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Solving Climate Change with Clean Energy: A Special Event on Thursday, February 4

Solving Climate Change Banner (1)

Tackling climate change requires fresh perspectives, diverse collaborations and a profound transition to cleaner energy sources.

Join us on Thursday, February 4th to explore these themes and what they mean for Utah. We’ll be joined by two prominent local leaders, Sarah Wright and Matt Pacenza, who will share their insights on clean energy and climate solutions.

We’ll start the evening with a 60-minute screening of Episode 6 of the Emmy-award winning series Years of Living Dangerously. This will be followed by a 30-minute panel with our local experts. Episode 6 of the series focuses on methane leaks from natural gas operations, lobbying forces in America and home-grown renewable energy solutions.

RSVP to the Facebook event!

Watch the trailer:

Speaker Bios

Sarah Wright is the founder and Executive Director of Utah Clean Energy, a non-profit partnering to build the new clean energy economy in Utah for the past 15 years. She leads a team that collaborates with government, private sector and other community partners to stop energy waste while simultaneously building a smarter energy future.

Sarah is an intervener in regulatory proceedings and an expert witness in legislative hearings, testifying in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Sarah has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Bradley University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah.

Matt Pacenza joined HEAL Utah five years ago and began serving as Executive Director in 2015. HEAL is a non-profit that promotes renewable energy and advocates for enhanced public health while opposing toxic harms to the environment.

Matt has managed HEAL’s policy agenda on nuclear waste, energy and clean air issues and now leads the organization’s staff, program and budgets. Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University. From the east coast, he now happily calls “Sugarhood” his home.

ABC 4 News Features Salt Lake Climate Week


Yesterday, ABC 4 News stopped by Salt Lake City Green to get the scoop on Climate Week — what the City is doing to reduce its impact and what you can do to get started! It’s a fantastic story. Click on the video above to watch the story on

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Salt Lake City officially kicked off its first ever Climate Week. The initiative is designed to increase awareness about the local realities of climate change, what the city is doing to prepare for the future and what residents can do to reduce their impact at home.

No matter your stance on climate change, it’s undeniable Utah is heating up.

Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Program Manager Tyler Poulson explained, “In Utah in recent decades temperatures have been increasing about twice the global average and its certainly something that’s not gone unnoticed in Salt Lake City.”

That’s why the city’s Sustainability Division created the group Salt Lake Climate Change Leaders.

“We’re having monthly workshops for about 26 employees from all departments so airport, fire, police, water and everything in between, and we’ve been learning about climate change, its impact locally and how to make a difference,” said Poulson.

Leaders in that group came up with Climate Week to share what they’ve learned with the community. They say there is five easy steps residents can take to reduce their carbon footprint by about 5,000 pounds of CO2 emissions a year, and even save some money about $500 a year.

One of the easiest steps you can take to save yourself about $100 a year and about a 1,000 pounds in CO2 emissions is to wash your clothes in cold water. Poulson said, “About 90% of the energy and emissions associated with washing your clothes is associated with heating the water.”

Some other actions Poulson suggests, “Keeping your tires fully inflated, or if you’re a Salt Lake City resident checking out the Hive pass for public transit. Some other actions include changing out your lightbulbs to LEDs, they’re really energy efficient and starting to look great, and then also downsizing your trash can and using renewables.”

Salt Lake City is practicing what it preaches. In 2008 the Mayor and City Council committed to reducing its municipal footprint 20% below the 2005 level by 2020, and 80% below that by 2050.

To read more on the city’s efforts to date log on to:
To learn more about climate week log on to:

Climate Week: SLC in Action, Energy Efficient Technology


As part of Climate Week, the inaugural class of Salt Lake Climate Leaders have been working within their City departments to promote actions that will have a positive impact on the City’s carbon footprint.

Salt Lake City’s Information Management Systems (IMS) Department kicked things off on Monday with a special showcase featuring energy efficient technology that promotes a greener environment. IMS regularly hosts technology fairs to educate City employees the latest technologies available to streamline operations.

This is the first showcase to feature products that will help City departments save energy, reduce their carbon footprint and increase energy consciousness.

Some of the technologies featured include:

  • Solar charging options and rechargeable battery packs
  • Low voltage/small footprint computing devices
  • Low power & longer life projectors
  • The latest in teleworking and collaboration technology
  • Portable technologies

Learn more about Climate Week and how you can get involved at


Land Available. Farmers Wanted!

