News




This page provides a log of activity by the Sustainability Alliance
 (most recent at the top)

 


Courtesy Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphoto

 

Winter 2017

Click here for the November newsletter which includes:

  • Sedona assessment

  • SedonaFreeTV video

  • Survey on sustainability priorities

  • EarthFest workshop

 

Fall 2017

Click here for the fall newsletter. 

  • Cornucopia joins the Alliance.

  • New certified sustainable businesses in Camp Verde, the Town of Clarkdale, Cottonwood,  and Sedona.

  • We can take tax deductible donations. 

  • Plans for Earth Day 2018.

Summer 2017

Sustainability Alliance is mentioned in the Chamber's Hometown Guide, along with a number of our members. http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/MaddenMedia/sedona-2017-2018-hometown-guide/2017030801/#10

Spring 2017

Click here for the Spring newsletter.

Feb/Mar 2017 Read newsletter

Highlights from this period

  • Six more businesses have been certified since the beginning of the year. One is potentially a Gold/Sustainable business!

  • Started a Facebook page (@SustainabilityAllianceAZ) so please like and follow us.

    Asked to meet with City Manager of Sedona to see how we can help them create a more sustainable community .

  • Met with Friends of the Verde Greenway. The Verde River Basin Partnership merged with them.

  • Sustainability in Schools Symposium has 18 registrations so far.

  • Beginning to meet with sister organizations to develop recommendations for the metrics in our Community Dashboard of sustainability indicators.

Dec 2016/Jan 2017 Read newsletter

IN THE NEWS: We will be speaking at Keep Sedona Beautiful on Jan 11. See this news story in the Red Rock News.
More... 

Education: Teacher training at Big Park was a big success.
Principal Debbie Jones said,

"I thought the workshop was of great value and teachers have been very positive about incorporating what was learned.”

Business: Our initial group of certified businesses are...

Community: The Alliance was mentioned repeatedly as a resource for the Chamber and Verde Valley Sedona Tourism Council to help them meet criteria for becoming a sustainable destination.

We are also working on a Dashboard of Community Indicators so we can report on things like poverty by community, the amount of renewable energy produced by each community, water quality and availability, etc.


Sept/Oct/Nov 2016  Read newsletter...

Education: Planning teacher training for Big Park School in December. Designed an instructional game on climate change.

Business: In the final stages of getting an initial group of businesses certified for the public launch at KSB in January.

Community: Been in contact with the two groups managing tourism based websites in the region. Our work may help Sedona qualify for National Geographic's Sustainable Destinations certification and both websites are eager to promote the businesses we certify.

June/July/August 2016

BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY

Did you know that...

  • One business in Sedona pays to offset part of their carbon emissions and uses the money to put solar on schools?
  • One small restaurant pays profit sharing to its employees and currently has an employee on 6-months paternity leave?
We didn't. Wouldn't you like to patronize businesses that make our community better? Soon you will be able to 'vote with your wallet' by looking for the Sustainable Business Certification.

We are in the process of certifying businesses in the following industries: restaurants, hotels, groceries, realtors, retail and entertainment venues. This fall we will be releasing the list of certified businesses during the 'soft launch' and will begin soliciting more businesses to see if they qualify.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINBILITY
We are now working with a half-dozen schools in the area. Most recently, we facilitated the creation of a sustainability plan at the Sedona Charter School. Now they have sustainability metrics for all their major impacts, defined a sustainable target for each and have built a long-term plan to get there.







April/May 2016

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY—INFRASTRUCTURE

We have provided recommendations to the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona on solving the traffic problems. Our set of 5 integrated strategies would maximize the use of our existing infrastructure while creating new economic opportunities. 

We have also given the City of Sedona input on their Stormwater Management Plan, emphasizing the importance of using ‘green infrastructure’ to reduce water going into the traditional stormwater system while making beneficial use of the runoff.


