Bears Ears under threat of destruction after drastic reduction in size

Story and gallery by TANNER FAUST

After President Trump cut the size of Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 1 million acres, activists feared that was the beginning of the end for protected land in Utah. The monument’s size has been reduced from 1.35 million acres to 200,000 acres.

“This reduction in size poses a great threat to the native population and artifacts in the area. These are sacred lands and should not be tampered with,” said Ashley Soltysiak, the director of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, in a phone interview.

The monument contains many ancient artifacts that the Native American population holds sacred. Moon House is one such artifact. It is a cliff dwelling that has been with the native population for nearly 1,000 years. The reduction to the monument put Moon House and other ancient artifacts at risk.

When President Obama expanded the land of Bears Ears in 2016, he did so with the ancient artifacts in mind. An official press release from the White House stated, “The area’s cultural importance to Native American tribes continues to this day. As they have for generations, these tribes and their members come here for ceremonies and to visit sacred sites.” 

Soltysiak said, “It feels as though this was an attempt by the Trump administration to undo as much of the former president’s work as possible.” The reduction favors economic interests over the interests of ancient artifacts and sites. 

The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club also runs campaigns aimed at protecting these ancient artifacts. One, “keep public lands in public hands,” is directed toward stopping the increasing cuts to Utah’s public lands. The campaign runs on the basis of keeping our American history safe. 

The new bill, created by President Trump, signed also by Utah Congressman John Curtis, and Utah representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love, would reduce the size of the monument by 85%. It would create a new monument at the same time out of the remaining land. 

The new monument, named Shash Jáa National Monument, would be created out of the remaining land in Bears Ears. The bill would open the land to three new opportunities. 

Mining, geothermic leasing, and the sale of Bears Ears would be allowed by the Utah legislature. The economic expansion of this land would allow for more industrial activities to be carried out in the national monument.

Mining sites across the world have all seen similar beginnings. Sites like Tanami mine, located in Tanami, Australia, were created on land that was once protected by the government. The Tanami mine has since led to numerous environmental problems, such as cave-ins that threaten the lives of the native population working at the mine.

Another similar event happened in the Four Corners National Park. The land was taken away from the National Park to create more power plants to supply the area with power. 

Like the Bears Ears National Monument, the Four Corners National Park was opened up to industrial activity. The Natural Resources Defense Council says this was in an attempt to solve the energy demands of the area. As the Four Corners area grew, its demands for energy became overwhelming.

This affected the native population of Navajo people. The largest effect was on local residents like Daniel Tso, a Navajo activist. Tso said, “The plants were giving off dangerous chemicals all the time. While we lived around it we were all breathing in those chemicals every day,” he said in a phone interview.

Native people all over the world have experienced a similar phenomenon. Government land grabs not only threaten the environment but the people living in the area as well. The Yanacocha mine in Lima, Peru, has an abundance of native protestors outside of its perimeter. They struggle to find the footing to overpower these industrial titans and take claim to their ancient land.

In many places around the world, industrial activities are the epicenter for conflict. Another example is the Tarkwa mine in Ghana, Africa. In 2018 the mine saw a hostile takeover as the native population violently fought to take the land back.

The controversy in Bears Ears has environmental groups worried. Like many places around the world, Bears Ears is under threat of losing important land and artifacts. The area means so much to native populations who have a rich history and priceless relics.

 

 

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Electric scooters and skateboards on campus

Story and photos by CHRISTOPHER STENGER

Electric scooters and skateboards are everywhere on the University of Utah’s campus. These personal transporters have such a large impact on campus and anyone who walks the campus will see the hazards they have created.   

Electrical powered personal transporters are still required to follow the same rule of non-motorized personal transporters, like bikes, which include a 10 mph zone all throughout campus. When class is getting out or about to start and the sidewalks are filled with students, it makes it more difficult for those on electric scooters and skateboards to keep a consistent speed and direction without either crashing into people or forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk.

Students have bought their own personal electric scooters or skateboards to avoid having ton pay the rental cost. The electrical scooter companies require a small fee before you use every time. Companies like Lime and Bird provide electric scooters to rent for $1 with a per minute cost ranging from 25-50 cents.

According to the U’s policy code 3-232, skateboards are defined as ‘a non-motorized device consisting of two or more wheels affixed to a platform or board upon which a rider stands and which does not have steering capability similar to that of a bicycle or brakes which operate on or upon the wheels of the skateboard.” Having these electric skateboards around campus is technically violating school policy.

