The Blog

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flagstaff shines bright May 4

Staying at the Grand Canyon Trust has been delightful.  Not only are the accommodations wonderful but the people who work here are interesting, smart and extremely committed to building a sustainable future.
Catherine and I had a great conversation with Roger Clark about the work the Grand Canyon Trust is doing and I took notes so that I could report on what we learned this morning from Roger.
The Grand Canyon Trust is celebrating its 25th year.  The idea for the Trust was born on a river trip down the Colorado by Martin Litton (a Palo Alto resident) and the group that he was with.
In 1991 the pollution from the upstream coal fired power plant engaged the Trust in advocacy work that went beyond the walls of the Grand Canyon.
Today, the coal fired power plants need to be retired or retrofitted to meet new standards and the Trust is advocating for the closure of the plants.  The problem is that the Navajo's and the Hopi's depend on the income from the coal companies.  24 million dollars a year goes to the Navajos and 12 million goes to the Hopis.  These are huge numbers for the tribes and they can't afford to walk away from that revenue.  Roger and Tony are working hard to bring renewable energy projects to reservation in a way that will create new business opportunities and keep the dollars generated on the Native lands.  It's a complicated and challenging assignment and the folks here are instrumental in making it happen.
We also talked about the impact of different forms of electricity generation and the subject of water came up.  The Navajo Generating Facility (just upstream from the Grand Canyon) uses 30,000 acre feet of water a year.  That's three times as much as the whole city of Flagstaff!  Wind and solar use virtually no water.
We finished our conversation talking about uranium mining and how it is polluting both the Grand Canyon and the Native lands.  Also, the profits generated from the mining are not staying in the local communities or even in this country!  So the Trust is fighting Uranium mining as well.

Sean and I cruised around the town and the campus trying to drum up radio station interest in our meeting with the mayor.  We didn't have any luck but we had a great tour of the area on our bikes and talked to lots of fine folks.
We met Mike Horan, (the supplier of our Golden Motor USA battery packs) and one of his dealers who drove up from Scottsdale to meet us.  He was very happy to hear that the batteries are holding up so well and we learned a lot about his work with Golden Motors and how they are continuing to improve their products and expand their market presence around the globe.  Sean is very ready to build up an electric bike using their components and he knows exactly which frame he wants to use.   I can't wait to see what he comes up with.  They brought two really fun electric bikes with them and bought us lunch at a burger place that serves grass fed beef.  It was the best burger I've ever had and the owner used to work at the Trust!  Small world.
After lunch Sean went and got the van with our "road show" in it and we set up just as Mayor Sara Prosler showed up.  She is completely delightful and after a little bit of insecurity about riding the bikes, she got up her nerve and rode around the block.  It only took one turn and she was hooked.  She probably road and talked with us for half an hour and she completely understands the value of the electric bike, especially the fun factor.  We will post a video soon that shows her delight and insight.

Back at the Trust offices, we played around with the bikes some more and talked with Tony and Roger about their work and our ride.  What a delightful fun day "off".
Roger Clark taking the Surley for a spin

Catherine admiring the Trust's solar panels on Trackers.  Ooooh!

Sean in love with the Golden Motors cruiser with the 48 volt power pack.  Front wheel "peel-outs"!

Me and the Mayor - Check out our petition table, solar panel and bike up on the stand.

Catherine and the Mayor

Tony likes electric bikes . . .

. . . a lot!

Our neighbor from Palo Alto, John Urquhart just happened to be passing by!