March 2024 Solutions Focused Community Book Club

Solutions-Focused Book Club is Fire

The Solutions-Focused Book Club was created to bring together interested community members from all walks of life to bond over a shared desire to make our community better for all – and be inspired by a shared reading experience!

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is proud to partner with the Tucson Tome Gnome and Tucson Agenda co-founder Caitlin Schmidt to host these book clubs to bring together the community and spark conversation. We can’t promise we can solve all the world’s (or Southern Arizona’s) problems, but we can connect, learn from each other, and build momentum toward positive change.

Are you a reader who cares about building a vibrant and equitable community in Southern Arizona? If so, this book club is for you!

About the Next Book

Fire has been a partner in our evolution for hundreds of millennia, shaping culture, civilization, and, very likely, our brains. Fire has enabled us to cook our food, defend and heat our homes, and power the machines that drive our titanic economy.

In May 2016, Fort McMurray, the hub of Canada’s oil industry and America’s biggest foreign supplier, was overrun by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster melted vehicles, turned entire neighborhoods into firebombs, and drove 88,000 people from their homes in a single afternoon.

John Vaillant’s book Fire Weather takes us on a riveting journey through the intertwined histories of North America’s oil industry and the birth of climate science, to the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern forest fires and into lives forever changed by these disasters.

John will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books on March 9-10. Learn more about attending one of his scheduled events here.

Where to Get a Copy
  • Dog-Eared Books Little Free Library at CFSA
  • Pima County Library: “Ensuring books are accessible to our community aligns with the heart and soul (and solutions orientation!) of our book club. Knowing that the cost of books, especially new-release hardcovers, can prevent some folks from participating in our conversations, we decided to collectively do what we could to lower that barrier. And, of course, there’s no better way to make books more accessible than by investing in our local library and making those extra copies accessible to all who are interested in engaging in this topic!” -Emily Walsh, COO at CFSA and Co-Founder of Tucson Tome Gnome
About the Event

Join us on March 14, 2024, for a special Solutions-Focused Community Book Club meeting where we will discuss Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter Planet by John Vaillant.

In addition to our traditional book club discussion, this meeting will also feature a panel discussion with local climate and environmental experts Molly Hunter, PhD, Ojas Sanghi, and Michael Zellner. The panel will be moderated by Caitlin Schmidt, co-founder of the Tucson Agenda.

When: March 14, 2024 | 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Where: Community Foundation Campus
Book: Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter Planet by John Vaillant

Please RVSP here. Light refreshments will be provided.

About Our Panelists

Molly Hunter, Ph.D., serves as the Science Advisor to the Joint Fire Science Program, a national interagency program dedicated to funding research related to wildland fire. Before joining the federal workforce, Molly held faculty positions at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, where she developed and taught numerous undergraduate, graduate, and continuing courses and maintained an active research program in fire ecology and management.

Ojas Sanghi is a sophomore at the University of Arizona studying Computer Science and Future Earth Resilience. He is the Tucson Co-Lead of the AZ Youth Climate Coalition, the Vice-President of UArizona Divest, and also serves as a Commissioner on the City Commission on Climate, Energy, and Sustainability.


Michael Zellner joined the Sonoran Institute as chief executive officer in October 2020. Mike has 30 years of experience building award-winning collaborations for global organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Dow Jones & Co., and Euromoney. At The Nature Conservancy, Mike collaborated with international, regional, and local stakeholders to conserve more than 450,000 acres, raise more than $30 million, build advisory boards in Latin America, and secure the largest corporate partnership in the history of the organization.

Caitlin Schmidt has been reporting on Tucson for the last 10 years, covering public safety, local government, sports, courts, health, and more for the Arizona Daily Star. She left the Star in June to launch the Tucson Agenda, a Substack newsletter and online vertical that offers a clear-eyed look at the decisions that affect Tucson and Tucsonans. She teaches at the University of Arizona School of Journalism and sits on the boards of several professional organizations.