Are you a farmer looking for land?  Salt Lake County plans to contract with a qualified individual or organization to use County-owned parcels of land less than an acre each along 1100 West and north of 3300 South for small plot urban farming to provide agricultural-based economic development opportunities to a local farmer.  The bid, available here, is open until July 14th, 2015.


Salt Lake City Perspective: White House Climate Recommendations

Photo Credit: Patrick Nelson

Big Cottonwood Canyon. Photo Credit: Patrick Nelson

The final report of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience includes 34 recommendations organized into seven primary themes, all which emphasize the nexus of Federal programs and executive actions with the actions of state, local, and tribal governments and their citizens.

Water, energy and infrastructure are cross-cutting issues in many of the themes. Recommendations include climate planning efforts that not only prepare for climate effects, but also include mitigation approaches to reduce climate impacts in the future.

Five overarching principles were part of all recommendations:

  • Require consideration of climate-related risks and vulnerabilities as part of all Federal policies, practices, investments, and regulatory and other programs.
  • Maximize opportunities to take actions that have dual-benefits of increasing community resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Strengthen coordination and partnerships among Federal agencies, and across State, local, and tribal jurisdictions and economic sectors.
  • Provide actionable data and information on climate change impacts and related tools and assistance to support decision-making.
  • Consult and cooperate with Tribes and indigenous communities on all aspects of Federal climate preparedness and resilience efforts, and encourage states and local communities to do the same.

Take a look at the recommendations below, including how they apply to Salt Lake City.

Theme 1: Building Resilient Communities

The Task Force has four recommendations that will support the development of resilient communities through new approaches to land use, building and infrastructure design, and planning:

  • Accelerate the development of models and disseminate best practices for community resilience.
  • Develop and encourage the adoption of resilience standards in the siting and design of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Encourage and reward climate-smart land use management and development practices.
  • Lead by example: The Federal Government should serve as a model for climate resilience in its investments, operations and programs.

Salt Lake City is aggressively preparing for future climate challenges, to be a resilient community with a high quality of life due to our climate preparedness activities. Our efforts will ensure future clean and sufficient water supplies, investment in renewable, clean energy systems, and alternative transportation systems. These investments will not only make Salt Lake City more resilient; they will also improve our citizens’ health through improved air quality and a more walkable community.

We have been fortunate to partner with Western Water Assessment, part of the NOAA Regional Integrated Science Assessment Program, to conduct climate vulnerability work.  This partnership has leveraged our access to actionable data and tools to support climate adaptation decision-making.  This is a good example of federal support being used to help local communities prepare for climate change impacts.

Theme 2: Improving Resilience in the Nation’s Infrastructure

Infrastructure has already been compromised in many areas of the nation by extreme weather events, affecting local economies and community security. Recommendations for the Federal Government to reduce the vulnerability of public and private infrastructure to climate impacts include these six major topic areas:

  • Support climate resilience as part of coastal infrastructure planning and investments.
  • Promote and prioritize the use of green and natural infrastructure.
  • Support and incentivize climate resilient water resource planning and management.
  • Integrate climate resilience planning and preparedness criteria throughout existing Federal transportation funding programs.
  • Support Property Assessed Clean Energy programs.
  • Support development of a clean and resilient energy grid.

Salt Lake City will benefit from these recommendations as it is proposed to require grant programs to address potential climate impacts as projects are reviewed. It is also recommended that the Federal Government finalize its guidelines on climate impacts and carbon emissions in NEPA evaluations, which will provide better long-term considerations of public health, safety, and financial risks for communities. This will especially help our regional transportation and watershed planning efforts.

Theme 3: Ensuring Resilience of Natural Resources

The five recommendations here emphasize the need to protect and conserve terrestrial and aquatic natural systems to reduce climate vulnerabilities and enhance community resilience:

  • Restore and conserve ecosystems and lands to build resilience in a changing climate.
  • Combat the spread of invasive species, pests, and diseases.
  • Support resilience planning for ocean and coastal ecosystems.
  • Promote integrated watershed management and planning to protect water quality and quantity.
  • Enhance the scientific understanding of climate impacts on natural resources and provide technical assistance to help communities reduce adverse climate impacts.

