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Posts tagged ‘climate action’

Celebrate the 5th Annual Utah Climate Week

September 26th to October 2nd marks the 5th annual Utah Climate Week! In Utah, we’ve experienced extreme heat, drought, and smoke from nearby wildfires all summer. Climate Week is an opportunity to work with local leaders to identify the impacts of climate change locally, and collaborate on solutions to ensure an equitable and resilient future for all Utahns.

Climate Week is organized by the Utah Climate Action Network, consists of local governments, non-profits, faith based organizations, businesses, and individuals who are working to build a more sustainable community. Each year, Climate Week gives us a chance to connect with each other and find solutions to the threat of climate change.

Climate Week Calendar in teal and green lettering.

2021 Climate Week Schedule

Over 50 organizations are participating in this year’s Climate Week with in-person and virtual programming across Utah. SLCgreen will be participating in the panel discussion on the Utah 100% Clean Energy Program on September 27th hosted by Sierra Club Utah. This virtual event will provide an update on the Utah 100 Communities‘ work to provide community-wide net-100% renewable electricity.

Utah Climate Week 2021 Transforming Utah's Energy landscape - Panel Discussion Monday September 27, 5:30-6:45pm.

Other events include a film on air pollution hosted by HEAL Utah, a panel discussion on managing business risk during climate change, and more. Check out the full lineup and register for these events on the Utah Climate Action Network’s event page.

Act On Climate

We need everyone’s help to Act on Climate in Utah and around the globe. There are many ways to take action, including investing in solar panels at your home, reducing your meat consumption, being mindful about energy use around the house, and finding ways to improve air quality like taking public transit or biking rather than driving.

Whether you’re a seasoned environmental advocate or you’re just starting out, Utah Climate Week is a chance to learn about the unique issues Utah faces as human caused climate change impacts our health, access to food, livelihoods, and communities. Participating in Utah Climate Week can help you find ways to Act On Climate all year.

Plan Your 2021 Earth Day

There are activities throughout the month of April

Fifty-one years ago, the United States participated in the first Earth Day, an event which ultimately resulted in the creation of the EPA. Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act. Honoring Earth Day gives us the opportunity to reengage with our sustainability goals as individuals and as a community.

Every year, the Earth Day Network sets a theme to help direct engagement. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth,” a theme that helps focus our attention on conservation, restoration, and building sustainable and equitable communities long-term.

Even the smallest actions like recycling or walking instead of driving can have a big impact.

This year, Salt Lake City kicked off April by helping residents exchange their two-stroke gas-powered lawn mowers for electric mowers. Replacing 1,000 mowers will make a big impact on cleaning our air and improving public health.  

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Salt Lake City organizations have rallied to fill our Earth Day calendar with plenty of fun and safe things to do. Scroll down to find out more about the upcoming Earth Day events!

Get Outside for Earth Day

If you’re the kind of person who wants to get in the dirt on Earth Day, you’re in luck. There are several opportunities this month to get outside and help the planet!

Read more

Truck Wraps Deliver Words of Wisdom, Inspire Recycling

Every year, Salt Lake City’s low-emission waste collection trucks get a new look. In years past, the vehicles highlighted downsizing your garbage cans, the beauty of recycling, and the goal to ditch disposables. This year, the truck wraps deliver words of wisdom to inspire more thoughtful consumption and better recycling habits.

Truck wrap with Annie Leonard quote: There is no such thing as away. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.

Taking a Cue from Annie Leonard, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Robert Swan

One side of this year’s truck wraps display useful mantras encouraging SLC residents to recycle. The other side features quotes from three prominent environmental activists:

Annie Leonard is the founder of The Story of Stuff Project, which advocates for reducing our consumption and being more thoughtful about where our stuff goes. As her truck wrap quote says: there’s no such thing as away.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an environmental activist and former senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He currently serves as president of the grassroots Waterkeeper Alliance. His quote succinctly emphasizes the impact of sustainable living on our country’s well being.

Echoing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s sentiment, Robert Swan’s quote is a call to action for every individual to take steps towards protecting the environment. Robert Swan is a climate activist and the first person to walk to the North and South pole. His organization, 2041, works to educate the public about the impact of climate change on the environment, especially at the poles.

