A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

3 mayors discuss meaning, importance of sustainability

Three Valley mayors — Mesa’s Scott Smith, Phoenix’s Greg Stanton and Tempe’s Mark Mitchell — recently spoke at the Mesa Center for the Arts on sustainable cities. Questions were asked by Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute for Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Question: What does it mean to be a sustainable city?

Smith: I can’t tell you what people mean. I know what the textbooks say and what the general discourse is.

It means different things to different people.

We want a city that in 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, you go into a neighborhood that is strong, environmentally sound, that has opportunity, that has a quality of life that kept people coming back.

It’s an environmental issue, an economic issue, a planning issue.

Q: How can the public help?

Mitchell: The biggest challenge is education. I come from a family of educators. How important it is to educate policy leaders and communicate the message of what it means to be sustainable.

Are you trying to reduce the carbon footprint? Are you trying to be more sustainable in terms of transit?

The biggest challenge we have is educating those policy makers, making sure we have a good plan, a mass-transit system, to make sure we have the tools to attract economic-development opportunities.

We need to educate those policy makers to help us with initiatives.

The more we educate people, great things can happen.

I can’t stress that enough.

It’s doing what’s right. Even though common sense isn’t that common.

Smith: Sustainability is about being smart and getting things done. It’s about common sense. It’s not about politics unless you don’t want to get things done.

Maybe this is the definition of sustainability. It’s my definition. What kind of Mesa, what kind of Arizona, what kind of a community are kids going to grow up in? I want to create a community where they can live in safety, in a home they desire, in a neighborhood they desire. They can achieve their professional aspirations. They can play. They can be entertained. They can be educated, all of them in a community.

You have to make a lot of right decisions. You have to do things that look beyond the next week. You have to make generational decisions. You have to make decisions that have long-lasting effect. That’s the standard I set for myself.

Stanton: Push us to be better leaders. A lot of people made a lot of money with a sprawl economy. Even when the economy comes roaring back, let’s not do things the same way.

There’s nothing we do in a city that doesn’t have a direct impact on sustainability. But it hasn’t always been in the conversation as we make important decisions.

Mitchell: I think of sustainability in terms of quality of life. Tempe is only 42 square miles. It’s very important to have a plan and use the resources we have. We have a very successful recycling program, a successful water-conservation plan.

Smith: In the immortal words of the philosopher Bono, of the band U-2, “I drove in on a bus, coming in from the west, from L.A. Going through the desert, all of a sudden on the horizon there’s this great metropolis, where there should be no metropolis. There should be nothing here. People were not meant to live in this area. And yet here it is. It’s one of the wonders of the world. It’s a miracle city.”

Sometimes, I think we forget what a miracle has been created here in the desert.

We didn’t call it sustainable when Roosevelt Dam was built.

You want to look at people who live in a sustainable world, talk about a farmer or a rancher in Arizona. It’s life or death for them. If you look at what we’ve accomplished here in a metropolis of 3.5 million … It’s an oasis. We have air-conditioning. We’ve developed multiple sources of water.

We’ve done such a good job of creating a lifestyle that we’ve gotten a little lazy in recognizing how fragile our existence is.
More azcentaa/173838″>


Leave a Reply