What does sustainable mean? If you look it up in the Dictionary it means maintaining a certain rate and conserving or defending an ecological balance without depletion of natural resources. When I think about sustainability I think of educators, land keepers, and a caring heart. We can create sustainable environments in our own homes, towns, cities, and schools. Innovative and courageous minds alike are changing our communities, the University of Arizona is a leading pioneer and has a massive sustainable campus. They looked to the students to create these sustainable environments and the campus is flourishing. Tucson is a place where the temperatures can easily reach 120* in the summer you might think that that production may slow down, however plants are still thriving and pumping out food on the University of Arizona’s rooftop gardens.
The University has installed a rooftop garden that sits on top of the Student Union it was designed by students for students. The garden provides fresh produce to many people on campus who may not be able to afford fresh food. Around the campus, many buildings have rock structures, water harvesters, and native plants. Compost Cats are trying to create a zero-waste environment within the University. They service the greater Tucson area at a reasonable price. These types of sustainability create a relationship with the community by getting people involved and educated.
From the Office of the Sustainability at the University of Arizona “A tier 1 research and land-grant institution, the University of Arizona addresses global challenges through research and teaching and translates research into action. UA is already using its campus as a living laboratory to pilot and implement innovative and bold solutions that advance sustainability. The Office of Sustainability furthers this progress by elevating and institutionalizing best practices in sustainable operations and development. We work across the university to build relationships and networks that foster a culture of sustainability, focusing on place-based approaches. We actively provide greater student, faculty, staff and community engagement opportunities, offering innovative and unparalleled experiences in sustainability. We collaborate closely with the Institute of the Environment and similar groups and organizations on and off campus, as well as with local government agencies, schools, community non-profits, and the private sector. We work toward ensuring that the University of Arizona continues to be a strong partner and leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”
The City of Tucson has also taken on major projects working toward a healthier and more sustainable economy, environment, and community. They are implementing a plan to increase tree canopy’s and create urban food forests within its neighborhoods, with temperatures increasing the need for sustainability this is industry has become very innovative. The city is expanding its solar energy and studying how the rising temperatures are affecting the economy, environment, community, and habitat. Tucson is gaining worldwide attention for its beautiful weather and one of a kind scenery, with nearly 1 million people in Tucson a big jump from 487,000 in 2000 so getting creative and listening to the community to hear what it needs is playing a big part in its success of this development and planning. The City of Tucson is implementing the following projects: climate resilience, sustainable food systems, water sustainability, urban landscape development, green infrastructure, development, and maintenance, and habitat conservation planning. The city offers a water harvesting class that looks to education to help conserve water usage. Tucson Electric Power also sells native trees at a low price and teaches the community how to plant trees so when they mature they are helping to conserve energy in homes. All of these factors play a huge role in the sustainable growth of Arizona.