Consistent with our mission to protect lands and water needed to preserve biological diversity, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona has adopted “green” practices and goals to serve as a model of environmental sustainability in Arizona.
At its most basic, the term is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The recent issue of Arizona Policy Choices, "Sustainability For Arizona, The Issue of Our Age" (Morrison Institute for Public Policy, 2007) defines sustainability as “a condition of existence which enables the present generation of humans and other species to enjoy social wellbeing, a vibrant economy, and a healthy environment, and to experience fulfillment, beauty and joy, without compromising the ability of future generations of humans and other species to enjoy the same.”
As conservationists, we want to be careful that our efforts don’t have unintended consequences on the very things we aim to protect.
We are working to lower our environmental impact. To help establish a baseline of overall behaviors and business practices, the chapter is conducting “green surveys” of all Arizona locations to help meet the goal to reduce the Conservancy’s carbon footprint.
To reduce the footprints, the Conservancy is investing in green technologies, such as solar power and rainwater harvesting, will strive to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards for all Conservancy-owned newly constructed and remodeled buildings, and is increasingly using phone and video conferencing for meetings when possible to reduce travel. Any new vehicles that are purchased will be fuel-efficient or will use alternative fuel if available.
The Conservancy’s volunteer Green Group Committee developed a self-audit tool to look closely at internal energy use policies and other actions that affect its carbon footprint. The valuable information gained from this audit has been incorporated into the Chapter’s decision-making processes. The Chapter then developed a self-audit survey other organizations and homeowners can use to help them achieve their own green goals. This self-survey can be downloaded. The Conservancy can assist you with recommendations for reducing your carbon footprint. Download Survey of Green Practices: Self Audit Tool.
The Tucson Conservation Center’s office building was designed by The Architecture Company with the following objectives: to minimize water and energy use; to protect endangered resources; to use recycled and resource-efficient building materials; to reduce indoor air pollution; to use natural lighting; and to use xeriscape technology for low water use and microclimate improvement. While pre-dating LEED, it is believed the building would have met the standards if they had been in existence at the time of completion.
In addition, individuals, programs, and offices are using the self-audit results to further set and meet green goals: to make meetings paperless; to learn and practice two-sided printing and copying; to identify and work with vendors with proven green business practices and products; to purchase products that have a reduced impact on the environment and to book meetings at green properties and seek local and sustainable food choices when selecting menus.
There are many ways in which the Conservancy in Arizona is taking action to lessen our impact on the natural world, including water conservation and demonstrating rainwater harvesting.
Learn more about these green practices.