By quoting these leaders, the truck wraps pinpoint the importance of community action geared towards protecting the environment and building sustainable communities.

One of the easiest ways to follow in the footsteps of these activists is to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Truck wrap with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. quote: The most patriotic thing you can do is to take care of the environment and try to live sustainably.

Is Recycling Still Worth It?

Presented on the flip sides of the trucks are statistics about SLC’s waste management habits. In particular, they emphasize the importance of proper waste diversion in the form of recycling and composting.

Does that surprise you? With recycling changing as markets adjusted to new rules from China on contamination, there has been question as to whether recycling is even “worth it” any more.

We’re here to tell you it is and that’s a key point we wanted to emphasize with the new truck wrap designs. Let’s take a moment to dig in to that detail:

The recycling import ban that came from China in 2018 has complex causes and also underscores that recycling is a commodity market that has always experienced ups and downs.

But there is good news amid the shake-up. In particular, it’s forcing U.S. recycling processors and consumers to get back to basics: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle . . . Properly.

Read more

Utah Climate Week is Coming Up!

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

utah climate week

Source: Utah Climate Action Network

October is the month for falling leaves, cooler breezes and– now in its second year– Utah Climate Week!

Why Climate Week?

According to the latest National Climate Assessment, global temperatures will rise by some amount this century. The extent of the increase, however, will depend on how aggressively global society can rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

This change in the climate is already contributing to existing extreme weather patterns all over the world.

This is the case in Utah too. In 2018 alone, Utah has felt the effects of climate change on many fronts, including low water levels, an explosion of algal bloomspoor air quality, extreme heat, and frequent wildfires. These repercussions take a toll on our health, as well as our summer and winter outdoor recreation past-times and economic drivers.

Record 50 degree nights 2018

The National Weather Service tweeted a record 131 days in 2018 that temperatures in the Salt Lake City area did not dip below 50 degrees F.

Climate change is clearly a concern to our public safety, natural resources, and economic development. But we can all play a role in amplifying the message that it’s time to take action.  We can also look at our daily routines and make small changes that add up to meaningful emissions reductions.

These are the goals behind the Second Annual Utah Climate Week.

Utah Climate Week is hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network, a partnership that aims to reduce emissions, enhance resiliency, and engage individuals and local leaders within our state.

Utah is one of only a few other communities to host a climate week, joining the likes of New York City and LondonRead more

Plant Based Utah to Host Symposium Oct. 13

By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern

Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!

This week we sat down with Chandler Rosenberg, Managing Director of Plant Based Utah, to talk about meat, the environment, and their upcoming events. Plant Based Utah is a local plant-based nutrition advocacy group.

Chandler PBU

Chandler Rosenberg, Managing Director of the non-profit Plant Based Utah.

What if you could improve your health, save money, and lower your carbon footprint, all with one simple lifestyle change? It’s possible – by eating less meat and transitioning to a plant-based diet. That’s the message Plant Based Utah is working to spread.

In March 2017, Thomas Rosenberg and Patrick Olson who are surgeons in Park City, decided to create an organization dedicated to encouraging people to eat healthier.

They had been studying preventative nutrition for years and found that a plant-based diet could prevent and even reverse some of the various chronic diseases and conditions they came across every day. Read more

Sixteen Local Governments in Utah Call for Climate Cooperation

One of SLCgreen’s goals is to inspire action locally and nationally around climate change. Mayor Biskupski is a leader of several national coalitions to do exactly this– including the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy and the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future committee– and we’re privileged to support her work at that level.

It’s also critical to organize locally and we’ve put together workshops and meetings with fellow local governments to discuss how Utah can be a leader on climate and air quality.

PSB solar

Solar panels and the Wasatch Mountains. Shot on the roof of Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building.

This week we’re excited to share that the Deseret News published an op-ed that demonstrates this cooperation and commitment in Utah to #ActOnClimate.

Sixteen local governments from Salt Lake City to Provo, Moab to Park City, Cottonwood Heights to Heber, and more joined us in calling for increased cooperation to mitigate climate disruption. Read more

Coming Together on Climate

Mayors Climate Picture

Mayor Biskupski meets with local elected officials from across Utah to discuss policies to address climate change.

