Section of map showing Flagstaff location

Flagstaff declares a climate emergency, leading Arizona planning and adaptation

At the recent (June 26, 2020) meeting, the Flagstaff City Council declared a Climate Emergency, prompting the city to update its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to achieve community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2030.

Communities across the country and world are recognizing the impacts of climate change on cities’ resources, economy, infrastructure, and quality of life. In Flagstaff, it affects snowpack, water availability, wildlife, and increases the chance of wildfires in the area. Flagstaff’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for climate risks, and safeguard the well-being of its residents for the future. To learn more about Flagstaff’s Sustainability initiatives, visit their website.

In a recent conversation with Flagstaff’s Sustainability Manager, Nicole P. Antonopoulos, she said, “I’m honored to be part of this global movement, Flagstaff joins more than 1,725 jurisdictions around the world representing more than 820 million citizens in declaring a climate emergency. This is a crucial moment to redefine our systems that are no longer working and reinvest in systems that advance climate action, builds resilience, and instills equity.” She’s right. It’s a crucial time to start redirecting our efforts in systems that are more reliable and actively advance climate action to grow proactively, continually adapt and build resilience in all communities.

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans shared the same sentiment and mentioned in the news release that, “Reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 will require strong leadership and dedication, and while it will be hard, Flagstaff can meet this challenge and turn current risks into future opportunities that are accessible to all residents equally.” She then proceeds to give credit to the community members that signed the petition to move this plan forward and recognizes the influence of youth in the area.

The City of Flagstaff is an active member of ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) Steering Committee, where it “leads by example” in climate planning and adaptation and shares sustainability best practices with other cities and towns around Arizona and the US. It is essential to push sustainability initiatives to the forefront of urban planning and economic development, particularly during the pandemic. As cities prepare to ‘go back to normal,’ we collectively cannot return to ‘business as usual.’ Sustainability encapsulates the interconnected nature of the environment to society and the economy. To preserve our clean air, water, and surroundings, climate action is necessary, and reaching carbon neutrality should be a top goal.

The ASU Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) andProject Cities program, strive to enhance and ensure resilient Arizona regions by disseminating knowledge and coordinating efforts to solve local sustainability challenges. It is essential to enable global citizens, especially youth, to act by providing them with resources so that they can help co-create innovative strategies to combat the challenges we will continue to see post-pandemic.

Read the full Climate Emergency Declaration.