University of Utah President David Pershing, Mayor J. Biskupski, and Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright
Mayor Biskupski trying out new 2016 EV models.
Mayor J. Biskupski launches U Drive Electric Program
In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.
This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.
Written by Lancee Whetman
Photo credit: Kyle Strayer
Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
Photo credit: Kyle Strayer
Soda bottles, boxes, and aluminum cans…oh my! What you throw in your blue bin actually matters and will likely end up at facilities like Rocky Mountain Recycling (RMR) to be processed, sorted, and sent to companies for reuse.
With locations spanning across 11 states, RMR has a reputation for excellence in their field, as they recycle tens of thousands of tons each month and have continually achieved awards for Best of State in Utah. They provide innovative recycling services to commercial and industrial companies all over the United States as well as curbside recycling for Salt Lake City Residents.
As an intern with Salt Lake’s Department of Sustainability, I had the opportunity to visit and tour RMR’s facility in Salt Lake and inquire about what occurs behind the scenes in our city’s day-to-day recycling operations. RMR does not usually give tours due to safety concerns, so with my closed-toed shoes, neon colored vest, and protective eyewear, I was ready to get my sneak peak of where the city’s recycling goes.
Photo by Kyle Strayer
Mayor Jackie Biskupski commemorated the first season of the new Liberty Wells Community Garden on 1700 South and 700 East in a press conference with Wasatch Community Gardens and local gardeners on Tuesday, August 30th.
As the latest addition to Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers program, the Liberty Wells Garden is run by the non-profit Wasatch Community Gardens on city-owned land and provides plots for 44 gardeners to grow vegetables.
“Liberty Wells neighbors, including some of our newest resident refugee families, have come together to share knowledge and friendship, which produced this beautiful and sustainable garden,” Mayor Biskupski said. “We have put vacant land to good use while improving the community and good will at the same time.”
The Liberty Wells Garden broke ground in April, after site selection and approval from the city. The plot now has 44 gardeners, with a wait list of 29.
“We’ve been amazed to see the enthusiasm and positive energy put forth by the gardeners who make up our new Liberty Wells Community Garden,” said Ashley Patterson, Executive Director of Wasatch Community Gardens.
Britt Vanderhoof spends hours at the Liberty Wells garden each week. “As an avid gardener, I’ve enjoyed the health benefits of eating fresh, organic, locally grown food. But as much as I love the taste of food fresh from the garden, I have enjoyed even more seeing the community around the Liberty Wells Community Garden come together to help grow this amazing garden into what it is today.”
Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers Program began in 2013 to support local food production on city property. The city continues to evaluate parcels for potential garden sites as demand increases.
Salt Lake Tribune
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Today Salt Lake City launches a new partnership with Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) to become one of the organization’s first cohort of Bright Cities. The Bright Cities program is designed specifically to help reduce or eliminate neurotoxic chemical exposures in children when they are most vulnerable.
Exposure to toxic chemicals is so widespread and the impacts on brain development are so severe that leading scientists and doctors call it “a silent epidemic.” When exposure to neurotoxic or “brain drain” chemicals is higher, so are incidences of ADHD, behavioral problems, cognitive delays, and low birth weight.
Studies also show that disproportionately high exposure to these chemicals is one important reason why children below the poverty line are more likely to have intellectual disabilities. While toxic chemicals are not the sole cause for these lifelong effects, they are among the most preventable.
“Through our partnership with Healthy Babies Bright Futures, Salt Lake City is making a commitment to improve the health of our children and our entire community,” says Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “The positive steps we take today to protect our children will last a lifetime and ensure a healthier and brighter future for all.”
Today Salt Lake City will begin phase one of the program, called the Beacon City phase. With support from HBBF, the City will complete an assessment of the current risks, priorities and opportunities related to neurotoxic chemical exposures. The City will also engage in a public process to educate the community and gather stakeholder input on a final plan to reduce or eliminate the impact of these dangerous chemicals on babies’ brains.
For more information on Salt Lake City’s involvement contact Bridget Stuchly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 535-6438.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures is an alliance of non-profit organizations, philanthropies and scientists that designs and implements projects to reduce babies’ exposure to toxic chemicals during the most vulnerable and significant periods of development: in utero and from birth to age two. M.ore information at https://hbbf.org/
Today the American Lung Association released its 17th annual State of the Air report, which ranks the air quality in our nation’s cities and counties. Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem ranked 6th for short-term particulate exposure.
Mayor Biskupski has announced an aggressive air quality platform that aims to drastically reduce pollution through improving energy efficiency in buildings, increasing use of renewable energy like solar, sourcing cleaner vehicles, and creating a robust clean air network focused on advancing clean air legislation.
Join the City of Salt Lake and do your part to reduce pollution!
Take action even on voluntary air days. This is when we have the best chance to keep our air cleaner, longer – especially when we know that an inversion has set up in the valley.
Skip and reduce trips.
- Aim to leave your car parked, one more day a week. Modern vehicles emit the vast majority of trip pollution in those first two minutes on the road. Skipping car trips by using public transportation, arranging a carpool or other alternatives make a measurable impact.
- On days you must drive, chain your trips together to reduce “cold start” pollution.
Explore Salt Lake City on public transit. Ride UTA can help you plan your next transit adventure.
Commit to being idle free! This is one of the easiest things you can do to have a positive impact. Idling wastes gas and money and adds unnecessary pollution into our air. Plus when you idle, you’re exposing yourself and your passengers to higher levels of harmful pollutants.
Skip the fire! Burning wood, whether in your fireplace or fire pit, has a huge impact on our air quality. One fireplace can emit as much particulate pollution as 90 sport utility vehicles.
Get active. Biking is a great way to get some exercise and limit your impact on air quality. The Bicycle Collective shares some great tips in this UCAIR spotlight.
Take the Clear the Air Challenge! Find new ways to drive down your miles and measure your impact.
Increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Weatherize your home, and cash in on Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Adding insulation and upgrading your windows will not only save you money on your utility bills, it will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Upgrade your furnace and water heater. Rebates are available for residents who upgrade their furnace and water heaters. Water heaters are a significant source of NOx emissions and that adds to Utah’s wintertime PM 2.5, problem.
- Swap out your lightbulbs to LEDs. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR rating, you can save $75 each year.
Opt for people powered or electric tools for yard work.
- Get exercise while doing yard work by using push mowers instead of gas powered lawn mowers. According to the U.S. EPA, a new gas lawn mower produces as many VOCs and NOx emissions in in in one hour as 11 new cars.
- Not able to use a push mower or manual tools? Look for electric alternatives to mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers.
Install Solar! Installing solar on your home does not have to be overly complex or costly. Check out Solar Simplified and find out how to start the process. If you aren’t able to install rooftop solar, keep an eye out for Rocky Mountain Power’s Subscriber Solar program launching soon!
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.
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