VIDEO: Ten Ways Tempe Models Sustainability

Viewpoints Guest Column

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I’m proud to be part of a City Council supportive of sustainability and the “Three Es” – Environment, Economy, and Equity.  Tempe takes care of our residents through innovative programs on water and energy conservation, recycling, composting, alternative transportation, and renewable-energy generation, early-childhood education, a robust human services programs that aim to combat homelessness and assist working families at every turn.


Tempe’s Top Ten Achievements in Sustainability

1.     We created a Sustainability Commission—composed of creative ASU researchers & students, businesses, NGOs, and residents—who advise us on sustainability practices and emerging technologies.

1.      The City created an Office of Sustainability and hired a Sustainability Manager, Braden Kay, who has supercharged our sustainability goals and operations.

2.      The National League of Cities named Tempe as one of country’s Ten Resilient Cities, and ASU staff developed a strategy game for City directors, deputy directors, and City Hall staff to understand resilience and sustainability in a visceral way.

3.      Tempe signed onto Mayors Climate Commitment and is developing a Climate Action Plan, which includes plans to inventory and reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions and address extreme heat and invest in cooling our community. 

4.      Tempe passed a model electric-bike ordinance to encourage use of e-bikes and alternative transportation.

5.      Tempe’s Equal Pay program, which the American Association of University Women lauds as the best Equal Pay program, bar none, of any city in the US includes salary-negotiation workshops and a self-assessment tool for willing businesses.

6.      The City is piloting Tempe PRE, a free Pre-K program that will serve the families of 360 children who could otherwise not afford early-childhood education.

7.      Tempe created a Family Justice Commission, the first of its kind in the nation, focused on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

8.      We’re voting on 11/9 to refer initiatives to the March 2018 ballot that will:

o   shine the light on dark money groups that spend money in our city elections.

o   create a Papago Park Preserve

9.      We’re investing over $50 million to revitalize our neighborhood parks.

10.   Tempe is finalizing an Urban Forestry Master Plan, which will increase our shade from 13% to 26% by 2040 (that’s 96,000 trees!


And lest we forget, Mayor Mitchell, Councilmember Randy Keating, and I are working to advance a 100% Renewable Energy Goal for government operations, engaging residents, experts, utilities, and environmental groups.


In short, Tempe strives to lead the way, as we create waves in the desert! 


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