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Organizers hold the eighth annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival

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Pascal Albright | The Daily Wildcat

A fruit growing at the University of Arizona Community Garden. The garden holds a variety of plants grown by members of Students for Sustainability and the community.

Volunteers from Sustainable Tucson and other environmental groups organized the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival for its eighth year. This year, the festival took place on Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Armory Park.

There were over 50 exhibitors at the festival, ranging from booths that were selling sustainable products to organizations promoting their causes.

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Some of the exhibitors at the festival included Sunrise Movement Tucson, Sustainable Tucson and Iskashitaa Refugee Network.

Save The Scenic Santa Ritas was an exhibitor at the festival and an organization that has worked for years to resist the Rosemont Mine from being built in the Rosemont Valley in the Santa Rita Mountains. 

Greg Shinsky, the co-founder and vice president of Save The Scenic Santa Ritas, who also lives near where the mine would be built, said that the Rosemont Mine is an open-pit copper mine that, if built, would threaten the quality of water and air for cities including Sonoita, Vail, Patagonia and Tucson.

Building Resilient Neighborhoods, another exhibitor at the festival, is a local organization that teaches workshops in the community about heat preparation, specifically how to prepare if your air conditioning systems stop working in the summer. 

Representatives from the organization said that these workshops are especially important for elderly individuals living by themselves. They also said that anyone can schedule a workshop in their neighborhood if they arrange a workshop location and invite 15 or more people to come.

Paula Schlusberg, the co-chair of the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, said in an email interview that it was important to hold the festival because it represents Tucson's path toward more sustainable practices.

“We feel strongly that Tucson’s future must and will be sustainable,” Schlusberg said in an email. “That is the route we need to take in the face of many challenges we’re going to experience in coming years. There’s a lot that we can learn from each other, ways of living that will make our lives better, skills that we can incorporate into our daily lives, and people that we can work together with to build that sustainable future.”

Schlusberg said that there are a lot of organizations fighting for sustainability in Tucson but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have a lot of sustainability action going on in Tucson,” Schlusberg said in an email. “The organizations and companies at the festival today are just a partial cross section of the people who are passionate about the issues and the work that we all need to participate in. At the same time, there’s a lot that still needs to be done to educate everyone about the issues and the challenges I referred to above, including the impacts of climate change that we are going to feel.”

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There were multiple exhibitors that were associated with the University of Arizona. 

UA student exhibitors included the Compost Cats and the Marine Awareness and Conservation Society, who had a spiny dogfish shark specimen that people could touch.

The other UA-associated exhibitors were the School of Geography and Development, the UA-Banner Health All of Us Research Program, Cooperative Extension and the Masters in Development Practice program.

Accoring to Schlusberg, the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival hopes to "expand connections with university groups and programs and have even more U of A involvement next year and in coming years.”


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