Last week Sara Rose Tannenbaum with SLCGreen headed up to the Intermountain Sustainability Summit. Here is her first-hand account of her experience there:
At the Intermountain Sustainability Summit there were four session tracks to sample from or follow throughout the day. The one geared towards students engaged with the emerging Fossil Free Campus Divestment campaigns and explored how to pursue sustainability as a profession.
The other three session themes highlighted current issues and innovation within water, energy and recycling sustainability.
The Intermountain Sustainability Summit theme of recycling began even before setting foot into Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Building. Lining the pedestrian entrance to the conference was a veritable display of recyclables: not bins of beer cans or a cluttered collection of office papers, but huge blocks— bigger than 90 gallon recycle bins—of compressed cardboard, deflated plastic and squashed metal.This nonverbal presentation made transparent the usually unnoticed side of recycling. Just like we break down our cardboard, it’s important to dissect and try on the many dimensions and disciplines of sustainability.
Keynote speaker L. Hunter Lovins (pictured above) made the case for innovation and sustainability from a business perspective. Lisa Skumatz, an economist, used statistical analysis to highlight efficiency of cost-effective approaches to recycling. It was the variety of perspectives present at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit that made it a valuable learning and networking experience. We’re lucky to have so many exciting initiatives, businesses and leaders fighting on the green front.
Check out some great photos from last week’s event.
Yesterday, SLCGreen took a trip to the Utah State Capitol for a media event hosted by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell and the Salt Lake Chamber’s Ryan Evans. The purpose of the event was to voice their support for state and local actions to help improve air quality, and to present a list of recommendations that would result in less air pollution.
Among the actions recommended:
- Initiate a call to action by individuals to lessen single occupant vehicle driving and cold starts (a large contributor to poor air quality).
- Implement a UTA transit pass sponsorship program.
- Share local/state level strategies for others to consider:
- Education everyone on the fact that most emissions come from “cold starts.”
- Provide discounted or free transit passes to employees.
- Have a robust carpooling program, creating preferential parking for carpools.
- Encourage employees to telework.
- Pass parking user costs on to employees.
- Establish no-idling ordinances and educational campaigns.
- Allow for flexible schedules to avoid rush hour traffic.
- Propose a series of legislative/regulatory actions to improve funding for transit and local transportation funding, reducing vehicle use and removing state barriers to more aggressive action:
- Provide additional transit funding by implementing an increase in the local-option sales tax; or by increasing the gas tax.
- Repeal state law prohibiting Utah from setting air quality standards that are higher than federal regulations.
- Extend tax credits for clean fuel and electric vehicles.
- Change state vehicle registration fee schedule to be based on vehicle emissions.
- Adopt additional driving restrictions during bad air days.
- Support regulatory actions due to the new PM2.5 standard:
- New point and area source regulations.
- Trip reduction mandates for companies with over 100 employees.
What are you thoughts on the recommendations listed above? What would you like to see from the Utah State Legislature this session?