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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Utah sweeps top five cities with filthy air, Provo No. 4

Caleb Warnock - Daily Herald

Posted: Feb 6, 2013, 12:03 AM

Utah swept the top five spots for dirtiest air in the nation on Tuesday, with Provo coming in fourth.  ∆  According to airnow.gov, which is the federal air quality monitoring site, Brigham City had the nation's filthiest air, followed by Logan, Ogden, Provo and Salt Lake City in fifth place.  ∆  In all five areas, the air quality was rated as "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" defined as "Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected." Air quality in Provo was forecast to get worse, with the federal monitoring site predicting that Provo would move into third place for the nation's dirtiest air on Wednesday.  ∆  Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, did not return calls for comment on Tuesday.  ∆  On Tuesday, Jim Westwater, chairman of the Utah Valley Earth Forum, blasted the state government and local representatives for their lack of interest in clean air.  ∆  "Unfortunately, we don't see our governor or state Legislature taking this health and economic threat seriously," he said. "This is too bad for us, our children, our families, our economy and our future."  ∆  Utah's deplorable air quality will cost Utah jobs and economic growth, he said.  ∆  "Provo and Utah Valley would benefit greatly if we got the reputation of being a healthy as well as beautiful place to live," Westwater said. "Conversely, it will hurt our economy and our health if we continue to have dirty, harmful, sickening air and as the word gets out about our dirty air to the rest of the nation and to prospective families and businesses thinking of relocating."  ∆  As proof that Utah's reputation for horrible air is already spreading, he pointed to a recent report on NBC Nightly News focusing on Utah's smog. The show quoted visitors to Utah who said they were shocked by the pollution.  ∆  "In one of the prettiest spots in the nation the problem is dirty air and lots of it," NBC news anchor Brian Williams said in the piece [view video], which aired in late January. "They are used to it, this kind of thing happens every year. But this year it is the worst anyone can remember, making life outside the home downright dangerous."  ∆  NBC called Utah's air "toxic" and "choking."  ∆ "It's not the kind of story about Utah that will help our economy and the well-being of people and our otherwise beautiful state," Westwater said. "If we don't take action -- both citizen, business and governmental action -- matters will only get worse in these inversions when we are forced to inhale the harmful stuff we discharge into our air. Doctors tell us it's like we are all -- adults and children alike -- becoming smokers. This needs to change."  ∆  Provo and the Wasatch Front's lousy air won't go away anytime soon because no major effort is under way to change it, he said.  ∆  "It's past time for baby steps," he said. "We need substantial, serious, constructive actions that actually have or will have a significant beneficial impact on this very serious problem."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Utah's Dirty-Air Secret Draws National Attention

This story about our horrible air quality on NBC Nightly News was featured a few days ago in late January. It's not the kind of story about Utah that will help our economy and the well being of people and our otherwise beautiful state. If we don't take action (both citizen, business and governmental action) matters will only get worse in these inversions when we are forced to inhale the harmful stuff we discharge into our air. Doctors tell us it's like we are all—adults and children alike—becoming smokers. This needs to change. Please join with the UVEF to help make a difference for the better. To join send your email request to membership@uvef.us. Thank you.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The UVEF Stewardship Appreciation Survey 2012

How "green" is your Utah County city?

Around Utah County, cities and towns are doing many things that reflect good stewardship of the environment and help make our communities healthier and more livable for present and future generations. From citywide recycling to energy conservation, from “smart growth” to gradually switching to clean, safe, renewable sources of energy—progress is being made toward better stewardship. To identify, encourage and commend these efforts, and to help educate and inspire communities and their residents to do even more, the Utah Valley Earth Forum (UVEF)—the valley’s independent, volunteer, citizen environmental organization—invited all cities and towns in the county to participate in the first annual UVEF Stewardship Appreciation Survey.

The UVEF is delighted to report that most of the cities and towns—communities representing over 77% of Utah County’s urban population—took part in the survey. Every city and town that participated is to be commended for its efforts to improve the environment in which we all live—the air, the water and the land. Being a good steward not only makes our communities healthier and more livable for both present and future generations, it is the right and responsible thing to do, and often saves money and valuable resources in the process.

So we say, "Good job, participating cities!" Our hats are off to you! Keep up the good work! The air, water and land, and current and future generations are grateful for whatever you do to be better stewards of the earth.

