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Posts from the ‘General Sustainability’ Category

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

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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

Join the Pesticide Free SLC Campaign!

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As you may know, Salt Lake City has partnered with the Healthy Babies Bright Futures alliance to conduct an assessment and implement approaches to reduce exposure to certain chemicals deemed most risky for babies in their first 1,000 days of development.

One of the ways we’re doing that is by piloting organic turf management at two Salt Lake City parks, with the goal of adding more City properties.

Now we’re asking you to join us! Take the pledge to be Pesticide Free in your landscaping. You’ll get a yard sign, as well as a helpful toolkit for how to use organic methods at your home or businesses.

“Pesticide Free SLC” is a public campaign to educate and encourage Salt Lake City residents and businesses to phase out chemical pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer use from their landscaping. Read more

Salt Lake City featured in Sierra Club’s Ready For 100% Clean Energy Report

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Today, the Sierra Club released a new report showcasing 10 U.S. cities that have made ambitious commitments to be powered with 100 percent clean, renewable energy and the steps those communities are taking to achieve their goal. The report features Salt Lake City, along with Moab, and Park City as leaders in the 100 percent clean energy goal.

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Halloween Decorating! SLCgreen Style

Sustainability Decorations- plastic bag ghosts, trash bag spider webs, sunflowers.

Halloween is right around the corner! Have you finished your decorations yet?

The City & County Building is having a door decorating competition between departments (never mind that the building itself might be haunted….!)

Of course, here at the Sustainability Department we know it’s important to “walk our talk” in terms of decorating with reused, compostable, and recyclable goods to keep material out of the landfill.

In the process, we had a fun time using our creativity (and Google) to come up with some cool ways to spookishly decorate. Here are some tips for your home or office: Read more