We continue to refine our Dashboard of Community Indicators. You may be shocked to hear that based on the data we've collected, the Verde Valley only recovers (recycles) about 5% of our waste when communities around Phoenix exceed 20%. San Francisco, the presumed leader in the US, recovers almost 80%.


BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY—CERTIFICATION   

We continued to test and get feedback on our Sustainable Business Certification. Our plans are to certify selected businesses during the summer, representing a wide range of different industries, and then promote its use more widely. Anugito ten Voorde with Artline Graphics is helping us refine the certification badge that companies will be able to use to promote their certification.


EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY—SCHOOL SUPPORT

Big Park School—We worked with two teachers to help them design a summer STEAM Camp (STEAM=science, technology, engineering, art and math). We have also offered our services to help Big Park integrate sustainability principles into their curriculum as they move toward an International Baccalaureate certification.

Sedona Charter School—We conducted the Sustainability in Schools Game with key staff to help them uncover potential sustainability projects. Jean Turocy, with Sedona Recycles, has been teaching a sustainability elective there in the past year. Lisa Hirsch will be joining our meetings as she can so we can continue to support the school’s efforts and may help them build a Sustainability Plan.


Verde Valley School—We helped them secure a greenhouse for their long-range plan to expand their farm, producing food for their cafeteria, local restaurants, and the Bountiful Kitchen hunger program for kids. We also have helped them gather data for a Sustainability Report.


Social Entrepreneurship Microloan Program—This summer we will be reaching out to key teachers, especially in business or vocational programs, to see if our microloan program might spur interest in social entrepreneurship ventures which might make money for the schools.
 

February/March 2016

Community Sustainability: We are refining the dashboard of sustainability indicators and plan to release them via news articles as they are ready. So far we have pretty good data on recycling rates for the region, renewable energy generation by city, hunger by city, and livability by city.  Sedona Recycles is planning an Earth Day event on April 23 where a couple of our members are participating.

Business Sustainability: The certification content is in good shape but we are waiting for the online system to be built. Since one of our members is doing this as a volunteer, we much be patient. This summer we plan to certify a couple businesses in approximately 10 different local industries, choosing businesses known for their leadership, and engage them in helping to promote the certification to others in their industry. We are also starting to submit articles to the Sedona Chamber to educate local businesses about the business case for sustainability.

Education for Sustainability: We are working with Big Park School to plan a Sustainability STEAM Summer Camp (STEAM=Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). We continue to work with Verde Valley School (VVS) to develop their sustainability plan, and are available for other schools that want our assistance. Our members are also working with VVS to develop a Food Hub, where VVS would grow food not only for their own kitchen but also the Bountiful Kitchen for school kids. They plan to sell their plants at local Farmer’s Markets and sell produce to local restaurants.

January 2016

Community Sustainability: We met with Arizona Water to explore ways to collaborate.  We are seeking a new member from Keep Sedona Beautiful. Our members are collaborating on plans for Earth Day events.

Business Sustainability: We continue to work on the business certification and have developed a logo; also clarified our relationship with the Chamber and will help them create a page for their website. Artist Tiffany Davis-Rustam has graciously offered to help us develop a logo for that certification. (See the draft to the right.) We are also in discussions with author Bob Willard about how to integrate this with his FutureFit indicators.

Education for Sustainability: We are planning to collaborate with Big Park School to offer a Sustainability STEM Camp this summer.

November/December 2015

We have found a lot of benefit in collaborating across disciplines. This post summarizes our accomplishments from 2015 and our plans for 2016.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2015:

BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY: Drafted a business certification system after assessing other existing systems; are working with the Sedona Chamber to explore its use

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Started a dashboard of metrics to track how sustainable our communities are (including greenhouse gases, waste recovery, livability, onsite energy generation). Also developed a ‘middle way’ recommendation for the use of The Dells, the land opposite the wastewater treatment center.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: Developed and distributed the Sustainability in Schools game. Held a summer workshop for teachers and administrators. Offered support services to 5 local schools. Funded the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Microloan for Schools.


