Phoenix is an environmental leader in the state or Arizona and is now gaining national attention as a sustainability champion with its many award-winning and innovative programs.
Phoenix demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship through sustainability programs that have helped it thrive in its unique desert environment. As an early pioneer in water, energy and natural resource conservation programs, Phoenix has long used sustainability as a guiding principal, believing that sustainable living is critical to ensure that the actions we take today do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Phoenix's sustainability motto, "Living Like it Matters!" reaffirms the creed that guides its current programs and future plans.
Phoenix is also committed to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The city's support includes conducting sound water and land use planning, providing recreational opportunities, preserving open space and wildlife, and restoring blighted land and riparian habitat. This environmental ethic is shared by leaders and staff, who have developed the innovative programs that serve as success stories for other local governments. For example, as early as 1968, Phoenix pioneered rubberized asphalt overlay, using an estimated 7.9 million recycled tires since 1989. In addition, Phoenix's Water Conservation Program, which began in 1986, has resulted in 20 percent per capita reduction in water usage during the last 20 years.
Phoenix residents have been an integral part of championing new initiatives and supporting sustainability efforts through bond issues and dedicated taxes including parks preservation and construction of the light rail system. Partnerships with agencies, nonprofits, colleges and universities, utilities and other businesses have leveraged resources and enabled Phoenix to launch new programs, including the completed restoration of a portion of the Salt River. Active citizen boards and commissions have spearheaded new policies and programs, and ensured that the city's programs continue to be cutting edge and enhance existing quality of life.