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Air Quality
Policy and Advocacy

Air quality affects everyone in Arizona causing respiratory illness, heart disease, and premature deaths.  Our high temperatures magnify these effects by creating ground zone ozone and increase our wildfire rates and severity.  Knowing where these sources come from allows us to educate ourselves and decisions makers on what policy areas to focus on for practical solutions.

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This graph shows the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Maricopa county which is reflective of the state's emission profile.  The biggest sources are transportation including cars, trucks and semi trucks and electricity generation which is a high percentage of natural gas (methane).

Learning About Arizona Legislature 

To have your voice heard in Arizona in need to know what bills are being presented and voice your input on those bills.  Signing up for the REQUEST TO SPEAK PROGRAM (RTS) will allow you to do perform this duty in policy formation.   Follow this information to learn how to sign up and navigate the system!

Advocacy Solutions to Improve Air Quality

Green Infrastructure

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This technique helps bring nature back into cities by creating areas to catch stormwater runoff to hydrate plants and trees. Benefits of this are multiple including: decreasing stormwater runoff, flooding and replenishing groundwater sources; beautification through increasing biodiversity along buildings, sidewalks and roads; decreasing the heat island effect, improved air quality, increased quality of life, improved soil and water quality and even food production. Some techniques include permeable pavers, curb cuts with water collecting basins, and rain gardens near buildings.

Electric and Alternative Energy

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Vehicles are currently the largest pollutant in Arizona that affects health outcomes. Switching how we move ourselves and products to non-fossil fuel consuming options will help improve our health. Electric vehicles do not consume gasoline and given our current electricity sources, a car would need to be more efficient than 70 miles per gallon, which no gas car currently can perform. The total life cycle of emissions of electric vehicles will be less if driven beyond 10,000 miles. Biking and walking are outstanding transportation options as they improve physical and mental health while saving money. Using public transportation is another great option and electrifying the public and school bus fleets will decrease exposure of our children to toxic fumes.

Decreasing Heat Islands

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Urbanization changes natural spaces with soil and vegetation to buildings and hardscape (streets, parking lots) which in Arizona creates a heat island effect where hardscape absorbs heat all day and releases it at night. To help decrease this warming effect we must decrease some of our hardscape by bringing the natural cooling effect back into our urban spaces. Transforming parking lots with tree canopies and plants to create shade and allow for plants to help cool these areas. Working with urban planners to create more parks and greenspace along our roads. This work is most needed in our lower socioeconomic and communities of color as they have the least greenspace and suffer the heat island effect the most.

Renewable Energy Transition

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Shifting our energy generation away from natural gas and coal will decrease particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide being released into the air we breathe. In Arizona, the abundance of sun makes solar energy generation an excellent option for clean energy. Residential homeowners can expect a payback of the cost of the system in 6-7 years. All our flat roofs make this easy for large businesses to install to offset their energy use. Solar panels can also be used in creating shade in parking lots to decrease our heat island effect and even with agriculture shading plants in a technique called agrovoltaics.

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