Environmental news from around the state and the west.
by Amy Brunvand
Happy Earth Day! The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is April 22, 2010
10 Earth Day actions anyone can take
Salt Lake City Green, the city’s website of all things environmental, suggests 10 things anyone can do in 2010:
• Stop using (insert your favorite disposable item here)
• Turn your key, be idle free
• Use a clothes line instead of the dryer
• Walk, bike or take the bus
• Take care of your trees
• Fix leaking toilets
• Start a garden or buy local produce
• Use snow shovels & rakes (not gas-powered blowers)
• Volunteer some more
Tim DeChristopher trial set for Solstice
Tim DeChristopher’s trial date has been set to begin on the Summer Solstice, June 21, 2010. DeChristopher became a grassroots hero and spokesman for climate justice after he prevented controversial oil & gas leases near Utah National Parks by bidding money he didn’t have to keep the leases away from developers. “What I faced when I was there in the auction,” DeChristopher says, “was this choice…of taking the action that I did and disrupting the auction, or being complicit…in this destruction of our land, destruction of our democracy, and the destruction of our climate.”
However, a 2009 district court judge rejected his reasoning, writing, “There is no case opinion to which the defendant has cited, or can cite, that supports his intention to turn the trial in this matter into a contest of perspectives on “‘climate justice.'”
Nonetheless, activists around the country plan to make sure DeChristopher’s trial does publicize climate change issues. Peaceful Uprising, an organization promoting social change though direct action, is coordinating a protest and education event that will take place outside the Scott Matheson Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City during the trial. The event will include speakers, music, street theater and (for those willing to be arrested) direct action. The event is endorsed by Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, James Hansen, Peaceful Uprising, the Yes Men and Democracy Unlimited.
Visit the Peaceful Uprising website to learn more about the action, or contribute money, talent or a couch to an out-of-town activist.
Peaceful Uprising: http://www.peacefuluprising.org/join-the-uprising
Do lynx, wolverines live in the Uintas?
The U.S. National Forest Service is trying to verify weather two rare animals still live in the Unita Mountains. A news release from the Forest Service says that Canada lynx and wolverine historically occurred in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah and may still live there. It is known from satellite tracking in 2004 that two lynx had traveled from Colorado through Utah. The last documented wolverine in Utah was shot near Dinosaur in 1979.
HEAL Utah envisions a better energy future
In the 2010 General Session, the Utah legislature passed a law adding environmentally destructive and polluting fossil-fuel energy sources such as oil shale, tar sands and petroleum coke to the list of alternative energy sources deserving a state tax credit. This same legislative body passed a resolution alleging that climate change science is a hoax intended to undermine economic development.
HEAL Utah thinks we can do better. The organization best known for opposing nuclear waste in Utah has begun pro-active work on the eUtah Project, a study of the technological and economic feasibility of generating all of Utah’s electricity through renewable energy sources.
Lead researcher Dr. Arjun Makhijani from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research has already developed a similar energy roadmap for U.S. energy policy which has been published as “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.”
The project includes an advisory board of stakeholders and researchers from Utah universities. The final report will offer scientifically sound policy options for a better way to develop energy and economic resources than relying on nuclear and coal-based fuels.
eUTAH Project: http://healutah.org/cleanenergy/eutah
Students publish Canyonlands report
In 2008-2009 nine students in the University of Utah Honors College Think Tank on Wallace Stegner and Western Lands worked with professors Robert Keiter and Stephen Trimble to prepare a report on “Canyonlands Completion: Negotiating the Borders.” Students researched the political process that determined how the National Park borders were drawn and interviewed various stakeholders who are for and against expanding park boundaries.
The report offers an excellent overview of land management controversies surrounding park creation, but the most illuminating section is the personal statements from students who worked on the project. As one student wrote, astonished by the complexity of the issues, “All these different people with opposing views had to meet in the middle before any solution could even be talked about.”