Say goodbye to the basic Green, Yellow and Red air quality days!
Utah’s Division of Air Quality has updated their air quality alert system to more clearly and precisely communicate about action days and health alerts related to Utah’s air quality.
Fact: Eating healthy begins with fresh fruits and vegetables.
But it is also important to understand how the use of pesticides in industrial farming impacts the very same produce you buy at your local grocery store.
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restricts the use of the most toxic pesticides, they can still be detected on some of your favorite foods.
[VIDEO] Watch our segment on KUTV 2News!
The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and SLCgreen staff have a few tips for residents who want to make their celebrations a little greener.
- Use durable goods instead of disposable. Please, just say “no” to disposable plates, cups and utensils. Instead, bring out the readily available dishes from your very own kitchen! Sure, they require more cleanup, but you’ll be saving money and reducing waste. If you need to use disposables:
- Consider reusing disposable goods for another summer get-together to reduce your impact.
- Please note that compostable plates and utensils are currently not accepted through Salt Lake City’s Curbside Compost Program (i.e. your tan can), so steer clear.
- Provide drinks in large dispensers. It’s going to be a steamy Fourth of July this year, but instead of offering bottled water (and all of the plastic waste that comes along with it), put out drink dispensers that can be used to fill up your guests reusable water bottles or recyclable cups. This concept can also apply to any other beverages offered at your celebration – fewer bottles means less waste!
- Skip the personal fireworks. A controversial suggestion, we know. But the air pollution from fireworks can be tough on our valley’s air quality. Even sparklers have high concentrations of air pollution (read the scientific study). Consider air-friendly decorations that can be stored and reused next year instead. Need inspiration? The Daily Green has some great ideas.
- Choose air-friendly transportation. Can you bike or walk to your 4th of July celebration, or your yearly neighborhood fireworks show? Many homes in Salt Lake City offer a nice view from the convenience of your very own roof! We suggest that you skip the headache of parking and help reduce air pollution on a holiday that is especially prone to it. At the very least – carpool!
- Use a gas grill instead of charcoal. Propane gas grills heat up faster and have a whole lot less polluting emissions than charcoal grills. Read on to learn more at Earth911.com.
- Recycle, of course! When the party is over, be sure to recycle plastics, cardboard, cans and glass in the appropriate containers. Salt Lake City residents can put most recyclable materials into their blue curbside bin, and residents that subscribe to curbside glass service have an easy way to get the job done. Glass dropoff sites are also located throughout Salt Lake City.
The Daily Green has a very comprehensive Fourth of July Green Guide available on their website. We particularly love:
While you are there, also take a look at their Declare Your Independence piece.
School is out and the weather is heating up — it’s summertime in Salt Lake City!
Summer heralds a season travel, whether it is a day trip up into the mountains, a family road trip, a flight across the country or even an international adventure. Whatever your plans, we’ve put together some tips to help you green your travels.
- Just say “no” to bottled water. Bring a reusable bottle, we recommend stainless steel. If you are traveling by plane, leave it empty through airport security and fill up once you are through. Lots of airports, including Salt Lake International, now have easy-to-use water filling stations.
- Leave no trace. When visiting natural areas, including state and national parks, leave nothing but your footprints. Pack out your trash and resist the urge to take any natural “souvenirs” — accept from the gift shop of course!
- Stay at a green hotel, if there is one available. Or choose to support a locally-owned business, which generally keeps more money in the community. A simple Google search is a great place to start.
- Reuse your towels and linens when staying at a hotel. Just like you would at home – hang up wet towels to air dry and then use them again! Your small action will help add up to some big water and energy savings.
- Know your hotel’s recycling policy and be sure to sort your trash accordingly.
- When you leave your room for a day full of adventure, turn off the air conditioning, lights and any electronic devices.
- Eat at a local restaurant when traveling. The same theory applies here as to staying at a local hotel. Many local restaurants also source local, and more sustainable, ingredients for their meals.
- Choose a nonstop flight if you can. More airtime equals more fuel consumed and a larger carbon footprint.
- Skip the rental car and rent bikes. Check out America’s top 50 most bike-friendly cities.
- If you are headed to a larger city, explore available public transportation. You’ll be traveling like a local!
- If you do need to rent a car, consider carsharing options (available in most large cities) or rent the smallest, most fuel efficient vehicle possible.
Save Big, Stay Put!
- Embrace the simplicity of the staycation. There are some great ideas on Pinterest and family blogs, including spending the day at a city pool or creating a picnic adventure at a favorite park.