2016 STRATEGY IN A NUTSHELL

BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY: Develop the Business Certification and make it available in different parts of the Verde Valley. Get feedback in the first half of the year and launch by June. Build a database of local service providers who can help businesses be more sustainable. Where appropriate, develop How-To sheets to address shared needs.

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Continue gathering dashboard data and use Facebook to distribute to our ‘base’. Selectively use other media. Re The Dells, wait until public hearings are imminent. Then gather support for our approach and make a presentation to the City. In the mean time, gather information about appropriate technologies. Work with Arizona Water on water conservation outreach.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: Offer summer camp in conjunction with Big Park school in a way that might set up demand for the micro loan program; work with three schools providing in depth support: sustainability reporting, sustainability club and/or green team.
 

October 2015

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
Working on a Dashboard of sustainability metrics and targets. Struggling a bit with getting data from some vendors like APS.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Under Gardens for Humanity, we are offering a sustainable business entrepreneurship micro-loan program for schools and students. Student clubs may want to purchase equipment to make products out of recycled materials or grow herbs to sell, generating income for the school. This will be a revolving loan.

We offered our services free to 9 local schools and are currently working with five on projects they had in mind.

We are also finding out what summer school programs are planned for next summer. We may offer a sustainability-focused program.

BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce asked if we could build a 'green business certification' for their members. This opens up a new sector for us to engage. We assessed existing systems against our criteria (including being easy and cheap/free to complete, have levels of performance, include full sustainability and social/economic as well as environmental issues) and found them lacking. So we are building a proprietary survey that is both simple and powerful. We are testing it now, refining the items and scoring. Businesses that have already been certified under a different system (eg, Trip Advisor, B-Corp) will automatically get credit for a level of performance under our system. So far the testing is showing that businesses already tuned in to sustainability are impressed with its elegance and are finding new ideas they want to implement.

Annual Report

This slide show summarizes our accomplishments since we first started meeting in May 2014.


 

August/September 2015

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY

1) THE DELLS

We developed a proposal for what we see as the best use of The Dells, the land opposite the waste water treatment facility, to best support our future sustainability. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Decisions made by the City Council will have impacts—positive or negative—for decades into the future. We believe our proposal represents a middle ground between the committee’s proposal and dissenting counter proposal.


2) SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS CERTIFICATION

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce indicated that they had been wanting a ‘green business certification’ for their members. We’ve evaluated likely available systems and are starting talks with Local First Arizona which has similar plans. Stay tuned!

3) TARGETS AND METRICS

We are working on ways to measure how sustainable our communities are. As a first step, and if we can get access to the data, we may conduct a greenhouse gas inventory for local cities.



EDUCATION

We recently held a focus group of educators interested in sustainability. As a result of what we learned, these are our main initiatives.


1) GATHER DATA ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUSTAINABILITY AND LEARNING, ACHIEVEMENT AND EMPLOYMENT

We are collecting data that would help support the business case for schools to pursue sustainability in operations and curriculum.


2) MEET FACE TO FACE WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS TO DEVELOP A PLAN FOR HOW WE CAN SUPPORT THEM

We are setting up meetings with the 9 schools in the Verde Valley that have already shown interest in sustainability (hopefully 3 in Sept) where all or most of our team can attend. Since Sedona Recycles and Gardens for Humanity serve the Verde Valley, we will focus our efforts on the valley. But Flagstaff schools or schools in other parts of the state should still feel free to ask for help and we will do all we can to support them.


3) INVESTIGATE CREATING A SUSTAINABLE ENTERPRISE MICROLOAN PROGRAM FOR SCHOOLS

We may be able to create a micro loan program that would be managed by Gardens for Humanity for schools to use. It is envisioned as a revolving loan fund so the entrepreneurial ventures should pay the loan back (at zero interest or perhaps a small admin fee). It might be possible to pull in students studying business to provide mentoring. Sedona Recycles would be a source of inexpensive materials. Verde Valley School already goes to the Farmers’ Market so if the schools grew herbs, potted up stray native plants on the site or made lavender essential oils, this might be a venue to sell them.



