Currently, Sustainable Arizona is undertaking a new project targeting the restoration of rural watersheds through the development of self-sustaining agricultural waste management systems. The initial project takes a multi-layered approach to restoring a threatened watershed which is the source of drinking water for a region in the West. In addition to the use of natural systems to clean the contaminated waters, the project will incorporate some leading edge technologies to turn agricultural wastes into energy and usable products. This project is now in the planning and development phase.
CERA is the proposed Sustainable Arizona Center for Eco Research and Applications. CERA will identify, develop and apply “best practices” technologies that deliver successful, economically viable systems to manage ecological issues resulting from agricultural, industrial and societal processes. These applied technologies will also address the impacts of climate change in the West.
The focus of CERA is to establish an intellectual corpus and large scale experimental and research facility for the purpose of identifying, developing and communicating technologies and methods to support sustainable development. Initially, CERA will focus on improved water quality through the digestion, remanufacturing and processing of protein and organic wastes, and
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CERA is a research and implementation center of innovative, well-researched and tested solutions that eliminate and mitigate adverse environmental impacts through (1) oversight/management, (2) identification and creation of mitigation measures, (3) implementation of elimination measures, (4) creating enabling practices; (5) implementing industry assessment measures, and (6) administering research and funding focused on a broad range of economic and environmental issues.
Sustainable Arizona pursues education for sustainability as a core commitment. Education for sustainability is a process that engages students in the real world outside the classroom. It is an experiential learning system that encourages students to learn how natural systems function and use those guiding principles as a framework for learning other disciplines. The objective is to meet the true needs of education: to prepare students to thrive in the world and contribute positively to their communities.
At this time, we are engaged with SEDI, the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative of Northern Arizona, in the Teacher Awards For Sustainable Curriculum (TASC). These awards were developed when the former president of Sustainable Arizona headed the SEDI Education Team. Teachers are recognized for their innovative educational programs that help students excel in school and prepare them to thrive in the world. In 2015, thanks in part to funding from our board, the TASC awards gave out $18,000 to twelve teachers from schools across Northern Arizona.
Sustainable Arizona also supports several gardens in schools programs. These programs use the natural systems required for gardening to help students develop a framework for learning STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and other important disciplines, such as history, communications, and leadership.
As a direct result of some of our larger projects, Sustainable Arizona is developing funding to support the creation of the EcoLearning Center and Urban Farm in South Phoenix. Partnering with Urban Farm and others, we are creating a model for how to live more sustainably in Arizona. The proposed center will include a range of permaculture gardening and landscaping exhibits, a remodeled green home, solar energy systems, rainwater harvesting and more. It will host visits from schools and the public. Businesses that would like to partner with Sustainable Arizona to demonstrate their green living systems are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a preliminary sketch of the center and the exhibits.