adopted a Zero Waste Resolution making it the first city in Arizona to do so and thus joining 200 forward-looking cities worldwide. The city of Sedona’s staff also has a “Green Team” that espouses sustainability practices and this past year their highly successful recycling event collected 10,450 pounds of electronics.
The Sustainability Commission also sees community education on sustainability issues as an important goal. Sedona’s elementary and high schools already teach and promote sustainability practices like recycling. The high school’s “solar farm” is a paramount example of alternative energy and serves as a valuable model for our city. Unfortunately very few homes and businesses in Arizona have solar panels despite the greatly improved tax credits. Sedona should lead the way here too.
As we move forward, it becomes increasingly important that Sedona “walks the talk” and becomes a recognized leader in sustainability practices. This is good for our community, our businesses, and as an example to our visitors from the U.S. and around the world, which look to the U.S. A. for leadership especially on alternative energy and environmental pollution.
We all have an important responsibility to preserve our way of life for our children and future generations and make Sedona all it can and should be. If you are interested in sustainability issues, please attend our Commission. These meetings are open to the public and are held the 4th Wednesday of the month from 9:00 to11:00 a.m. in the Vultee Conference Room at City Hall.
These are the opinions of Dennis Rayner and not necessarily those of the City Council.