Phoenix City Council members voted unanimously for the City of Phoenix to join the Arizona Thrives Alliance.

The Arizona Thrives Alliance aims to promote collaboration with the goal of protecting and maintaining an economy that promotes clean air, energy and environment. The organization consists of more than 20 other groups, local governments and small businesses throughout Arizona including the City of Flagstaff, Lyft and The Nature Conservancy.

The environmental and sustainability goals of this collaboration align with the City of Phoenix General Plan as well as the Phoenix Department of Sustainability’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, according to Deputy City Manager Karen Peters.

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This step toward developing and maintain sustainable practices are in line with an ongoing trend toward the fight against climate change. 

During President Joe Biden’s first week in office, he accepted the terms of the Paris Agreement and the U.S. rejoined the agreement which endeavors to foster a collaboration of resources and information among over one hundred nations to address the ongoing concerns surrounding climate change.

Arizona has developed an environment that has diversified its economy in the midst of a global pandemic. In recent years, Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in job growth by Forbes Magazine as well as No. 1 in entrepreneurial activity by Fast Company.

However, the pandemic has revealed weaknesses in the infrastructure of the economy and has allowed for failures in branches within the state to address the issues of the future.

“There are things that are changing at a much faster rate,” said Tianna Chemello, Vice President of the Arizona State Chapter of the Society of Water and Environment Leaders. “We can clearly see the trend of what climate change and non-sustainable practices are doing to our personal lives.”

In recent years, climate change has gathered a legitimate following based on an increase of bizarre weather phenomenon and rising temperatures globally. This change in climate and weather occurrences threatens the livability of the planet for future generations.

“We have to deal with the consequences of our actions if we want to keep surviving as a race not even just as the human race, but as the whole planet we have to get back on track and go toward more sustainable practices where it’s easier for all living things to survive.” Chemello said.

Both the City of Flagstaff and the City of Phoenix have joined the Arizona Thrives Alliance, but there are still communities in cities across Arizona that have yet to address the ongoing global issue.

Sustainability and equal access are a “human rights issue because it impacts communities like mine that doesn’t even have a recycling program,” said Maria Cornejo-Terry, who lives in Douglas, Arizona, and is a member of the Barrett Sustainability Club at Arizona State University.

The movement toward more sustainable practices involve finding sustainable answers that fixes the problems of the present while also maintaining solutions for the future.

The ongoing problem first has to be recognized and then when it comes to finding a solution “we need to work together to find inclusive answers to our problems that means including the BIPOC and disabled communities that aren’t able to even address these issues because of the conditions that leave them without access to better options,” Cornejo-Terry said.