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Extreme Temperature
Policy and Advocacy

Each year we are facing new heat records which are threatening our health from heat related illness, flares of mental health disorders, dehydration, or premature death in elderly patients.  Understanding that there are heat management and mitigation strategies we can employ to decrease this effect is important.  We need to work with our patients, communities and government to increase our adaptability and decrease our exposure to extreme heat.

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 Manage Extreme Temperatures

Heat Management

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Despite wanting to change the temperatures immediately, this may take years to decrease our carbon emission and drawdown carbon from the atmosphere. Thus we need to increase our resiliency through heat management adaptations. Cooling centers, extreme heat education, early warning systems, programs to assist with cooling buildings, and energy grid flexibility are some techniques that helps decrease exposure of humans to heat, therefore decreasing the health effect of extreme temperatures.

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.

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.

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.

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