Keep Sedona Beautiful Forum Questions
Good evening. My name is Brian Fultz, and I live near the Chapel with my wife, Amy. We just saw our 2nd of 3rd kids graduate from college last month, so we have three years to go with our youngest! I am a small business owner with a consulting business and co-ownership of 4 franchises outside of AZ. I became a full-time resident last year but have owned my home here for nearly 18 years, so my knowledge of Sedona goes back a long time. I've completed the Sedona Citizen's Academy to learn how our city operates. I've been appointed to the Sedona Community Plan Update Working Group. I've helped plan and participate in ATV protests with Sedona Residents Unite. I'm an active volunteer at Aletheia Church, and I'm an avid mountain biker and hiker.
To answer the question we were posed, for me, I nearly died in the 7th grade after a traumatic brain injury. At the time I was heading down the wrong path but decided that I wanted my life to stand for something and that I needed to associate with people, organizations and activities that truly have socially redeeming value. That has translated professionally, that my work over the last 20+ years has had strong components of recycling and landfill avoidance. And as a science-educated individual, it became obvious that the carbon we are putting into the atmosphere is detrimental to our life on this planet, so I became a trained Climate Reality Corp Volunteer in order to I can intelligently speak with people and advocate for sensible measures to reduce carbon emissions.
What actions would you prioritize and what additional strategies would you implement to ensure the City of Sedona meets its goal of a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030?
The CAP organizes its tactics into five groups. 2 of these, Buildings & Energy along with Transportation & Land Use account for 97% of the planned impact. This is where I would heavily prioritize efforts. We need to avoid strategic distractions with tactics that offer little return when assuming we face limitations of time and resources.
Now, in terms of detailed priorities, the CAP lays out which tactics are expected to drive the most GHG reductions. Those should be our ultimate focus. They include:
- Community Building Incentives
- Clean Energy Financing
- Solar Incentives & Permitting
- Public Transit Investments
- Native Planting for Increased Carbon Sequestration
But we need more than a set of priorities. We need to measure progress, and metrics are limited right now. However, the city Sustainability team is working on cleaning up baseline measures and are intending to have a measurement dashboard in place by the end of the calendar year. This is important.
Now, I would augment the plan in 2 particular ways:
How can the City of Sedona adapt its resources to ensure water sustainability for its future.
- I think we need to accelerate an overarching commitment to park once and then use EV transit to take cars off the road. This is a double blessing in terms of reducing tourist created traffic congestion and helps save the planet. I would make the planned micro transit along with the new trail shuttles free for residents but charge tourists both for micro transit and trail shuttles.
- I believe the need for community engagement is significantly underestimated as described in the CAP. I think there is an enormous need for omnichannel messaging and outreach to communicate the CAP and what resources are available to residents and businesses. It's hard enough for the city to effectively communicate basic messaging to us. CAP implementation is complex. The city needs to engage our sponsoring organizations tonight and the community at large to sponsor and/or lead many forms of community outreach.
I see 4 actions we can take concerning water sustainability:
What parts of Sedona's CAP have been topics of your conversations with residents, visitors, families, friends, and other leaders in the Verde Valley
- Reduced water usage – Okay, I'm from Indiana, and a lush green lawn is a beautiful site, but it is impractical in the high desert, and impractical in an environment of declining water availability. We need to be transitioning away from grass and other landscape plantings that require excess water in favor of native or other species adapted to our natural rainfall cycle. We should develop an incentive program to encourage residents and businesses in this regard.
- Reduced STRs – STRs have more than doubled the effective number of lodging rooms in the city and have led to greater laundering needs that consume water and require more wastewater treatment. We must continue to work towards reforming SB1350 and capping the number of whole homes rented out like hotels for this and many other reasons we don't have time to get into this evening.
- Rainwater catchment – I believe we should look into opportunities to harvest rainwater for uses ranging from outdoor bathing to irrigation, but I also recognize that depending on the location rainwater catchment is not appropriate in all instances and would require further study and guidelines.
- Oak Creek conservation – Perhaps one of the biggest opportunities we have right now is to try to preserve Oak Creek within our city limits. Developers have eyed or are currently eyeing several parcels along the creek, and I believe we should look at public/private strategies to acquire Oak Creek property and place conservation easements on the property for the benefit of our community for generations to come.
My CAP discussions usually involve those who are skeptical. Here are 3 examples:
- Climate Deniers – They either think the CAP isn't necessary or that we're too small of a town to matter anyway. They ask what do we really have to do with the climate crisis. The answer is we all have something to do with the climate crisis, and we all have a responsibility to act at least within the realm of what we have control over. As a Climate Reality Corp Volunteer, these discussions can be interesting when I explain how infrared radiation gets trapped in our atmosphere because we're spewing 162M tons of manmade global warming pollution every day into our atmosphere.
- The plug – I also hear skepticism about the plug in the CAP, which is that there is no currently defined tactics to deliver half of the required GHG reduction. Instead, it's listed as state/federal government efforts and new technologies. This is a definite vulnerability, but we still need to press forward, and I was heartened to hear that the sustainability staff is working on idea generation to augment the plan and help reduce the risk of this vulnerability.
- Circular economy – I've heard skepticism about solar, in particular, that it requires raw materials, manufacturing, and the resultant end-of-life disposal. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Lab, NREL, projects that 1% of landfill waste will be solar waste by 2030 and 10% by 2050 unless we apply circular economy principles and ensure that solar products are designed with end of life in mind to ensure these products are recycled to the highest extent possible. And in that regard, Sedona should encourage circular economy principles by including end-of-life questions in any procurement decisions involving solar.