Salt Lake City: Specific actions that will support Salt Lake City include the development of regional modeling initiatives to provide information to adapt to climate change impacts on water quantity and quality; and the development of a national, integrated water strategy that focuses on watershed protection and water conservation.

Our Mountain Accord process is an excellent example of how climate issues can be integrated into long-term integrated decision-making processes that encompass natural systems, land use, and transportation. Future preservation and development actions are evaluated and determined with a climate resiliency lens, and Federal support on how to measure climate resilience will be invaluable. Federal recommendations also include forest health planning at the State and regional level, which will directly benefit the Wasatch watersheds.

Theme 4: Preserving Human Health & Building Resilient Populations

Communities need to recognize the impacts of climate change on public health, social networks, and vulnerable populations, and prepare for those impacts by developing mechanisms to enhance resilience among residents. Major recommendations to support this theme include:

  • Address the needs of vulnerable populations, especially those already facing economic or health-related challenges.
  • Improve capacity to protect public health.
  • Assist communities in building food system security.
  • Improve disaster preparedness for communities most at-risk.
  • Explore Federal role in addressing climate change-related displacement, needs of affected communities, and institutional barriers to community relocation.

Salt Lake City will look to receive resources and incentives to support clean water, air, and local, healthy foods. The Federal Government is also recommending additional pre-disaster training on Federal response and recovery programs for elected officials and community leaders which would enhance our current emergency planning efforts.

Theme 5: Supporting Climate-Smart Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

Knowing that climate change will affect the frequency and severity of extreme weather hitting communities, these recommendations focus on ways for Federal agencies such as FEMA to better coordinate with communities both in preparedness planning and during disaster recovery.  Six recommendations in this area include:

  • Build a stronger culture of partnership and service to communities impacted by disaster.
  • Remove barriers to rebuilding for future climate resilience.
  • Incentivize and fund Community Resilience Plans with a holistic approach to preparedness and recovery.
  • Modernize data collection, analysis, and mapping based on current and predicted climate impacts to help improve local capacity for effective hazard mitigation planning.
  • Modernize and elevate the importance of hazard mitigation programs.
  • Strengthen the National Flood Insurance Program to prevent development that increases exposure and losses to flooding, and eliminate inequities for urban and rural locations.

While Salt Lake City is fortunate that we have yet to have a major climate-related disaster, continual planning will reduce risks to our citizens and minimize the costs of recovery when a severe weather event does occur. Having access to updated information from our Federal partners such as flood hazard maps, wildfire risk and erosion hazards will be essential to our resilience efforts.

Theme 6: Understanding and Acting on the Economics of Resilience

Climate change poses significant economic risk to all sectors and communities. These four measures encourage more prudent investments in long-term resilience to better ensure a vibrant economic future as the climate continues to change:

  • Promote private sector and workforce resilience to reduce economic disruptions associated with the impacts of climate change.
  • Reward resilient investments and consider the benefits of ecosystem services in cost-benefit analysis.
  • Safeguard places of national, economic, and historical significance.
  • Collaborate with the insurance industry.

Salt Lake City: Applying the true economic costs of future climate risks will be essential as we make future decisions. One example of this is our work with the State of Utah and regional energy providers to evaluate appropriate costs and account for benefits of renewable energy. We need to consider long-term economic, environmental and societal benefits of these investments, not simply short-term decisions that often undervalue climate resilient strategies. And as we move forward with our regional climate preparedness efforts, input from business leaders and representatives from professional organizations will be vital.

Theme 7: Building Capacity for Resilience

Communities must have the capacity to recognize, understand, and assess relevant climate-related risks in order to successfully prepare for climate change. These recommendations detail the ways that the Federal Government can provide data resources and create public awareness to support local climate preparedness efforts:

  • Provide data, tools, and guidance at a scale sufficient to guide decision-making and investments.
  • Foster and support cross-jurisdictional and regional cooperation.
  • Create a Climate Resilience Corps to boost community capacity.
  • Increase climate literacy and public awareness.

Salt Lake City: Education is needed to clearly link how the climate is changing and how it will impact the lives of our citizens. Having more centralized data will help both Salt Lake City and our residents identify climate risks and support community resilience planning.

Mayor Becker, Leaders Present Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Recommendations to the Administration

Over the past year, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett have participated in the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Today, the White House released the list of recommendations presented to the administration by the task force and executive actions already in the works. Read on for details!

