Natural Climate Change Solutions

New research by The Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that nature-based solutions provide up to 37 percent of the emission reductions needed by 2030 to keep global temperature increases under 2 degrees celsius-30 percent more than previously estimated.

Additionally, using only cost-effective solutions, nature’s mitigation potential is estimated at 11.3 billion tons in 2030—the equivalent of stopping burning oil globally.

Many natural climate solutions offer additional benefits, such as water filtration, flood buffering, improved soil health, protection of habitat and enhanced climate resilience.

Read the full story, here.

New program aims to integrate land use planning and water management in the West

From the Sonoran Institute:

KEYSTONE, Colorado (Sept. 5, 2017) – The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Sonoran Institute are teaming up to address a critical need in the Colorado River Basin by training communities how to use land efficiently and conserve water as they grow.

The Resilient Communities and Watersheds program arose from a fundamental lack of integration between land use planning and water management in the western United States. The program’s inaugural Growing Water Smart workshop will host participants from six communities and urban planning organizations from Colorado’s Western Slope and Front Range, Sept. 11-13 at the Keystone Policy Center in Keystone, Colorado.

Staff, community members, elected officials and other representatives from Rico, Fort Collins, Westminster, North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, Eagle and Archuleta County will receive a full range of communications, public engagement, planning and policy implementation tools to realize their watershed health and community resiliency goals. Read More

Moab Named First Rocky Mountain Power Wattsmart Community in the Nation

The City of Moab has been named the first Rocky Mountain Power wattsmart Community in the nation. On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison signed a memorandum of understanding with Debra Dull, regional business manager for Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), officially acknowledging the wattsmart Community partnership.

“We are excited to work with the City of Moab under the new wattsmart Communities Program to bring the community a plan that will help Moab achieve its energy goals,” said Clay Monroe, program manager for Rocky Mountain Power Customer Solutions.

RMP’s wattsmart program will provide tools and resources necessary to develop and implement an energy action plan that will help the city reach its accelerated goals for future energy independence. Those goals were adopted by the Moab City Council in 2017 and include:

  • Transitioning municipal operations to at least 50 percent renewable electricity by 2024, and 100 percent by 2027.
  • Transitioning to 100 percent community wide renewable electricity by 2030;
  • Reducing by 50 percent all greenhouse gas emissions community wide by 2032, and by 80 percent by 2040.

Read More

Kenya Bans Plastic Bags

From BBC News:

“A ban on plastic carrier bags has come into force in Kenya, which means that anyone found selling, manufacturing or carrying them could face fines of up to $38,000 or prison sentences of up to four years.

The government says the ban will help protect the environment.

But manufacturers of the bags have argued that 80,000 jobs could be lost.

A court on Friday rejected a challenge to the ban. Kenyans are estimated to use 24 million bags a month.

Several other African countries have outlawed plastic carrier bags, including Rwanda, Mauritania and Eritrea.

Kenya’s ban is seen as one of the toughest in the world, although officials say that for now, ordinary shoppers will be warned and have their bags confiscated.

Piles of waste plastic bags are a common site across Kenya, as in many African countries.

Animals often graze on the rubbish and the United Nations’ Environment Programme says huge amounts of polythene bags are pulled out of livestock in Nairobi’s abattoirs – as many as 20 bags per cow – raising fears of plastic contamination in beef.”

Read More, here.

EPA Releases a New Tool for Mapping Environmental Justice

By Matt Tejada, EPA Blog:

EJSCREENToo often, America’s low-income and minority communities bear the brunt of our country’s pollution. These environmental and public health threats make it harder for kids with asthma to learn in school, and for people impacted from pollution to lead active and healthy lives.

There are many ways EPA is working to protect these overburdened communities. For the past two years, we’ve been using a screening and mapping tool called EJSCREENto inform our work, whether its grant writing, policy decisions or enforcement. Today we take an important step forward by sharing EJSCREEN with the public, to broaden its impact, provide greater transparency in how environmental justice is considered, and to foster collaboration with partners. Read More

From Food Scraps to Fuel

Do you consider food scraps to be a resource? if you don’t already compost at your house, you may still be able to keep your food waste out of the landfill and turn it into a useful resource.

