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Posts tagged ‘resilience’

Welcome Supreet Gill!

Supreet Gill is SLCgreen’s new Sustainability Program Manager.

SLCgreen is thrilled to welcome Supreet Gill to the Sustainability Department as our new Program Manager!

Supreet brings 15 years of experience in community food systems and a passion for improving urban and ecological resilience through sustainable agriculture and equitable community engagement.

Supreet has engaged in food systems on all levels — as a farmer, program manager for a refugee agriculture project, coordinator of urban farming and farm to school programs, and nutrition educator, to name a few!

In her prior position with Salt Lake County’s Urban Farming and Open Space program, she worked on numerous projects focusing on public lands management and community food systems. She also served on Salt Lake City’s Food Policy Task Force (now Food Policy Council) and has deep connections in the local food community.

As Sustainability Department program manager, Supreet will continue building our existing programs as well as developing new ones to strengthen the capacity of community residents and leaders to enhance the regional food system.

In short, her work is dedicated to improving community health and well-being, as well as making sure all residents have access to healthy, affordable, local food.

That goal entails a deep focus on community partnerships. She’ll continue making connections in the community– with farmers, local food producers, and other stakeholders. She’ll also work to ensure that communities, groups, and individuals with lower-access to resources are involved as deeply as possible in Salt Lake City’s work.

Finally, Supreet’s role will also include bridging with other government entities– within and outside of Salt Lake City– to prioritize strategies related to social and environmental justice, improving the local food system, and fostering equitable access to healthy food.

We’re thrilled to have her on the team!

Say hello when you see her at an upcoming community event . . . or a garden around town!

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.

Climate Week: What SLC is Doing to Combat Climate Change

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Salt Lake City has been recognized as a Climate Action Champion for showing leadership on climate change. The accomplishments of Salt Lake City in the past seven years demonstrate a commitment and successful track record of innovation and leadership to integrate the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance climate resilience into local and regional planning and decision-making.

Here are some of the City’s climate actions, goals, and key initiatives:

Joint Resolution To Reduce Carbon Footprint. Mayor Ralph Becker and the Salt Lake City Council signed a joint resolution in 2008 committing the City to reduce its municipal carbon footprint 20% below the 2005 level by 2020; 50% below the 2005 level by 2040; and, 80% below the 2005 level by 2050.

Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The City completed its first community GHG inventory in 2009, which quantified 4.75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions – or 26 metric tons per person – and prompted the City’s commitment to eliminate 1.3 million metric tons of CO2e by 2020. The City also has a goal for reduction of GHG emissions in the community by 80% below the 2005 level by 2050.

Clear the Air Challenge. The City created the Clear the Air Challenge to engage citizens in voluntary reductions in vehicle miles traveled, resulting in the elimination of over 9.5 million single-occupant vehicle miles traveled and reducing more than 7.5 million pounds of GHG emissions between 2009 and 2014.

Salt Lake City Sustainable Code Revision. The Salt Lake City Sustainable Code Revision project is a ground-breaking initiative to incorporate sustainability provisions into zoning and subdivision ordinances.

Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan. The Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan (2011) details strategies for the City to contribute to climate resilience, cleaner air, greater energy security, a green energy economy, and protection of our water supply, wildlife, and other natural resources. Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan goals include:

  • Decrease total building energy use in the city by 5%, to 35 million MBTUs by 2015
  • Transform all City government buildings into net-zero facilities
  • Increase renewable energy generation on City facilities to 2.5 megawatt by 2015
  • Generation of 10 megawatts of solar energy in the community by 2015
  • Reduction of vehicle miles traveled by residents by 6.5% by 2015

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building. The City’s $125 million Public Safety Building is the first public safety building in the nation constructed to achieve Net Zero energy use due to the use of multiple innovative energy efficiencies and solar-photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

Livability in Salt Lake City 2012-2016. Mayor Becker published his agenda, Livability in Salt Lake City 2012-2016, to frame a broad vision of local climate response goals, strategies, and actions that lead to greater resiliency, vitality, accessibility, sustainability, and diversity further distilled in the Sustainable Salt Lake Plan 2015.

Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015. The Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 (Plan 2015) grounds the City’s broad and ambitious climate response strategy with goals, key metrics, and milestones related to air quality, energy, transportation, water resources, urban forestry, and open space. Sustainable City Dashboard. The Sustainable City Dashboard is an innovative new online tool to track key metrics and milestones associated with the Plan 2015 and promote an increased level of public engagement and feedback on climate response initiatives.

To learn more about Salt Lake City’s climate actions, visit SLCgreen.com!

SLC Debuts on National City Scorecard for Energy Efficiency

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Mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Salt Lake City makes its debut on the list this year, coming in #19 on the city scorecard. Check out the summary below for all the details! You can also explore the entire ACEE City Scorecard.

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SLCgreen Highlights from 2014

Happy New Year! It’s been a busy year for the Salt Lake City Green team, and we look forward to an exciting 2015 with your ongoing support. Since we’re in a reflective mood, take a look at some of our highlights from 2014.

Climate Task Force

We started the year with Mayor Ralph Becker’s appointment to the White House’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Both Mayor Becker and Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett attended a series of round tables throughout the year, which culminated in the presentation of recommendations to the President in Washington D.C.

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Project Skyline

In May, Salt Lake City hosted EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a historic visit. In addition to a round table discussion with key partners, Administrator McCarthy joined Mayor Becker to kick off Project Skyline and the Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, a new initiative to curb energy waste from our city’s commercial buildings. SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline

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SmartTrips Sugar House

During the summer, we kicked off a new year of SmartTrips in the Sugar House/S-Line neighborhood. The program focused on encouraging residents to walk, bike and take public transit to reduce their vehicle trips and impact on air quality. It was a great success! Over 500 households participated, increasing their alternative transit trips by 46% during the height of the program. SmartTripsSLC.com

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SLC Goes Solar

In June, we flipped the switch on Salt Lake City’s new solar farm. The farm produces 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually for our net zero Public Safety Building. We also celebrated two other important solar projects at the event, rooftop installations on the Public Safety Building and Plaza 349. Over 4,000 solar panels were installed on the three project sites, which will generate 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. SLCgreenBlog.com

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Popperton Plots Community Garden

In August we celebrated the successful opening and dedication of the Popperton Plots Community Garden in the Avenues. Popperton is one of the first community gardens to open on a parcel of city-owned land, made available through an expanded Green City Growers program. Popperton was also the receipient of a Partners for Places grant to support their development. It was a wonderful harvest celebration and an important milestone! More plots are available for development: SLCgreenblog.com

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Sustainable Business Leadership Award

In November, Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett was recognized by Utah Business Magazine with a Sustainable Leadership Award, and the whole SLCgreen team was there to help her celebrate! Vicki has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green program for 13 years, spearheading initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and divert waste from the landfill. Congratulations, Vicki! SLCgreenblog.com

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White House Recognizes Salt Lake City as Climate Action Champion

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Earlier today, the White House and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Salt Lake City as a Climate Action Champion for showing leadership on climate change. A total of 16 U.S. communities were recognized as inaugural Climate Action Champions.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a one of the top U.S. communities leading out on climate change and climate action,” said Mayor Ralph Becker. “Over the past seven years, we have focused on developing a comprehensive portfolio of programs and policies that will cut carbon pollution and increase community resiliency in the face of our changing climate.”

In response to recommendations presented by the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, of which Mayor Becker was an integral member, the White House launched the Climate Action Champions competition earlier this fall to identify and recognize local climate leaders and to provide targeted Federal support to help those communities further raise their ambitions.

Salt Lake City was recognized for the development of a comprehensive and well-integrated portfolio of programs and policies, including renewable energy, transportation, code revisions, water systems and building policies as priorities. The City established a joint resolution to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 50 percent below 2020 levels by 2040. Learn more about Salt Lake City’s commitment to climate action at http://dashboard.slcgov.com.

In addition to being designated as the first cohort of Climate Action Champions, the selected communities will benefit from facilitated peer-to-peer learning and mentorship and targeted support from a range of Federal programs. A coordinator will be provided to each Climate Action Champion to foster coordination and communicate across the Federal agencies, national organizations, and foundations in support of the Champions. The coordinator will also assist efforts to raise awareness of funding and technical assistance opportunities that are available specifically for Climate Action Champions.

More information on the first cohort of Climate Action Champions is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/03/fact-sheet-16-us-communities-recognized-climate-action-champions-leaders.

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 toolkit.climate.gov, 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.

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