It’s time for climate action in Flagstaff

Earlier this year, the Flagstaff City Council set a goal to take meaningful climate action. In response, the City is asking community members, local businesses, and partner institutions to help create Flagstaff's first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

What will this plan do?

The Climate Plan will help the Flagstaff community to identify priorities and funding mechanisms for both mitigation and adaptation action. Mitigation means reducing our contribution to climate change by reducing Flagstaff’s greenhouse gas emissions and includes actions, such as installing solar panels to increase Flagstaff’s renewable energy sources or helping homeowners install energy efficient appliances that reduce our community energy demand.

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Climate adaptation means preparing for changing climate conditions by improving a community's preparedness, as well as reducing a community's vulnerability to extreme events. Examples include improving natural disaster response measures and helping individuals with asthma prepare for poor air quality days caused by wildfires. Flagstaff’s plan is called a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to highlight our focus on both preparedness and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What does this have to do with waste?

A lot, actually! Consumption and disposal of goods has a big impact on our climate:

  • 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the provision of goods and food produced within the United States (EPA). The creation, distribution, consumption and disposal of goods and food we rely on daily all requires energy, but we have opportunities to reduce our impact in every state of the life cycle. Learn more from the EPA here.
  • 13% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the provision of food – which we waste up to 40% of!
  • 1% to 5% of greenhouse gas emissions come from waste management. Check out Flagstaff’s greenhouse gas emissions tracking and how the landfill contributes here.
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The Climate Plan presents an excellent opportunity to solve waste challenges. Since consumption and waste contribute so significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, improvements in recycling and programs that reduce waste should be included as viable mitigation actions in the Flagstaff Climate Plan.

Why get involved?

The climate planning process will help us determine which measures are the most effective and appropriate for the Flagstaff community. Over the next 10 months, we’ll work with community members to understand priorities for action and concerns about vulnerabilities, as well as draft a report based on what we hear. A couple reasons to get involved in the planning process:

  • The plan helps build a more resilient, responsive, and sustainable Flagstaff for its residents, businesses, and visitors.
  • The City has limited resources and many competing demands. This is your opportunity to tell us your priorities and concerns when it comes to sustainable practices and policies related to climate change.
  • This plan will lead directly to projects and money spent on the ground. By participating, you have an influence on public spending and project implementation.

What’s happening now?

  • City staff and our partners are working to analyze climate change impacts in Northern Arizona and the potential risks to our community. We are also planning public outreach and events.
  • A Steering Committee of community members has been formed to guide the planning process.

What’s next?

In late January, we will host our first open house to hear from the Flagstaff community. We want to know what you'd like to see in this plan, and will use this input to create a plan that fits Flagstaff's needs and priorities.

We will also hold additional events this winter and to learn more about the community's priorities and concerns related to climate action. We’ll share our first draft with the community in July. Check out the full planning timeline on the Climate Plan page.

What you can do today:

  1. Sign up for the Climate Plan newsletter: we’ll send you one monthly update, and notifications about public events. Sign up here.
  2. Get the word out: Tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or those you volunteer with about the upcoming planning process. Feel free to forward this email!
  3.  Learn more:
    • Visit our Climate Plan webpage to get details on the Plan timeline and how to get involved.
    • Check out the Climate Impacts page for information on how climate change will impact Northern Arizona – and how the climate is already changing.

If you’d like to chat about the climate plan, have ideas about potential climate actions, or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact Jenny Niemann, the Sustainability Section’s Climate and Energy Specialist, at JNiemann@flagstaffaz.gov or 928-213-2150.

Thank you, and we hope to work with you through this planning process.

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