If you live in the North Salt Lake region, you may soon be able to contribute your food scraps to the anaerobic digester called Wasatch Resource Recovery which turns food into fertilizer and natural gas.


Food waste is considered a renewable resource if it is utilized correctly. When taken to the facility, the food is ground into a liquid where it is then heated and bacteria converts it into a new marketable material: fertilizer for fields and natural gas for power. The natural gas generated from this facility is enough to power a city of 40,000 people.

Food waste is a major problem. According to the EPA, around 30 percent of landfill space is taken up by food. This project aims to reduce the load to the landfill. The majority of this project will be receiving food waste from large producers such as grocery stores and factories. However, anyone can participate.

Link to news story.

Solar Power is Hot!

Careers in the renewable energy sector is on the rise. A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), stated that in 2016, 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector.


The report showed the solar power is the fastest growing renewable energy industry with an increase in job creation of 12 % between 2015 and 2016. Wind power followed with a 7 % increase, boosting its global employment numbers to 1.2 billion people.

IRENA has put out a yearly Renewable Energy and Jobs report since 2012, which can be found here. 

The Story of Microfibers – New Short Film Released

From the Story of Stuff Project: “Most of us wear synthetic fabrics like polyester everyday. Our dress shirts, yoga pants, fleeces, and even underwear are all increasingly made of synthetic materials—plastic, in fact.stuff

But these fabrics have a big hidden problem: when they’re washed, they release trillions of tiny plastic bits—called microfibers—that flow down our drains, through our water treatment plants, and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans. In fact, microplastic microfibers released while washing clothes in washing machines are the biggest source of microplastics in the environment!”


View the newly released film, here.

New EPA Report Released: Climate Change Indicators in the United States 2016

“The Earth’s climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events—like heavy rainstorms and record-high temperatures—are already taking place. Scientists are highly confident that many of these observed changes can be linked to the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, which have increased because of human activities.” Discover how our climate is changing in this newly released EPA report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States 2016.

Why the Report?

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes this report to communicate information about the science and impacts of climate change, assess trends in environmental quality, and inform decision-making. Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2016, is the fourth edition of a report first published by EPA in 2010. This report presents 37 indicators to help readers understand changes observed from long-term records related to the causes and effects of climate change, the significance of these changes, and their possible consequences for people, the environment, and society. While the indicators presented in this report do not cover all possible measures of the causes and effects of climate change, as might be found in the full body of scientific literature, they represent a wide-ranging set of indicators that show observed changes in the Earth’s climate system and several climate-relevant impacts.”

The EPA’s 37 indicators each covers a specific climate-related topic, such as U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Some indicators present a single measure or variable; others have multiple measures, reflecting different data sources or different ways to group, characterize, or zoom in on the data. EPA follows an established framework to identify data sets, select indicators, obtain independent expert review, and publish this report.

You can view the report here.


Discounted Energy Efficiency Audits available for Utah Agricultural Operations & Rural Small Businesses

A farmer and technical service provider discuss an on-farm energy audit. Source: USDA NRCS

Recently, USDA Rural Development awarded 26 grants to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers across rural America conserve energy and develop renewable energy systems, ultimately reducing their carbon footprint, lowering overhead costs and helping to create jobs. The grants are made possible through the USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which helps farms and small businesses right-size their energy systems and helps with the installation costs for renewable energy equipment.

Are you a Utah farmer or a rural small business owner? Would it help your business to reduce your energy costs? The Utah Agricultural and Small Business Energy Efficiency Audit Program is offering discounted energy efficiency audits to help agricultural operations and rural small businesses save energy and money. The program is funded through a grant from USDA Rural Development and implemented by Panoramaland Resource Conservation & Development Council and EnSave, Inc. “We are working to ensure rural communities and citizens have the opportunities to integrate natural resource sustainability, strong local economies, and healthy living conditions into their everyday lives,” says Steve Clark, Chairman of the Panoramaland RC&D Board. “Decreasing energy demands through energy efficiency improvements can, over time, help lower energy costs and increase profits.” Read More