Defining Sustainability

Jenifer Dymek, Class 26
Executive Analyst, SRP

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

What is sustainability? That is the question that we discussed in our March 16th Scottsdale Leadership class. What we learned is that sustainability is everywhere, and with so many options, each person can do a lot at home or at work to improve the future of our valley.

Many people might think that to increase sustainability you have to decrease in your own comfort or “give things up.” Not true! As we learned from General Dynamics, changing something like a front lawn (or football field in their case) can have a dramatic impact on the amount of water consumed, not to mention all of the other factors and costs associated with maintaining it. In addition, the cost savings can be staggering, giving a whole new meaning to going “green.”

As many of us who have spent time in the valley know, it’s changed a lot over the last few decades. We live in a beautiful place and that has attracted many new residents and businesses. Growth is wonderful, but with it comes more golf courses, businesses and homes. Sometimes we forget that we still live in a desert and that water isn’t as abundant as we may think. Several members of our class were able to take a helicopter tour of the SRP water system and during class we all learned about the Central Arizona Project system. Water is our most precious resource, and a lot of people are working on how to keep it readily available. Because, without water, there is no Valley of the Sun.

So, what is sustainability? In my opinion, I think that’s up to each person to decide. Whether you’ve never recycled and you start, or you have your home assessed for ways to make it more efficient, or you look for options within your business to lower your water or energy consumption, or you build a new home or office using the best known practices. Creating a sustainable future is all around us, and now we have the tools and knowledge to see what works for us!

What does sustainability mean to you?

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