4) REFINE SUSTAINABILITY IN SCHOOLS GAME

Rosemary Papa at NAU will lead this effort to refine the Sustainability in Schools card game and hopefully increase its use, especially in the School of Education so prospective teachers learn about sustainability as part of their formal training.

July 2015

SUSTAINABILITY IN THE COMMUNITY

Dells Proposal
We developed a proposal for how the land across from the waste water treatment center could best be used from a sustainability perspective. For better or worse, the decisions made there will affect our well-being for many years to come. We believe our approach is an appropriate compromise between the committee’s proposal and the minority report. Our proposal is based on the need to use the water from the waste water treatment center as a resource, taking advantage of the proximity of The Dells to that resource. Our recommendations enhance our food security, reduce waste, and reduce traffic pressures that the committee’s proposal might exacerbate. This proposal is only preliminary but it shows how our inter-disciplinary approach can uncover solutions which provide multiple benefits to the community. View the proposal. You can share this link with others you think should see it.

Sustainability Targets
We are also refining sustainability targets and metrics for the region to help track progress toward sustainability. They’re based on The Natural Step’s scientific framework. We then plan to get input on those metrics, find sources for the data and fill in the holes. We will also use our ‘think tank’ to develop recommendations on how the greater Sedona area could make big strides on becoming more sustainable, thus enhancing our image as a destination.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY


Sustainability in Schools card game
We showcased our Sustainability in Schools simulation card game at the Summer Sustainability Sampler. The feedback was positive and we got some additional ideas for improving the game. It’s now ready for prime-time. We’ve been a good response from around the country. The scoring is based on The Natural Step’s principles (system conditions).

Schools can now download the game for free. It takes about 90 min. to play and then debrief to the point where you have an action plan for your school. Let us know if you want some help facilitating it or working on the sustainability-related projects that might come from playing the game.

The photo on the right is from our Summer Sustainability Sampler event, one team playing the game.
Go to the bottom of this page for the DOWNLOAD link. Share this with any schools or teachers.

Supporting one another
We created a GoogleGroup for people in the Education for Sustainability field in AZ (teachers and administrators as well as those who can provide free services to your school). They’ll be able to ask questions and share successes with other like-minded educators in Arizona. We are also planning virtual and face-to-face meetings which many of the teachers asked for.

What’s next—maybe—mobile sustainability classroom
Since most of the schools in Arizona don’t have a lot of bucks to develop sustainability-related lesson plans, we are considering designing a mobile sustainability classroom, a sustainability-related field trip that comes to you! Right now we are trying to find partners (e.g., teacher colleges that might want to help us design and deliver these modules). Do you think this would be useful? 

June 2015

Participants playing the game at the Summer Sustainability Sampler
EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: We hosted the Summer Sustainability Sampler for approximately a dozen teachers from Head Start all the way up to colleges/universities. The Sustainability in Schools game was well received and we got useful feedback for making it even better. A number of the participants want to meet (virtually and on occasion, face to face) on an ongoing basis to support one another.

May 2015

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM: Got ready for the Summer Sustainability Sampler event. About 15 people are registered representing the entire spectrum of education from Head Start to colleges/universities. See this news article

SUSTAINABILITY IN GREATER SEDONA: The area across from the artificial wetland/wastewater treatment center is called The Dells. We used that as a specific opportunity to apply our multi-disciplinary, systems approach. We generated proposals for sustainable, high-value uses for the wastewater, seeing it as a resource, not a waste at all. We can make these recommendations available to the committee when they are ready for more input.

