Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing the friend and family food fest with it! While we prepare the feast and give thanks for the plentiful food we have, it is important to consider the amount of food that goes to waste this holiday season.
Food is one of the most important areas of sustainability in our daily lives and it is often overlooked! Reducing food waste is important for everyone because it saves both money and resources.
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 35 percent of turkey meat cooked at Thanksgiving gets wasted?
That’s a lot of wasted resources!
When we reduce food waste we save:
The resources and water used to grow crops and raise animals
Manufacturing and energy resources
Transportation resources and greenhouse gas emissions
Money by buying less and throwing away less
Disposal costs and emissions
That last one is significant– food sent to landfills is a powerful source of methane. A whopping 40 percent of food meant for eating is thrown away.
All of this rotting food produces a lot of greenhouse gases. In fact if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.
The holidays are approaching and it is a great time to take stock of our health and evaluate our eating habits— for the good of our bodies and the planet. The latter benefit is something we at SLCgreen feel passionately about.**
That’s why we’re excited to share the Meatless Monday phenomenon with you. The premise is simple: you don’t have to go fully vegan or vegetarian to make a difference. You can realize a significant health and environmental benefit just by skipping animal products one day a week!
We like to think of “Meatless Monday” as an addition, not a subtraction. Eating more whole grains, beans and lentils and vegetables on your meatless day tends to be less expensive and offers more health benefits than eating meat and dairy.
Do you care about sustainability? Are you looking to meet others who do as well? Are you interested in learning about local businesses that support the environment?
If the answer is YES, please join us for the annual e2 Business -sponsored Green Drinks event coming up on Tuesday, November 13! It’s free to attend.
The e2 business program is SLCgreen’s very own sustainability consulting and marketing program. The businesses that participate receive expert consultation and guidance in incorporating sustainable business practices that will save money and reduce their impact on the environment. It’s free for any business located in Salt Lake City limits. Our office then has the fun opportunity to promote and highlight the sustainable achievements of these businesses.
The SLC Chapter of Green Drinks International was founded in January of 2007 and is a fun, informal opportunity for anyone interested in sustainability to get together over drinks and talk “green.” Networking events occur several times per year. Everyone is welcome. Bring business cards! Read more
The Sustainable Nation Podcast produces interviews with global leaders in sustainability and was developed to provide information and insights from the world’s most inspiring change-makers.
Vicki Bennett has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program for 17 years and has integrated sustainability policies throughout government operations and Salt Lake City as a whole. She works with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable community.
Vicki’s experience includes sustainability program management, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, energy policy, food security, waste diversion, and environmental compliance.
The interview gives listeners a glimpse of Vicki’s journey from a lab chemist to her current role as the leader of Salt Lake City Green. Vicki has forged some of the City’s most innovative programs to ensure a healthy sustainable future for us all. Give the podcast a listen to learn more!
This Halloween, we’re featuring spiders on the blog! But not to scare you. In fact, we thought Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to shed some (not-so-spooky) light on these creepy crawlies.
Our eight-legged friends (yes – you read that right) top the list of the most misunderstood helpers and are labeled as pests. Entomologists are working hard to change the public’s perception of spiders through education and outreach. After all, we are less likely to be afraid of something that we are familiar with and spiders have an important ecological role as the top invertebrate predator.
Spiders evolved 380 million years ago (long before the dinosaurs) and are believed to be the first animals to live on land. They are living fossils that evolved from an underwater ancestor that makes them closer cousins to a horseshoe crab than an insect.
Spiders are often lumped together with insects even though they are very different creatures. Spiders are in the same phylum (Arthropods) as insects, because they have a segmented body. To put that in perspective, humans are in the same phylum (Chordata) as hagfish, and obviously, other than a hollow nerve cord, we are nothing like a hagfish. The differences are that big!
Without spiders, we would be waist deep in other insects!! Spiders eat an astronomical amount of bugs – somewhere in the range of 880 million tons of bugs a year!
Fear and loathing
You can Google hundreds of news articles about car wrecks and house fires caused by people’s fear of spiders. Just a few days ago, there was a house fire in California where a man burnt down his parent’s house trying to kill a black widow. While there is research that shows some people are born with an innate fear of spiders, other people raise them as pets. Read more
This week, our program manager Bridget Stuchly was honored at Slow Food Utah’s Feast of the Five Senses with the “Community Leader – Snail Award.” We’re grateful (and not at all surprised) that she received this recognition! (Though she was surprised, because we all kept it a secret!)
The Slow Food Utah Snail Awards were launched in 2012 as a way of recognizing those people who are ardent supporters and believers in the Slow Food mission. That mission is to “inspire individuals and communities to change the world through food that is good, clean and fair for all.”
Carson Chambers of Slow Food Utah and the Downtown Farmers Market presenting the “Community Leader Snail Award” to SLCgreen Program Manager Bridget Stuchly on October 21, 2018.
Did you see the news about Salt Lake City’s grand opening of Fire Station 3 last week?
We are thrilled our fire crews have a new home base from which to work, rest, and recover.
Station 3 is the second Net Zero fire station in the country behind Station No. 14, and Salt Lake City is home to the only two Net Zero energy fire stations in the U.S!
Net Zero means the Station will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. It’s also expected to become certified as LEED Gold, which means it meets a range of holistic sustainability benchmarks, including material management, waste diversion, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more.
Salt Lake City’s internal Comprehensive Sustainability Policy (6.01.02) specifies that all new municipal construction should be evaluated to meet Net Zero energy standards (if over 10,000 square feet), as well as LEED Gold.
Station 3 is one example of Salt Lake City’s commitment to sustainability, as well as the 100 percent renewable-energy goal described in our Climate Positive 2040 plan. The thoughtful design features are anticipated to result in long-term environmental and economic benefits for our city and the surrounding areas. Read more