This month the world celebrated World Bicycle Day and World Environment Day. These are two international days with broad ideas and positions that can be localized to Arizona and Tempe.
World Bicycle Day, June 3, is a way to celebrate and promote riding bikes as an alternative form of transportation and a fun, healthy activity. According to the United Nations, the bicycle can “serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also access to education, health care and sport.” Riding your bike has multiple benefits and is a “symbol of sustainable transportation.”
Depending on where you live or where your business is located, riding your bike to work is a great transportation alternative. There are many ways you can empower your employees to use this alternate mode of transportation – offer bicycle parking facilities for employees and clients, provide a washroom facility where people can freshen up, share regional cycling maps, and conduct prize drawings for employees who use other forms of transportation. One important note here – always encourage your employees to wear a helmet.
Riding a bike to work can dramatically cut one’s carbon footprint. This is important because carbon emissions from vehicles are directly correlated to climate change. According to a recent study, switching from a car to a bike for even one day a week can make a “significant impact on personal carbon emissions in cities.”
You don’t have to bike to work every day or push your employees to do the same, but even small changes can make a big difference. Providing options and making it easy for your employees to bike to work is a step in the right direction.
Working to mitigate climate change and improve Arizona’s environment by riding your bike correlates with another day that was celebrated this month – World Environment Day. According to the United Nations, World Environment Day 2021 called for “urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems.” It is about reimagining, recreating, and restoring. As the UN states, we must “go from exploiting nature to healing it.”
While the day was about ecosystems around the world, as a local business leader you have the power to postively impact Arizona’s environment. Reimagine what your business can do for the community and recreate your practices to incorporate sustainability initiatives so that we can restore our ecosystems.
Climate change is worsening heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires across Arizona. The state’s economy along with the population’s health will continue to be impacted. Prolonged heat waves will increase the number of heat-related deaths and contribute to crop losses, high electricity bills, water scarcity and degradation, and more.
If we continue our usual practices, the effects of climate change will only get worse. According to States at Risk, by 2050 Arizona is projected to have almost 80 dangerous heat days a year, the “severity of widespread summer drought is projected to more than triple,” and the state is projected to have 115 days with high wildfire potential.
While these facts can seem daunting, there is still time to make a difference. Businesses can take part and work to mitigate climate change by looking at their energy and water use, waste streams, purchasing decisions, and transportation options. Work with your employees and the Chamber to alter your practices.
Our team is working with the City of Tempe and Local First Arizona to draft the Business Agenda for the Climate Action Plan 2021 Update. If you want to be a part of the conversation and work toward a sustainable Tempe, join our two virtual forums on June 29 and July 13. In the first forum we will be presenting on and discussing energy use, efficiency, and renewables, while the second forum will be on water use and management.
Arizona is our home. We must do everything we can to protect our environment and maintain the vitality of Tempe.