As part of the Administration’s overall effort to combat climate change, President Obama is committed to ensuring that U.S. communities thrive in the face of a changing climate. The Administration has made significant investments in resilient disaster recovery in the wake of devastating storms like Hurricane Sandy, ensuring that rebuilding and infrastructure projects factor in climate impacts such as sea-level rise and investing in making transit systems more resilient to flooding and extreme weather.

Last year, as part of his Climate Action Plan, the President established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that drives climate change, we must also improve our ability to prepare for the climate impacts we are already seeing across the country. The Task Force comprises Governors, Mayors, county executives and Tribal leaders from across the country who are experiencing climate change impacts ranging from more severe droughts and wildfires to record heat waves and damaging storms.  Task Force leaders have taken bold action to protect their communities by investing in more resilient infrastructure, updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, and planning for rapid recovery from extreme weather events.

Today, at a meeting with Vice President Biden and Senior White House officials, Task Force members will present their recommendations for how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The Administration is also announcing new tools and actions to help these leaders and others contend with climate impacts and build healthy and resilient communities, including a web-based Climate Resilience Toolkit that provides for the first time easy, intuitive access to dozens of Federal tools that can directly help planners and decision makers across America conduct their work in the context of a changing climate.

Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

The Task Force’s recommendations are the culmination of a year of work to solicit input from across State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, trade associations, academic organizations, civil society, and various other stakeholders and translate their first-hand experiences into action items for the Federal Government to support climate-ready communities. The recommendations offer guidance on how the Federal Government should modernize programs and policies to incorporate climate change, incentivize and remove barriers to community resilience, and provide useful, actionable information and tools. The Task Force organized its report across seven cross-cutting themes: building resilient communities; improving resilience in the Nation’s infrastructure; ensuring resilience of natural resources; preserving human health and supporting resilient populations; supporting climate-smart hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness and recovery; understanding and acting on the economics of resilience; and building capacity.

This approach ensures that the recommendations reflect the diversity of needs across the country and within each community, ranging from health to natural resources management to infrastructure and building design. For example, the recommendations address how the Federal Government can limit disease spread that is caused or exacerbated by climate change through the development and enhancement of climate-sensitive health tracking and surveillance tools, and call on the Federal Government to integrate climate resilience planning and preparedness criteria throughout existing Federal programs, such as those that provide transportation funding, to ensure these projects will last as long as intended.

Executive Actions on Climate Resilience to Support State, Local and Tribal Leaders

At today’s meeting, Task Force members will view a demonstration of the Administration’s new Climate Resilience Toolkit, which was called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan and developed with input from the Task Force. In addition to providing easy access to resources ranging from a tool that helps planners see which neighborhoods are likely to flood in future storm surges to a tool that shows how predicted future drought conditions would affect regional crop growth, the Toolkit presents more than 20 case studies that feature step-by-step examples of how real-world decision makers have used these tools, lessons learned, and best practices. The Toolkit, which is publicly accessible at, initially focuses on the topics of coastal flood risk and food resilience. In the coming months, it will be updated to address additional areas such as water, ecosystems, transportation, and health.  Some features of the Toolkit include:

  • The Climate Explorer: A visualization tool that offers maps of climate stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the Nation.
  • Steps to Resilience: A five-step process that users can follow to initiate, plan, and implement projects to help make their homes, communities, and infrastructure more resilient to climate-related hazards.
  • “Taking Action” Stories: More than 20 real-world case studies describing climate-related risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they’re taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they’re using to improve resilience.
  • Federal Resource Database: The Toolkit provides centralized access to federal sites for future climate projections, as well as freely available tools for accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in resilience-building efforts.

