On Thursday, local climate leaders were at the Justa Center in Downtown Phoenix, calling on Arizona's elected officials to pass legislation that would help combat climate change.
Dora Vasquez, the Executive Director for the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, urged Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to "protect Arizona's seniors from extreme heat by continuing to lead on clean energy growth by supporting the Build Back Better budget."
The Build Back Better plan consists of several investments in clean energy proposed by President Biden.
This call to action comes on the heels of an Excessive Heat Warning for the Valley. Temperatures this extreme have been deadly for the most vulnerable in our community.
According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, 70% of the heat-associated deaths this year were those 50 and older. Also, 63% of heat-associated deaths were outdoors this year.
Wendy Johnson, the Executive Director of the Justa Center, says investments through the Build Back Better plan would help in curbing the effects of the changing climate, protecting those that are homeless and for retirees.
“Build Back Better is an opportunity for our state that is in the top five destinations for retirement living to take care of those who have supported our living here," Johnson said.
Hazel Chandler, representing Elders for Climate Action, says the impacts of climate change, including poor air quality, have affected her health. She's also battling cancer for a third time, but it's not stopping her from acting, protecting other senior citizens, along with future generations, from the effects of climate change.
"We have to act. We have to act now. We don't have any time to waste," Chandler said.