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Valley cities, residents making changes to go green

The City of Phoenix is focusing more attention on a greener future, despite being dubbed by sociologist Andrew Ross as “the world’s least sustainable city."

ARIZONA, USA — This Earth Day, people all across the Valley are finding ways to go green.

Tempe resident Karen Schedler recently decided to get solar panels installed in her home to decrease her carbon footprint.

“I have lived long enough to see the impact of climate change,” said Schedler. “I’m doing what I can to make this little corner of the world better for future generations.”

She got the solar panels as part of a co-op called Solar United Neighbors made up of a group of Maricopa County residents that came together to bargain for a cheaper solar panel price.

“It’s an investment for the future,” said Schedler.

The City of Phoenix is also focusing more attention on a greener future, despite being dubbed by sociologist Andrew Ross as “the world’s least sustainable city” in 2011.

City leaders adopted a climate action plan last year in hopes of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050.

“Being a carbon-free city would mean that all of our energy transportation waste is addressed in such a way that we are not emitting new greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, that we have those under control, thereby increasing our air quality,” said Rosanne Albright, an administrator for Phoenix’s Office of Environmental Programs.

The plan aims to create an equitable city, increase energy efficiency, and provide more public transit and vehicle charging options.

Dr. Martin Pasqualetti teaches urban planning and geography at ASU. He said fossil fuels are highly susceptible to price increases.

“The countries that have more control the prices, and when you have a conflict, that geopolitical conflict like we do in Ukraine, that disrupts everything,” said Pasqualetti.

He said that’s why solar energy is important.

It is ubiquitous, everywhere. It's not just limited to one country and other countries where everybody has it.

Although it costs about $18,000 to install, Schedler expects to get her money back through energy savings in a couple of years.

“The cost to the planet if we don’t do solar energy is going to be huge. And what’s that going to cost us,” said Schedler.

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