According to Ginger Cannon, the University of Utah’s active transportation manager, ‘The current contract prohibits Lime and Bird from deploying scooters on school property, but does not ban the operation of the vehicles.” This stops these large companies from having the ability to mass drop scooters all around campus, she said in an email interview.   

Students around campus who do not ride these electric scooters or skateboards explained that they actually do not have serious issues with these personal transporters. Alex Dasla, a senior here at the U, said, “I believe that the scooters might be more safe to use on campus than the skateboards, but still would prefer that they both stay in the biking paths instead of the walking paths.” 

People are caught off guard when an electric scooter or skateboard flies past them while walking to their classes. Since they’re electric, it’s very difficult to hear the scooter or skateboard approaching.

William Slicer, a junior at the U, explained how he was actually involved in an electric skateboard crash, as a pedestrian. Slicer believes that “they should be required to ride in the bicycle paths and only those areas when on campus because of their stealthiness and quickness.” He added, “I am just lucky I was hit onto the grass and not into another person or the concrete.” 

Lt. Terry Fritz of the U’s campus police explained that he believes that “the issue isn’t the electrical part, but it is the mode of transportation in general. I think that the human powered and electric powered scooters as equally as dangerous on our campus.” Fritz also said “he sees more bicyclist abusing the speed limit of 10 mph than of the skateboarders and scooter riders.” This happens because they do not have a set max speed and can go well above 15 mph.

Fritz explained how he thinks that with all the electrical scooters being stranded outside campus buildings, that “they’re creating not the best image for campus.” He said that “hub locations would be very helpful with correcting the bad image of the scooters stranded all over campus.” 

Cannon has been working at the U for nearly two and half years and is constantly working to improve the ways of transportation around campus. Cannon uses social media, like Twitter, to spread news of her work to improve campus mobility. Her Twitter handle is @GingerCannonU.   

Walking around campus you will see scooters scattered all around building entrances, in bike racks or even just in front of doors. Cannon says she wants to create “Mobility Hubs” for the scooters and skateboards in the near future.

These scooters and skateboards are still new to the U but are on the uprise for campus. The U will have to adapt to these electric personal transporters and work to better their operation, as people are not going to stop riding them on campus. 

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Students in the University of Utah’s Greek life 

 Story and photos by TAYLOR SCOTT

Many people have it engrained in their mind that Greek life creates a distraction from academics. However, the Greek system at the University of Utah provides an opportunity for students to become more involved in academics and the community. Since 1909, students involved in Greek life have proven to achieve better grades and earn positions as leaders among campus organizations and clubs.

The first Greek chapter was created shortly after the University of Utah was founded in 1909. Since then, there have been 11 fraternity chapters and seven sorority chapters established on campus. Throughout past years, some people have viewed Greek life as a way for students to become distracted from academics.

While this may be the case for some students, the U’s Greek chapters have proven otherwise.

The Greek system is one of the smaller Greek organizations in the country holding 1,600 active members. With that being said, students are able to join an immediate community of students in the early stages of their college career.

Ryan Miller, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said, “While Utah has around 30,000 students, you are joining an organization of approximately 1600 – so it brings the large campus to a more intimate space.”

Students are able to connect with the sorority and fraternity chapters to choose their top house. All the chapters on campus have their own common areas of study for students to build relationships with scholars of the same interest.

Statistics have proven that students are more successful when they are a part of such groups. “You have a more direct group watching over you, similar to athletics. Instead of having a coach watch over you, you now have your peers watching you and guiding you through the proper steps,” said Walker Nasser, president of the Interfraternity Council at the U.

Enrolling into a Division 1 university with around 25,000 students can be overwhelming for students coming directly out of high school. Students are able to build relationships both academically and socially by enrolling in Greek life. Ronnie Kaye, from Sigma Phi Epsilon, said, “Joining a house is the best thing I could have ever done. I was able to meet a ton of students who share the same interests in academics and outside of school.”

With the help of your fraternity/sorority, students are able to sync up with friends of the same major and share resources with one another. “Grades do typically go up; the average Greek GPA is 3.7 which is just above the campus average,” Nasser said.