Do you have any tips of your own? Share them here!
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has joined 45 other mayors and county officials from around the country who have committed to creating more resilient cities, towns and counties in response to our nation’s growing extreme weather and energy challenges.
As an Inaugural Signatory of the Resilient Communities for America campaign, Mayor Becker is among the first local elected officials in the nation to showcase his leadership on these key issues testing America’s communities.
The national campaign, which launched today, recognizes that local governments like Salt Lake City are on the front lines of responding to increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by a changing climate. An unprecedented increase in heat waves, droughts, floods, severe storms and wildfires have devastated communities nationwide over the past two years and cost America $188 billion in damages.
The Resilient Communities for America campaign seeks to champion the work of Mayor Becker, Salt Lake City and other local governments at the forefront of the emerging national movement to build resilience – and to inspire hundreds more to follow their lead. Every $1 spend on disaster risk reduction can save $4 in recovery and emergency response costs – make resilience efforts a sound investment for our community.
Local Impacts for Salt Lake City
- Long-term trends show that as warming occurs, less precipitation is falling as snow in surrounding watersheds, which means diminished snowpack water storage for Salt Lake City. In addition, recent climate studies show that the timing of water runoff will shift to earlier in the season, creating challenges during peak summer water demand.
- Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation will impact water supply and water demand. One recent study indicates that Salt Lake City’s watersheds in the Wasatch Mountain range could see an overall average of 3.8% reduction in stream flow per one degree Fahrenheit. Almost all of Salt Lake City’s water supply emanates from these local Wasatch Mountain watersheds.
- In recent years, trees in the urban forest are becoming more susceptible to disease due to warming.
- Lower precipitation and warmer temperatures are causing changes to forests and vegetation, increasing the danger of area wildfires, and increasing the threat of water quality degradation.
Local Actions Being Taken by Salt Lake City
- Long-term master plans for the city will incorporate likely future climate scenarios, including the City’s Water Resource Planning efforts.
- Infrastructure Planning: Roads, storm drains and other critical infrastructure will need to handle extreme weather events such as heat waves and greater storm intensity.
- Energy Security: To minimize energy demand, especially during heat waves, the City is focusing on energy efficiency upgrades, develop net zero buildings and expanding local renewable energy sources, such as solar PV and solar hot water systems.
- Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include energy efficiency projects and transit-oriented development projects to minimize vehicle trips.
Find Resilient Communities for America on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
With Earth Day right around the corner (Monday, April 22nd) we wanted to share a few tips and events to help our residents green their lifestyle and commemorate this special day in Salt Lake City!
15 Earth Day Tips that Really Make a Difference
We spotted this excellent article on The Daily Green, and thought we would share their 15 tips to a greener lifestyle. We love how simple their recommendations are, and the fact that each of them can have an impact! Get the full scoop on The Daily Green.
- Avoid waste: recycle. Salt Lake City makes it easy to recycle common household waste with curbside mixed recycling and curbside glass.
- Give up plastic (and paper) bags. Bring your own reusable grocery bags and save money, energy and natural resources.
- Stop buying bottled water. Buy one reusable water bottle and save some serious cash. We recommend aluminum or stainless steel.
- Stop receiving unwanted catalogs. We have tips on stopping unwanted junk mail on our website.
- Give up conventional detergents. Natural cleaners have less chemicals and work effectively at cooler temperatures.
- Give up hot water (at least in the clothes washer). About 90% of the energy used during a wash cycle is to heat the water.
- Give up the clothes dryer. Or optimize your dryer loads.
- Check for leaks in your toilet. Save water and money with a simple test.
- Use recycled toilet paper. It costs about the same as regular toilet paper.
- Give up paper towels. Invest in some reusable microfiber towels, which can be easily washed and reused again.
- Run a fully loaded dishwasher. Save energy and water when you skip partial loads.
- Lower the temp in your fridge. The fridge accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the average home energy bill each month!
- Give up 2 degrees. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or more during the summer months.
- Give up dry cleaning. Check the labels when you purchase new clothes.
- Stop wasting gas! Be idle free, avoid jack rabbit starts and stops and check your tire pressure.
Earth Week @ The U
The University of Utah is celebrating Earth Week with a variety of events. View the Earth Week schedule.
Get Involved in SLC
Service in the City has created an excellent handout that outlines a variety of events and other opportunities in conjunction with Earth Day 2013. Check it out and get involved! (PDF)