Did you know that Earth Day was celebrated by over a BILLION people last year?
That is an incredible number, right?
It’s been celebrated since 1970 and has since become the world’s largest day for environmental awareness and the world’s largest service project. It is often marked by planting trees, doing litter cleanups, or engaging in other volunteer projects.
In honor of Earth Day 2019, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do personally to reduce your impact on the planet, as well as some fun upcoming events to help you choose how you want to celebrate Earth Day!
The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department and Utah Clean Energy have teamed up with the International Rescue Committee, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, and YouthCity Government to achieve a common goal: empower Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhoods with the tools to reduce pollution while saving energy and money.
The unique partnership is the result of a $200,000 investment from Salt Lake City and was announced on April 11, 2019 with the launch of Empower SLC, a community engagement effort to help Salt Lake City residents reduce pollution and save energy on a community-wide scale. The program is being managed by long-time experts Utah Clean Energy.
“Energy efficiency is often the unsung hero of clean air and a healthy climate,” said Kevin Emerson, energy efficiency program director, Utah Clean Energy. “When you save energy at home, you reduce pollution. Now consider the possibilities when we save energy throughout our entire community.
Small steps in energy efficiency can make a big impact on air quality and climate solutions. We are thrilled to bring this pilot program to westside Salt Lake City and make a positive impact in so many lives.”
Saving energy is something everyone can do and the Empower SLC website features a handy list of actions (PDF), with associated energy and cost savings, available to all.
However, the reality is that not everyone can access simple energy efficiency tools.
On Tuesday, April 2, Mayor Biskupski appeared before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change to discuss how a warming planet is affecting Salt Lake City– from our air quality, to wildfires, to drought, to the ski industry, and more.
To see the full testimony, watch the video below (Mayor Biskupski begins at roughly 2:40:40)
See news coverage here:
Deseret News:Salt Lake City mayor urges action on climate change in testimony before congressional committee
Salt Lake Tribune:Biskupski touts Salt Lake City’s efforts to address climate change and urges the federal government to step up
KSL:Salt Lake City mayor urges action on climate change in testimony before congressional committee
KUER:Salt Lake City Mayor: Cities Are Already Fighting Climate Change, Now Washington Needs To Step Up
Her written testimony is included below. Also check out her 5-minute remarks on the Mayor’s site.
FULL WRITTEN TESTIMONY
Mayor Jacqueline M. Biskupski Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change April 2, 2019
Thank you for welcoming me here today, and for taking the time to hear from local elected officials on the topic of climate change.
My name is Jackie Biskupski. I’m proud to serve as Mayor for the 200,000 residents of Salt Lake City—a position I’ve had since 2016. I’m also Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future—a committee dedicated to forging connections between the public and private sectors to collaboratively tackle our environmental challenges. I’m also co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy coalition, and a member of Climate Mayors and Women 4 Climate.
Salt Lake City is a majestic and special place. Over 25 years ago, I came to Utah for a ski trip and I never left! We are the crossroads of the west and are blessed to have world-class recreation, breathtaking natural splendors, a strong economy, a vibrant culture, and a collaborative spirit.
Today I am here to discuss what we are already experiencing in Salt Lake City, and how we are working tremendously hard to avoid the worst effects that are projected. But we need your help.
Myrtle Spurge is a Class 2 Noxious Weed that grows in large, scattered colonies throughout public lands in Salt Lake City, especially in the foothills. The plant reproduces in the spring, which is why we have to pull them now.
Join SLC’s Trails & Natural Lands Division on April 13 for the Annual Purge Your Spurge Event to help eradicate this weed!
“We’re delighted to partner with Urban Food Connections of Utah to give farmers the critical boost they need to invest back in their operations!”
There have been three funding cycles so far (check out round 1,round 2, and round 3 recipients). We’re excited to allocate the latest $15,000 for a running total of $60,000 in microgrant funding to assist local, small-scale farmers who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind. The microgrant fund is one of SLCgreen’s Local Food programs helping achieve our goal of increasing overall access to fresh, healthy food for all members of the SLC community.
Congratulations are in order for seven Utah farms!
Come learn about the process a new community garden goes through to get approved. We’re also looking for your input what you would like included in the garden design. Finally, we’ll discuss potential impacts it could bring to the neighborhood.
Hear us out: You’ve heard that a big chunk– roughly 50 percent — of Salt Lake City’s winter air pollution comes from motor vehicles.
That’s why SLCgreen promotes cleaner transportation and getting out of our cars as much as possible, particularly during February and the Clear the Air Challenge.
But, we know that taking public transit, biking, or purchasing an electric vehicle is not practical for everyone – yet! However, there are some important ways to reduce pollution even when you do drive.
We all want to take better care of our health and live in a healthy world and by planning ahead we can help our city have fewer red air days! Here’s how:
Avoid Cold Starts. Cold starts occur when we start our vehicles after they have been resting long enough for the engine to get cold.
Did you know? A majority of the air pollutants used across an entire journey are emitted in the first few minutes after you start your car.
A study from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality “found that 75 percent of combined pollutants and emissions are emitted from a car during the first three minutes after a cold start,” as described in a UCAIR’s blog post and video below.