Last week, Mayor Biskupski brought together mayors and councilmembers from nine other Utah communities to discuss what local government can do to address climate change.

The latest data about fossil fuel consumption and associated pollution is deeply troubling. For the first time in hundreds of thousands of years, the Earth hit a monthly average of 410 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere.

But we still have a window to act. That’s why it’s critical for local governments to drive policies that reduce energy consumption, catalyze renewable energy development, and transform our transportation sector.

In addition to creating our own plan, Climate Positive SLCwe need to work together to achieve the kind of change our planet and future requires.

That’s why the Mayor has taken leadership roles in a number of high-profile networks, including Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean EnergyClimate Mayors, and locally with Path to Positive Utah. She was also recently appointed to chair the Alliance for a Sustainable Future Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

It’s also important, as Utah’s capital city, for us to lead locally and share the expertise and experience we have with other cities and towns. We can and must be stronger together.

That was the intention behind last week’s meeting, which was co-hosted with the Salt Lake City chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. It garnered interest from mayors and councilmembers from Utah cities and towns representing 750,000 residents which is 24 percent of the state’s total population.

READ MORE VIA THE MAYOR’S BLOG . . .

Be Prepared for Climate Emergencies, Joint Op-Ed from SLC’s Sustainability & Emergency Management Directors

Salt Lake City's Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett and Emergency Management Director Cory Lyman pen a joint op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune on climate change and emergency preparedness.

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.

Salt Lake City Spends $804 Million on Fossil Fuels Every Year

In 2014, SLCgreen released an analysis of the average energy consumption per household in Utah. We saw that the average household burns 17 pounds of coal, 208 cubic feet of natural gas, and 3 gallons of gasoline per day!

To follow-up on that report, today, we’re unveiling a bigger-picture overview of the fossil fuel consumption for Salt Lake City as a whole. Below you will find the infographic developed by Salt Lake City and the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance.

It clearly shows the flow of money from Salt Lake City to outside states and countries that produce fossil fuels.

This information really puts into perspective the importance of managing individual consumption and reducing energy waste, while enacting the best policies and regulations to help our businesses, residents, and government entities do the same.

As an individual, these numbers can be discouraging. But there are plenty of ways you can make a difference to reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality.

info_graphic

Still, the graphic begs the questions:

Wouldn’t it be better if the $804 million we spend annually on polluting fuels stayed in Utah? Better yet, what if it was invested in clean energy? 

Investing in clean energy in Salt Lake City is exactly what the Climate Positive initiative is all about. Click here to learn more about how Salt Lake City is working to cut off its dependence on fossil fuels over the next few decades.

And stay tuned: We’re about to unveil a more detailed plan on how to achieve our 80% greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2040.

Because all of this money should stay in Utah, while we keep the pollution out!

Landmark Climate Change Effort Launches in Utah

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski will joined with representatives from Salt Lake County Health Department, Alta Ski Area and Utah Interfaith Power & Light on Wednesday to launch the Utah Climate Action Network.

The Utah Climate Action Network is a partnership between government, research institutions, non-profits/foundations, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and individuals working to address climate change in Utah.

Over 20 organizations are participating in the Network, working to address climate change through conversation, leadership, and coordinated action an in effort to ensure a collaborative response to climate change and its impacts on the people, economies and prosperity of Utah.

The launch was held in conjunction with the Salt Lake County Health Department’s Climate Variability & Health Symposium. To learn more about the Utah Climate Action Network, visit UtahClimateActionNetwork.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Stories

KUTV 2: Utah Climate Action Network plans as Utah warms at twice global rate: http://bit.ly/20e6cSO

ABC 4: Utah Climate Action Network: Taking a look at climate change and its impacts on Utah’s residents: http://bit.ly/1SUMZ5J

FOX 13: Non-partisan group tackles climate change in Utah: http://bit.ly/1SEI5qP

KUER: Utah Climate Action Network Launches: http://bit.ly/1SUN9Kh

Standard-Examiner: Weber State joins several Utah organizations to confront climate change: http://bit.ly/20e6toR