Arizona’s Future is in Your Hands!
Our centennial celebration is quickly approaching, and if you haven’t already marked your calendar, the big day is set for February 14, 2012. This is a significant milestone for Arizona and it gives us an opportunity not only to celebrate the accomplishments of our brief history but also to really discern the path we must take for the next 100 years.
We have come a long way since President William Taft declared us a state in 1912. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the 2010 population estimates for Arizona where 6,392,017. That is a population increase of +24.6% from the 2000 Census and a massive jump from 1910’s population of only 204,354.
What toll has this rapid population growth had on Arizona? Is the growth we are experiencing even sustainable another 50 years let alone another 100? Do we really know the impact we have made on our natural environment and do we have the water, energy, economic power, human resource, intellectual capital, educational system, and leadership to help us thrive in the next century?
Most of Arizona and its natural environment are not suitable for large human habitation. The creation of air conditioning has helped many of us cope in urban Arizona cities with the May-September heat. But have you ever thought twice about the enormous amounts of energy it requires to keep us cool in our homes, cars, schools, jobs, stores and recreational venues?
The Phoenix nighttime temperature has been raised nearly 15 degrees over the past 30 years. This increase in temperature is partially caused by our urban heat-island effect according to a report recently aired nationally by NBC Nightly News. The city’s explosive growth rate is blamed to be the cause behind this rise in temperature. It is believed to be brought about by the construction of buildings, roads, parking lots and other structures that retain and radiate heat long after the sun has set.
Arizona is just one of many states in the country struggling to find answers to these critical questions of sustainability. It seems clear to me that we need to undergo some kind of “Sustainability Revolution” very similar to what the world went through with the “Industrial Revolution” that introduced us to the modern age.
We need to create an Arizona economy that is not headed toward yet another bubble and inevitable crisis but instead creates a dependable and durable model that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It will take all of us who call Arizona home to address the most critical challenges of our time. We must return to long-term thinking. The next economy must not deviate from real long-term value creation as opposed to recent decades of short term planning and profits.
Arizona has been inspiring people for centuries with its natural beauty. This is a state that can nurture a special way of life full of discovery and potential for renewal. The future of Arizona is in your hands!
Between the 7s is written for SMDN by Victor Vidales