In addition to the Toolkit, the Administration announced several other initiatives to support State, local, and Tribal climate resilience needs, including:

  • Developing Online Resilience Training for Local Officials The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing an online climate adaptation training module for local government officials with locally tailored information that can help officials answer questions about climate impacts and resilience opportunities specific to their community. The virtual training module, which is being developed with advice from members of EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee, and will be accessible through the new Climate Resilience Toolkit, will also include examples of effective resilience strategies that have been successfully implemented in representative types of cities and towns across the nation.
  • Announcing a Hampton Roads Preparedness and Resilience Exercise Led by the National Security Council and supported by the National Exercise Division, the Administration will conduct a climate preparedness exercise in partnership with State and local leaders, as well as private-sector, academic and non-governmental partners in the Hampton Roads, VA region on December 2, 2014.  Similar to successful workshops in Houston, Texas; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Anchorage Alaska, this one-day exercise provides partners with the best-available science on climate effects and consequences and a tailored scenario designed to enhance regional climate adaptation and hazard mitigation planning. This workshop will reinforce work currently underway in the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas to address climate impacts, especially sea level rise, extreme storm surge, and recurrent flooding.
  • Creating a Disaster Recovery App The Department of Energy is launching Lantern Live, a mobile application that will provide real-time information in the wake of severe weather events on which gas stations have fuel and which neighborhoods have electricity.  The app was developed in response to lessons learned in the aftermath Hurricane Sandy, and will allow users to report and view availability of fuel at nearby gas stations and access power company outage maps.
  • Launching a Climate Education and Literacy Initiative The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching a Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, which has been developed in collaboration with Federal partners and shaped by input from communities and organizations across the country.  OSTP will convene leaders in education and climate science from the public, private, nongovernmental, and philanthropic sectors at the White House to discuss new commitments and steps to connect our students and citizens with the skills they will need to succeed as tomorrow’s community leaders, city planners, and entrepreneurs, in the context of a changing climate.  This effort is a key step in growing a next-generation American workforce that is equipped with scientific information and tools, grasps the climate-change challenge, and is empowered to develop and implement solutions.

The Administration has previously taken additional actions to build National resilience based on input from Task Force members. This includes launching Federal competitions – like the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition – that spur innovation and encourage investments in community resilience, new funding to support tribes prepare for climate impacts, and making vast Federal data resources on climate change impacts more accessible to decision-makers, innovators, and the public through the Climate Data Initiative.  The Administration is also taking steps to ensure that public investments – whether in transportation systems, infrastructure, or natural resources – are made with future conditions in mind, and has ensured Federal agencies ranging from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Homeland Security are actively incorporating climate resilience into their missions and operations. Going forward, the Administration will continue to collaborate with Task Force members and other community leaders from across the country to build a healthier and more resilient Nation.


#ActOnClimate in Salt Lake City

Over the last nine months, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake City Green Director Vicki Bennett have participated in the White House’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which was tasked with advising President Obama on how the Federal government can best respond to the needs of communities nationwide already dealing with the impacts of climate change.

The task force, made up of 26 officials from across the country, is holding its fourth and final meeting today in Washington D.C. Formal recommendations will be delivered to the President in the fall.

Today the President is announcing a series of actions to respond to the Task Force’s early feedback to help state, local, and tribal leaders prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change by developing more resilient infrastructure and rebuilding existing infrastructure stronger and smarter. See below for full details.

We’re proud to #ActOnClimate right here in Salt Lake City! Learn more at or

And check out this SLCgreen blog story about how the City is leading the way with solar!


FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Support State, Local, and Tribal Leaders as They Prepare Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change

Providing Federal resources to support climate preparedness:

  • National Disaster Resilience Competition. The nearly $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition, announced by the President on June 14, will make resources available to communities that have been struck by natural disasters in recent years.  Building on the success of the Rebuild by Design competition after Hurricane Sandy, this competition will create replicable models of modern disaster recovery that apply science-based and forward-looking risk analysis to address recovery and resilience needs.  The competition will also help communities create and implement disaster recovery plans that will make them better prepared for future extreme weather events and other shocks.

    Today, new details for the competition are being announced by the President. The year-long competition will have two phases: (1) risk assessment and planning; and (2) design and implementation.  Many communities will be eligible for funding and technical assistance during Phase 1 to develop innovative, data-driven, and community-led approaches to recovery that increase preparedness for future disasters.  A subset of these communities will be invited to continue in Phase 2 to design solutions for recovery and future resilience. The best proposals will receive funds for implementation to demonstrate how communities across the country can build a more resilient future.  More information is available at

