Happy New Year!
2021 is here! SLCgreen is excited to move forward. But as we prepare for the year to come, we’re also ready to incorporate what we’ve learned from 2020.
At the beginning of 2020, SLCgreen was eagerly preparing for a new administration and planning for a year of innovative sustainability projects. After a busy 2019 we were ready to take the next steps towards bringing net-100% renewable energy to our community. A new state-of-the-art recycling facility was near completion. And an innovative resident-led food equity program was convening to help improve food access in Salt Lake City.
The challenges of the past year have been harrowing. Within the first months of 2020, Salt Lake City pivoted our work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We experienced an earthquake that damaged our homes and businesses. Hurricane-force winds toppled thousands of trees and left many members of our communities without power for several days.
Despite it all, SLCgreen was able to accomplish many of our goals with the help of our dedicated crews and community members. The challenges our community faced in 2020 laid bare the deep connections between equity, resiliency, and climate action. The year required us take more direct actions to improve our emergency response plans, to better support the voices of residents who have been excluded in the past, and to expand our communications to facilitate more collaborative work.
SLCgreen is ready to build off of what we learned during the past year, but before we set our sights on 2021, here are a few highlights from 2020.
Urban Heat Islands Increase the Effects of Climate Change
by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern
On a hot summer day, it feels like heat is coming from everywhere and anything.
We’ve had a lot of those days lately. In fact, July of 2018 was the fifth hottest on record (July 2017 was the hottest!)
The National Weather Service, Salt Lake City office, has calculated our July 2018 temperatures as being the fifth warmest on record.
There’s no question that temperatures are climbing as a result of climate change.
In cities, however, there’s also another factor at work. Read more
by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern
For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.
Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.
In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.
Combine the fires and fireworks with ozone created by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.
Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more
With all of the storms, hurricanes, and wildfires hitting our country this fall, we need to take the opportunity of September being Emergency Preparedness Month to prepare for and mitigate climate change.
Read the op-ed published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City’s directors of Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness.
By Vicki Bennett and Cory Lyman
September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
While Utahns traditionally take important measures to prepare for sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, we also need to think about taking mitigating action for climate-related events such as extreme flooding, changing water supplies, wildfire and heat waves.
This need is amplified by the awful pictures we see of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the destruction they have wrought. In Texas alone initial estimates are putting the damage at over $180 billion – that is billion, with a “b” – and we can’t start to comprehend numbers like that.
Scientists have been warning us for years that a warming climate increases the strength of storms like these — larger, powerful and devastating to our communities.
One month before Harvey hit, Salt Lake City experienced our own 200-year storm. .
CONTINUE ON THE TRIBUNE’S SITE.
Posted 12/16/2015 following the record-breaking snowstorm in Salt Lake City
The heavy wet snow that fell during this week’s storm has resulted in substantial tree damage throughout the entire City. Since the storm event, City crews have been hard at work removing downed trees and tree limbs from roadways, driveways, and heavily used pedestrian areas.
At this time, Salt Lake City Urban Forestry and contracted pruning crews are transitioning into a city-wide, block by block, effort to collect the thousands of medium to large sized branches that have fallen from trees within Salt Lake City parks and in our park strips along City streets. During these branch pickup operations, these ground crews will also be identifying broken branches (which are still hanging in trees) to be removed by subsequent aerial work crews.
The City is committed to completing this cleanup effort as quickly and safely as possible. However, given the quantity and spread of tree damage, branch pick up operations will continue well into next week.
As additional tree branch breakage is always possible, the Salt Lake City Urban Forestry Program is urging City residents to exercise awareness and caution when they find themselves in close proximity to trees during their day to day activities.
Please contact the Salt Lake City Urban Forestry office at (801) 972-7818 with any questions regarding the cleanup effort, and to report tree limbs blocking roads or driveways.
Late last night a pile of green waste (tree branches, grass, etc.) ignited, possibly due to a lightening strike. A quick response from the Salt Lake City Fire Department and separation of the pile by Salt Lake City Public Services limited the scope of the fire. FOX13 media story.
SLCgreen was onsite this morning to survey the area.
Images from the Indiana Ave green waste fire.