Editor's Note: Plant in Peril

In honor of Earth Day, this week we bring you two stories focusing on how climate change is transforming our little corner of the world. Associate editor Jeff Gardner looks at how drought and rising temperatures are affecting our cacti and other flora, while UA intern Madison Beal looks at how fire danger is increasing in these parts, often driven by invasive grasses like the cursed buffelgrass.

These local problems are just the tip of the (rapidly melting) icebergs that lie ahead for everyone on the planet. This last year has given us a preview of what happens when natural forces spiral beyond our control. There's no vaccine that allows us to lower sea levels when the oceans overrun our coastal cities or reduce temperatures when it's too miserable to think about going outside. And the deniers won't be able to take to social media to claim the floods and the heat are a hoax (though they will undoubtedly try). If we don't start working to reverse greenhouse gases and take better care of this pale blue dot in space, we are bequeathing a terrible future for our children and their children.

On a happier note: I'm delighted to welcome calendar editor Emily Dieckman back to our pages with a big list of pandemic-safe activities. We still have a COVID problem—cases have leveled off but they are no longer in decline—but about 36% of Pima County residents have been vaccinated and we here at Tucson Weekly want people to have some fun. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions when you go out. Please follow mask mandates and all that jazz.

Elsewhere in the book this week: Staff reporter Christina Duran fills you in on Gov. Ducey's continuing efforts to undermine efforts to slow the spread of COVID, as well as sharing the latest on TUSD's long-running desegregation lawsuit; The Skinny examines how Ducey put enough petty roadblocks in the path of a FEMA vax clinic here that local officials have thrown in the towel in launching one; managing editor Austin Counts toasts a new distribution deal for our local Whiskey del Bac; arts writer Margaret Regan looks at the last show in Etherton Gallery's current home and tours their new space in Barrio Viejo; and Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott looks at a course that teaches you how to grow your own weed. Plus, we've got patio of the week, Dan Savage's sex column, Tucson's best horoscope, puzzles, cartoons and plenty more to keep you busy with our newspaper.

See you next week!

Jim Nintzel

Executive Editor