State taskforce works to rebuild our economy in a more sustainable way

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Posted at 10:02 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 00:02:16-05

A sustainable economy is a successful economy. That is what state advocates believe as they continue to build on a task force aimed at helping Arizona businesses thrive with clean air and clean energy solutions.

It was this month that the city of Phoenix voted in council chambers to approve a measure that made them officially part of the 'Arizona Thrives Alliance.'

"The way we see this, Arizona Thrives is an opportunity for us to recover faster," said Mike Peel.

Peel is Local First Arizona's statewide sustainability director.

They were one of the very first organizations to join the Arizona Thrives Alliance which is supported by the Nature Conservancy.

"We can attract more high-wage jobs, improve the air we breathe, and reduce the impact of heat to improve the livability of communities," Peel explained.

He tells the Rebound Arizona that the city of Phoenix pledging their commitment at a recent city council meeting is important.

"It feels more likely to be achieved," Peel said.

The Arizona Thrives Alliance has been working over the last year amid the pandemic to discuss ways to create clean air and clean energy within the business and the community.

Peel knows a lot of focus has been simply on staying afloat, but he believes the short-term and long-term discussions on ways to be more energy-efficient cannot be put off any longer.

"The pandemic has shown us that some of our most vulnerable populations are affected the most and Arizona Thrives is working to improve health and quality of life and economic opportunities for all," said Peel.

The collective goal is to meet or exceed the Clean Air Act quality standards and achieve net-zero carbon neutrality by 2050.

"And the way we're looking at that, is these three areas... one is how we power our economy, then is... how we move, and then is where we live and work," Peel said.

The nearly two dozen participants have been meeting virtually using data and expertise to create a path amid the pandemic. They hope that action will get our economy into an even better place than it was before.

"We need to be thinking ahead now around where are we getting with clean air, clean energy, and a stronger economy for all Arizonans," said Peel.

Local First Arizona also offers ways for business owners in the Valley to get involved with this goal.

They have a program called Scale Up.

"They're really focused on cost-savings and helping the business network together to learn from different strategies related to energy savings to water savings, to transportation reductions, to potentially even looking at their business model as a whole and considering new ways of doing business," Peel said.

The seven-week workshop series works to help create more sustainable workplaces.

If you would like to learn more, click here.