 

April 2015

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM: We are hosting a Summer Sustainability Sampler, free half-day workshop, for teachers and administrators at Verde Valley School. The central feature is the Sustainability in Schools simulation game. Click here to see a 6-min video on how it works. Here’s an invitation you can forward if you know of schools or individuals who might want to attend.

SUSTAINABILITY IN GREATER SEDONA: We’ve done some modeling to see how the various community systems (e.g., land use, transportation, energy and governance) interact with sustainability related impacts (e.g., climate change, water depletion, traffic). We are in the process of defining metrics/targets for full sustainability and generating proposals that would significantly move the greater Sedona area toward them. At our last meeting, we had a presentation from Mike Bower regarding the Sedona Community Plan land use and transportation solutions. He feels we have a vision but not yet a consensus in the community. So we are working on generating long term synergistic options for these systems inspired by the SymbioCity  oncepts where these systems are not treated as separate but instead leverage their symbiotic qualities: water, waste, energy, food and transportation.

 

March 2015

SYSTEMS MODELING: We have been modeling the relationships between community systems and sustainability factors to get a deeper understanding of the feedback loops and system dynamics. We are just starting to develop synergistic proposals for the area that address multiple challenges (eg, energy, water and transportation).

SUMMER SUSTAINABILITY SAMPLER: The Education for Sustainability program is hosting a half day event for teachers and administrators on June 8 to demonstrate the instructional simulation card game. More...

Feb 2015

SYSTEMS ANALYSIS: We've been analyzing the interrelationships between community systems (like economic development, energy, water, transportation, governance) and our negative major impacts (like climate change, water pollution/depletion, soil depletion). Next we'll examine how those impacts will come back and affect the community systems. This will help us understand our largest impacts, which community systems are involved, and where the leverage points are to come up with synergistic solutions. More...

CARD GAME FOR SCHOOLS: The Education for Sustainability program has developed an instructional game to show teachers and administrators how to find sustainability-related projects that make business sense that can also be used to teach students about sustainability. More...

A NAME FOR WHAT WE ARE: Until recently, some progressive organizations had Sustainability Management Systems to manage their transition toward sustainability. Now it appears there is an emerging practice for communities, a Sustainability Management Association. This is exactly what we are trying to do.  More... 

 

Jan 2015

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: The EfS team surveyed school administrators to find out what their interest level and needs were regarding getting sustainability into schools. This led to a teacher survey. More...

 

Nov 2014

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: KSB hosted John Purkis from The Natural Step-Canada as a speaker. This was followed by a by-invitation only workshop to explore what was needed in the region. The workshop was attended by the incoming Mayor of Sedona and at least one Council Member. There is an opportunity to align our work with the Sedona Community Plan. More...

Later we met and the prevailing interest was to develop a compelling vision for the Sedona area as fully sustainable.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: Created a design for the Sustainability for Schools 2.5 day workshop for administrators and sustainability coordinators. Goal is to offer the training in the summer of 2015. Also developed a needs assessment as a survey to go out to administrators to verify the need for the workshop and/or other support.

Oct 2014

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Explored what parts of the sustainability planning process (per The Step by Step Guide to Sustainability Planning) might be useful for the Alliance to work on.

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY: A team was formed to examine how to help integrate sustainability into school operations. We determined one leverage point was to educate school administrators. More...

Sept 2014

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Held a collaborative work session to identify synergies. Each organization brought a project they planned to undertake with specific requests for help. More...

This session led to the formation of an Education for Sustainability Project under the Alliance.

July 2014

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Chose the name Sustainability Alliance. Began creating the website.

May 2014

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY: Organizational meeting to discuss the need for some sort of collaborative network. The consensus was that we do need a way to:
  • Uncover shared priorities and synergies
  • Discover gaps in our sustainability efforts and see that they are filled
  • Coordinate the efforts of those in the network to speak with a louder, more powerful voice
  • Measure the region's progress toward critical sustainability goals
  • Support local efforts and collaborate on shared goals