The Survey Results:
Please consider the following when viewing the results below:
  1. The survey was intended to cover many, if not most, of the main things communities can do to to help improve the environment, but the survey was not intended to be definitive.
  2. Thirty-six items were on the survey. Cities were asked to indicate which items they were currently doing. If they were doing things not on the survey, they were asked to indicate those things. Links to appendices are posted below to indicate non-survey responses by participants.
  3. The submitted responses on the survey were self-reported by the cities and were not independently verified by the UVEF.
  4. Participation was encouraged but voluntary. Non-participation does not necessarily mean a city or town is doing nothing to be a good steward of the environment.
  5. Cities were given 3 months to complete and return the survey. Some surveys were completed and returned within one hour.
  6. We plan on administering the survey again in January of 2014 to help identify further developments and to encourage cities in Utah Valley to continue improving their stewardship.
  7. For a copy of the actual survey, please e-mail your request to Chair@UVEF.us.
To view the SURVEY RESULTS click HERE or on the graphic below: 

Appendix #1
  (written responses of *cities)
Appendix #2  (written responses for Lindon)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Partial List of UVEF Actions and Events

The UVEF was formed in 2006 to promote good stewardship and improve the environment here in Utah Valley. The following is a partial list of what we do and have done:
  1. Host free and open, public, monthly forums at the Provo Library where different environmental topics are covered and discussed.
  2. Work with other Utah environmental organizations to promote good stewardship of the earth.
  3. Helped defeat the proposed MountainView Corridor highway through the wetlands in Lehi.
  4. Helping the effort to stop the proposed toll bridge across Utah Lake.
  5. Testify and provide public input on numerous proposed activities adversely affecting the environment.
  6. Organized the 2010 Utah Clean Air Conference at UVU.
  7. Conducted the first ever environmental “Meet the Candidates” night in Utah Valley.
  8. Developed and implemented the first ever in Utah Valley (and possibly anywhere) community-reporting Stewardship Appreciation Survey.
  9. We’re told we were principally responsible for Provo Mayor Curtis’s decision to appoint a Sustainability Advisor.
  10. Co-sponsored the appearance of nationally renowned climatologist James Hanson at UVU.
  11. Developed and posted a UVEF online website and Facebook group page.
  12. Present environmental talks to various outside groups.
  13. Conduct educational and recreational outings to various sites in Utah.
  14. Recognize outstanding efforts to help the environment in Utah and Utah Valley by awarding UVEF Earth Stewardship Awards.
  15. Sponsored a special medical sciences and dance arts event at BYU in cooperation with the UPHE and the Repertory Dance Theater company of SLC.
  16. Helped the City of Provo promote its programs and actions to conserve energy.
  17. Helped save Slate Canyon from proposed development.
  18. Helped prod the Provo School District to upgrade the efficiency of their school bus fleet and reduce unnecessary idling.
  19. Organized and conducted a tree-planting in Provo for Native American young people.
  20. Helped get Provo City Council to pass an opt-out program of citywide recycling.
  21. Adopted a section of Utah highway to clean up on an ongoing volunteer basis. 
  22. “Table” at the Provo Farmer’s Market and the Utah Lake Festival to increase UVEF exposure and add people to our email lists.

Friday, February 5, 2010

FEBRUARY 18th MEETING: Sustainable Architecture

Click on calendar above for Feb. 18th meeting time and place.

Jörg Rügemer, Dipl.-Ing. M.Arch. Architect AKNW, Assistant Professor

Jörg Rügemer graduated with a master’s degree of architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles. Additional studies include his architectural diploma at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany, as well as meteorology at the University of Cologne. Mr. Rügemer is a licensed architect in Germany and Europe. He has taught in Germany at the University of Karlsruhe, as well as the Brandenburg University of Technology, where he was the chair of Architectural Design and CAD. Other assignments include Florida International University in Miami, where he served as the Director for Digital Design. He now teaches sustainable architecture and urban design theory at the College of Architecture and Planning, at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Jörg Rügemer has received numerous awards and scholarships; exhibitions include displays at the BEA International Gallery in Miami, the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum in Mannheim, Germany, the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the Bauhaus University Weimar, and the 2001 Forum of Current Architecture in Cologne, both Germany. Among other things, Jörg Rügemer’s portfolio includes 12 placements in international competitions, 3 built projects, several scholarly publications, and many international lectures on sustainable architectural and urban design, design strategies, and virtual design.