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Posts from the ‘General Sustainability’ Category

Celebrate National Pollinator Week!

by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern

Have you heard about Pollinator Week?

The week of June 18-24, 2018 is designated National Pollinator Week by the Pollinator Partnership and the U.S. Senate! Hopefully you made it out to this last weekend’s Bee Festival hosted by CATALYST magazine to help kick it off and celebrate our diverse community of pollinators – bees, butterflies, birds, moths, wasps, and more!

Why Celebrate Pollinators?

Pollinator species, such as the classic honeybee, help fertilize plants that keep ecosystems thriving and crops producing. Farmers depend on them to help produce high yielding, delicious food.

All species also rely on pollinators for increasing carbon sequestration, preventing soil erosion, keeping plants reproducing, and acting as a food source for other species. Read more

How to Care for our Urban Trees and the Park Strip

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Trees in the park strip are City-owned trees. Please do not alter these trees, which comprise SLC’s 85,000 strong urban forest. Our Division of Urban Forestry will prune, remove, and plant trees in the park strip. Call (801) 972-7818 to request service.

by Sydney Boogaard, SLCgreen intern

It’s a beautiful summer’s day as you walk through the neighborhood with your favorite furry friend at your side. The shade from the trees helps cool the summer heat as you pad along… sound like a lovely afternoon?  We think so. And we have our vibrant urban forest to say thank you to.

Our urban forest comprises nearly 85,000 public trees, including 63,000 street trees and 22,000 trees that reside in our city’s parks and open spaces. These indispensable trees are cared for and maintained by Salt Lake City’s Urban Forestry Division.

Why are Urban Forests Important?

A 2010 census reported that nearly eighty-one percent of Americans now live in urban centers. This means urban forests are becoming more important than ever. They provide essential benefits to our populations and wildlife. Urban trees contribute to cleaning our air, filtering our water, controlling storm water, conserving energy, and providing shade for us and our local animal life. Not to mention, they are aesthetically pleasing, strengthen social structures, and add significant economic value to our communities.

The majority of these trees are located in park strips. So, you may ask, what is the park strip, why is it there, and what do you do with it?

Read more

Salt Lake City’s Sustainable Food Initiatives

Why does Salt Lake City have a food policy program? Community gardens, an incubator kitchen, pesticide free resources, farmers’ markets… it all helps foster a healthy city and flourishing economy.  Watch the video and then scroll through the blog post to find more details about the programs and initiatives mentioned by our program manager Bridget Stuchly.

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Lights Out for Bird Migration

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Take the Lights Out SLC pledge to protect birds.

by Sydney Boogaard, spring intern

The Problem

Throughout the Earth’s history, plants and animal species have relied on the sun and moon’s orbital cycles to govern such behaviors as reproduction, sleep, nourishment, protection, and migration. But scientific evidence is indicating that human’s use of artificial light at night is negatively affecting many creatures and the world’s ecosystems.

Artificial light can have devastating effects on nocturnal animals, sea creatures, wetland habitats, and numerous bird species.

Birds, in particular, use moonlight and starlight to help navigate their flight path during migration and hunting. Nearly two-thirds of migratory birds use the cover of night to travel. Artificial light impedes their ability to stay on course. It causes them to wander off their route and become disoriented. They lose their sense of direction and wind up in the midst of city landscapes. This puts them at risk for colliding with reflective and illuminated windows, buildings, and towers.

Every year millions of birds are killed via collisions caused by artificial light. Migrating birds also rely on signals from the environment to cue their departure. Artificial light can cause them to migrate too soon or too late, resulting in the loss of ideal conditions for nesting and feeding.

All of these reasons are why the “Lights Out” campaign got started.

Read more

SLC Open Streets is Back! Sign up to Volunteer or Host a Booth

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Photos of residents enjoying SLC Open Streets 2015

by Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern

Imagine riding your bike down a wide city street under clear, blue skies. There are no cars in sight. You meander across lanes of traffic, surrounded by fellow bikers, skaters, and joggers. Food trucks and beer gardens line the streets. Echoes of laughter are carried by the warm breeze. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t!

On May 5th, Salt Lake City is bringing back a favorite community event called Open Streets. From 10 AM to 4 PM a section of downtown will be closed to all non-essential vehicular traffic. This means that streets will be open for anything from walking to rollerblading. People are encouraged to bring family and friends for a day of movement and fun community activities including yoga classes, art exhibits, and live music.

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The route was designed for easy access to public transit and GREENbike stations in an effort to give people the opportunity to experience alternative, sustainable transportation in a safe environment. Read more

Upcoming Summit at Weber State Focuses on the Future of Sustainability

Weber State University

It’s almost spring and that means the return of one of our favorite annual events– the Intermountain Sustainability Summit held at Weber State University from February 28 – March 2! The Summit brings together a wide range of professionals from business, government, non-profits, and education to discuss and envision a sustainable future for our environment, communities, and economy.

Now in its ninth year, the Summit is geared toward engaging students, sustainability practitioners, and the general public in topics such as clean energy infrastructure, green buildings, urban water, and other sustainability topics.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn something new, mix and mingle with other sustainability folk, and come away inspired by the many goings-on in Utah and beyond.

On Wednesday evening, February 28, the summit officially kicks off with a free musical performance from the Crossroads Project, a collaboration of the Fry Street Quartet with climate physicist Dr. Robert Davies.

The performance weaves art and science together through music, prose, and stunning visual imagery — photographs by renowned environmental photographer Garth Lenz and paintings by Rebecca Allan and the quartet’s commission of Rising Tide by American composer Laura Kaminsky.

The evening performance is free and open to all who are 8 years old or older.

We’re also very excited about the rest of the Summit including this year’s keynote speaker, Naomi Oreskes, who will take the stage on the Summit’s main day, March 1.

Read more

Green Holiday Guide

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SLCgreen’s “Green Holiday Guide.” It’s snow bunny approved.

 

During the holiday rush, sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind. Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure your festivities are more eco-friendly and sustainable.

We’ve compiled these actions into a convenient Green Holiday Guide. No matter how you celebrate, we at SLCgreen hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best of times and a very happy New Year!

Christmas Trees

One great option for your home Christmas tree is a live native potted tree. When you’re done with it, plant it after the holidays or let it live on as a house plant. As an added bonus, a live tree will absorb carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen for cleaner air.

Check with your local nursery or garden center for advice on the best type of tree, depending if you are planning to replant or keep it inside.  If you can, hold off and plant it in late March or early April. This will increase the tree’s chance of surviving long term.

If you go for a cut tree, use the compost bin to dispose of it after the holidays. Make sure to cut it up so it fits in the bin and remove any tinsel or non-organic decorations (Just be sure to dispose of it before the wintertime suspension of compost bin collection, beginning the week of January 22, 2018).

If you can’t cut up your tree for the compost bin, no problem. Leave it curbside and we’ll be by during the month of January to collect it.

No matter what you do, do not burn your tree. Burning anything during the winter is horrible for our air quality (Burning during “air action” days is also against State regulation and violates Salt Lake County Health Department rules).

Energy efficiency

When stringing up lights this season, think “less is more.” For the lights you do put up, go for LED lights, which are 80-95% more efficient than traditional bulbs and will last longer. (This is a good reminder to switch out any other traditional light bulbs you may have in your home for LEDs too!)

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LED lights look great on me!

Make sure you have your lights on a timer so they only are on when you want them to be. Some LED Christmas lights are even solar powered! Read more