Environment Day agenda at Arizona State Capitol includes sustainability, climate change and wildlife

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Greg Clark, Wild at Heart’s Burrowing Owl Habitat Coordinator, welcomes attendees to learn more about the conservation organization at Environment Day at the Arizona State Capitol. Photo taken on January 25, 2024 (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

Laurel Hardin, chair of Earth Justice for the Unitarian Universalists of Phoenix, talks about her work to attendees at an Environment Day event at the Arizona State Capitol. Photo taken on January 25, 2024 (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

Chispa President Ana Compean-Loaiza speaks about her organization’s environmental mission during Environment Day at the Arizona State Capitol on January 25, 2024. (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

Vernon Masayesva talks about his Hopi speech to Environment Day attendees at the Arizona State Capitol. Photo taken on January 25, 2024 (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Activist groups and lawmakers gathered at the state Capitol for “Environment Day” to address nature, wildlife and water. Under the theme “Save Water, Save Lives”, dozens of organizations advocated for legal reform and support for the environment and general sustainability.

Among these organizations was the Grand Canyon (Arizona) chapter of the Sierra Club, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. Borderlands Program Coordinator Eric Meza expressed the importance of protecting wildlife, especially endangered species, along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We advocate for the opening of wildlife corridors so that migratory corridors can continue,” Meza said. “These are ancestral migratory corridors for species on the endangered species list, such as jaguars and Sonoran pronghorns.”

Meza said the organization advocates for environmental restoration, minimizing or halting border wall construction that could impact native species, and minimizing the presence of law enforcement. He said that

Wild at Heart, another nonprofit participating in the event, focuses on rehabilitating birds of prey, especially those injured by gunfire, said Greg Clark, the group’s Burrowing Owl Habitat Coordinator. Told.

Mama's Clean Air Force Field Coordinator Hazel Chandler speaks to the crowd about the organization's environmental efforts during the Arizona State Capitol's Environment Day at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza on January 25, 2024. Speak (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

Mama’s Clean Air Force Field Coordinator Hazel Chandler speaks to the crowd about the organization’s environmental efforts during the Arizona State Capitol’s Environment Day at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza on January 25, 2024. Speak (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

“I do most of the work with burrowing owls, and burrowing owls are affected by farmland that has been converted into homes and warehouses. Anything that tilts the soil affects the underground burrows of burrowing owls. ,” Clark said.

The organization’s translocation program moves recovered owls to sparsely populated areas with extensive irrigation, reducing the risk of owls becoming buried underground due to land development. Conservation of birds of prey and migratory birds and support for research were among the group’s priorities.

“Birds can’t make a single trip from northern North America through Mexico and Central America without making a stop,” Clark says. “We don’t really know where these transit points are, and if we don’t know that, we can’t invest money to preserve or improve these migrant transit points. ”

The non-profit organization Moms Clean Air Force was also one of the event participants, presenting topics related to environmental issues, including climate change. Hazel Chandler, a lifelong climate change activist and the organization’s field coordinator, said one of the main contributing factors to her health problems is the health problems caused by climate change and the respiratory problems caused by polluted air. He said that these are the children who develop the disease.

One solution she highlighted was the federal bipartisan infrastructure law, which would give some school districts state funding to buy electric school buses.

“I can’t stress enough how important it (climate change) is because our world is collapsing around us. If we don’t do something soon, I We’re going to have a future that none of us want,” Chandler said. “But we have a path to get there. We have a path to sustainable energy. When we start prioritizing our right to a livable environment, we start doing things differently.”

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