  • Helping tribes prepare for climate impacts. The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs today launched a new $10 million Federal-Tribal Climate Resilience Partnership and Technical Assistance Program that will help tribes prepare for climate change by developing and delivering adaptation training. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will establish an interagency group to provide tribes with data and information, improve Federal collaboration, and assist with climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
  • Investing in the nation’s rural electric system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced awards totaling $236.3 million in funding for eight states to support improved rural electric infrastructure. A modern, reliable electric system is critical to attract and retain residents and businesses in rural communities. Supporting rural electric utilities’ deployment of smart grid technologies will increase efficiency and reliability and bring more jobs to rural America.  President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity, support the rural way of life, and ensure the Federal Government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
  • Developing advanced mapping data and tools. The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and other Federal agencies today launched a $13.1 million 3-D Elevation Program partnership designed to bring Federal agencies, academia, corporate entities, states, tribes, and communities together to develop advanced 3-dimensional mapping data of the United States.  These data and related tools will be used in the areas of flood risk management, water resource planning, mitigation of coastal erosion and storm surge impacts, and identification of landslide hazards as an essential component of supporting action on climate resilience. More information is available at
  • Safeguarding access to quality drinking water amid drought. USDA continues to work with producers, communities, affected states and other agencies to help address the current West Coast drought. This week, the Department will announce additional funds to help rural communities struggling with drought. These funds will help rural communities that have experienced or are likely to experience a significant decline in the quantity or quality of drinking water due to severe drought and other emergencies.

Rebuilding stronger and safer after natural disasters:

  • Establishing a Mitigation Integration Task Force.  In order to help communities build back stronger and safer in the face of new risks, FEMA has established a Mitigation Integration Task Force to develop and implement a Mitigation Integration Pilot Program by the end of August.  Working with State, tribal, local, and eligible private non-profit partners, FEMA will identify pilot projects in current and emerging disasters where there are specific opportunities to make investments that result in a more resilient outcome than using a single funding source and program.  This pilot program will work to equip communities to meet their recovery objectives and ensure that all resources are brought to bear through FEMA’s Mitigation and Recovery programs to minimize the impact of future disasters. This is part of FEMA’s goal of breaking the cycle of disasters — saving lives, protecting property, reducing losses, and allowing individuals and communities to recover more quickly after a disaster.
  • Accounting for Climate Change in Hazard Mitigation Planning.  To ensure that States are preparing for the impacts of climate change, FEMA will release new guidance for State Hazard Mitigation Plans that calls upon States to consider climate variability as part of their requirement to address the probability of future events in state planning efforts. Last issued in 2008, FEMA’s guidance for these plans helps States prepare in advance of a disaster to identify and drive actions for more resilient and sustainable recovery, such as elevating or relocating homes and businesses to reduce flood risks associated with sea-level rise and more intense storms or rebuilding to higher standards. More information is available at

Building more resilient communities:

  • Committing to “Preparedness Pilots.”  The Administration today announced the launch of two “Preparedness Pilots” in cooperation with the City of Houston and the State of Colorado, with NASA (Johnson Space Flight Center) and the Energy Department (National Renewable Energy Laboratory).  The pilots will involve key Federal agencies in each community, including NASA, the Energy Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Agriculture. These pilots will bring together federal agencies and local communities to assess and plan for their region-specific vulnerabilities and interdependencies associated with the impacts of climate change. This effort will advance preparedness planning on the ground and help create models for other communities and agencies to follow.
  • Making our coasts more resilient.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced new program guidance under Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure greater consideration of how climate change may exacerbate challenges in the management of coastal areas.  Through this effort, $1.5 million of competitive funding will be available to help states and tribes make improvements to their coastal management programs. The guidance will help state and tribal coastal managers better prepare for the impacts of climate change and improve the safety of their communities.  More information is available at
  • Improving stormwater management. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched a Green Infrastructure Collaborative among government agencies, NGOs, and other private sector entities to advance green stormwater infrastructure.  Green infrastructure, such as urban forests and rooftop gardens, can be used as an important tool for building resilience to climate change impacts such as increased precipitation and heat island effects. Federal agencies will provide funding assistance in at least 25 communities across the country for green infrastructure projects, technical assistance to create integrated green stormwater management and hazard mitigation plans, and recognition and awards programs for innovative green infrastructure projects. Agencies will also add guidance on green infrastructure to existing Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) peer-to-peer exchange and training programs. The partnership will also provide a platform for conducting research on increasing affordability and effectiveness, sharing best practices, and developing actionable planning tools that decision-makers have been seeking.
  • Assessing climate-related health hazards. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released a new guide, “Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change,” to help public health departments assess local vulnerabilities to health hazards associated with climate change. The assessments will help inform targeted public health actions to reduce the health impacts of climate change. More information is available at:


The Plight of the Honey Bee

I’m sure we’ve all felt the sting of being under appreciated at work. You stayed late, you finished those extra reports, you responded to those emails, you filed those papers; maybe you even cleaned up the office. And the next day, it feels as if no one noticed; the office is, once again, a mess.

Now imagine this scenario: you are less than an inch tall. Your job is to visit and tend to hundreds of clients every day, and report all gains back to your busy and dominating boss. Your extensive efforts provide the means to feed humans around the globe on a daily basis, and numerous other species as well. You work tirelessly in the heat for no pay.

And what do you find in return? Your clients move without warning, your business fades, and you notice a sudden rash of health crises within your company, putting you dangerously close to falling out of business for good.

Have you guessed yet?

I’m talking about the invaluable honey bee.

Although they may not understand the concept of being overlooked, the honey bee is arguably the most under appreciated worker on the planet. In addition to pollinating endless species of flowers to ensure their survival, studies performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have revealed that honey bee pollination provides us with 1/3 of all foods we consume.

In a more specific evaluation, the Department showed the extent to which certain foods depend on honey bee pollination for survival: peaches rely 80%, cotton relies 80%, apples depend 90%, and almonds depend 100% on pollination for production. What’s more, these four treasured products only scratch the surface.

Based on this information, it’s safe to say that our grocery stores would look entirely different without the beneficial work that honey bees provide. The image below demonstrates the impact bees have on the foods we eat every day (learn more about this project).


The recent fuss over the honey bee is stemming from a previously unexplained rash of colony disappearances. Detailed studies from Harvard University and more have revealed that the growing rate of deaths is directly linked to the use of insecticides in agricultural and farming practices.

In particular, neonicotinoids (the most common and widely used insecticide) proved in a study by Harvard University to have fatal results in half of the honey bee colonies tested. Combined with our frequent destruction of flowering plants on account of urban expansion, the bees have been presented with nothing short of a recipe for disaster.

Put more simply, we have been unknowingly biting the hand that feeds us.

Fortunately, despite the grim outlook for our small but mighty friends, there are several steps you can take to help protect the honey bee from an endangered future.

If you have a backyard, put a bee box in your garden or a secluded area (so it’s safe for you too) to provide a protected space for a colony to thrive. Switch to planting bee-friendly plants (such as individual flowering plants and vegetables) and avoid using harmful insecticides. You can also purchase local honey to support safe-practicing beekeepers. And, of course, learning and awareness is always a good place to start.

It’s hard to be under appreciated. Especially when you’re barely an inch tall. Maybe it would do us all some good to help pay a well-earned bonus to one of Earth’s best employees.

This blog was written by SLCgreen intern Lauren Mills.

The Challenge of the 100 Mile Meal

This evening, Salt Lake City Green and Mayor Ralph Becker will host the 100 Mile Meal: Food with a Salt Lake City Story. The meal represents a celebration of Salt Lake City’s local food, farms and economy, while illustrating a commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Did you know the average meal in the United States travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate? Food that travels long distances impacts:

  • Environment. A larger carbon footprint due to fuel consumption and polluting emissions.
  • Food Security. Limited accountability due to large processing and distribution chains leaves food more vulnerable to contamination.
  • Nutrition. Fruits and veggies are most nutritious (and delicious!) when they are fresh.
  • Economy. Local farms mean more local jobs and revenue.

The 100 Mile Meal features seasonal ingredients sourced from farms within 100 miles of Mayor Becker’s office. In this day and age, this was no easy feat.

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Are you up for a challenge?


October 5-12, 2013 is Eat Local Week in Salt Lake City, and there are many events taking place to celebrate our community of local-foodists.

Eat Local Week aims to increase awareness of our foodshed, provide information and resources for eating locally, and build a community hungry for local food–making Utah a more nourishing place.

Eat Local Week also introduces the Eat Local Challenge! The Challenge is simple, eat as local as you can. The standard challenge is only eating food that comes from within a 250 mile radius. Not ready for that? Come up with a challenge that works for you! Choose a couple of food groups to get locally and stay true to them. Be creative, challenge yourself, and have fun!

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