The Greek system on campus provides many different outlets for students to become involved with the community. According to Miller, “Most of the time the Associated Students of the University of Utah president and vice president are Greek as well as student alumni boards, the Mighty Utah Student Section, and Latter-day Saint Student Association.”

Each of the 18 groups at the U have their own nonprofit organization they support every year. Students work together as a community to raise funds for their chapter’s philanthropy.

“I would look at everyone’s philanthropy as great. Beta, for example, does a lot of work with the Rape Recovery Center,” Nasser said. “Phi Delt does a lot of work with Alzheimer’s and all of their projects, Sig Chi is the leading chapter for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.”

Each chapter is able to make students aware of issues in the community and allow students from all over campus to help make a change.

Greek students are given many resources guiding them to potential job opportunities throughout the world. Students currently enrolled at the U have access to a plethora of different scholarship opportunities and connections for those eager to enter the business world. “A lot of the alums stay around the Salt Lake Valley, so if you are looking for jobs most likely there will be some connection to the fraternity and sorority community,” Miller said.

Not only does the U provide current Greek students with these benefits, there are also many alumni associations that can extend your connections worldwide after college. The creation of clubs and academic resources throughout the Fraternity and Sorority chapters has allowed students to become involved within the university and gain the resources to be successful. The relationships that are built with your brothers and sisters will continue on after college allowing you access to an endless amount of connections.

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Careful of The Birds, the electric scooters might hurt you 

Story and photos by RANDALL WHITMORE

As the days get shorter and the temperatures begin cooling off one thing remains constant at the University of Utah, electric scooters are still parked on nearly every intersection around campus. 

As the school year continues, many scooters are being used on campus by students and faculty as a means of transportation. Electric scooters have become extremely accessible as they are often left all over campus. Students can easily access these electric scooters using their designated apps, which can be downloaded onto any smartphone.

Despite innovative transportation, some students and faculty believe that the scooters are endangering users and other bystanders. Recent U graduate Elan Maj calls the scooters “extremely dangerous.” According to Elan, the scooters are not properly repaired and present potential risks to users. “About a year ago I was using a scooter to get home from class. As I was close to my house the handlebars had fallen out of the scooter while I was riding and I crashed.” 

Elan was not injured enough to go to the hospital but he did file a complaint with Bird, the electric scooter company he rented from. He explained that there is a designated area for reporting damage in the Bird app. Even though Elan provided pictures and a written statement, he could not prove that the damage was due to misuse. Bird refused to take further action or refund his ride. 

Users sign a waiver of liability before being able to access the scooters. The waiver states that users must be 18 years or older to ride and are required to wear a helmet before using the scooter. Elan explained that the waiver of liability makes users responsible for any injuries or damage while using the scooters. The app does not provide any incentives for reporting damaged scooters.

The app provides an incentive program for charging electric scooters in which anyone can participate. There are simple instructions on how to get paid by collecting and charging scooters. However, these individuals may not be qualified to determine what mechanical issues may have occurred to a scooter. Elan believes that there are a large number of scooters that are unfit to ride; however, Bird scooters continue to circulate Salt Lake City and the U. 

A May 2019 story in the Salt Lake Tribune stated each company is only allowed to have 500 scooters in the city at one time. With four separate companies renting scooters in Salt Lake, there are upwards of 2,000 scooters.

The Tribune reported the results of a comprehensive nationwide study of 2018 electric scooter injuries. The article explained, “Of the 249 patients who received treatment for scooter-related injuries, nearly 28 percent suffered contusions, sprains and lacerations. About 30 percent had fractures, and just over 40 percent were treated for head injuries.” In addition, “94.3% of observed riders in our community were not wearing a helmet.” Electric scooter accidents accounted for more injuries than bicycle accidents and pedestrian injuries during the study period. 

Just how safe are these electric scooters? Abigail Yensen, a nurse at the University Hospital, stated, “We have seen a number of patients in the ER as a result of electric scooter accidents. We have treated patients with injuries to collarbones, wrists, shoulders, ankles, and severe scrapes.” 

There have been no reported accidents related to electric scooters since their debut in 2018, according to officer Ryan Speers at the Department of Public Safety of the U. Public Safety had received calls from other large universities around the country also conducting similar surveys to accidents relating to electric scooters. Speers explained that other institutions are having issues with electric scooter accidents to both users and pedestrians on their campuses. 

The U has strategically placed bicycle paths where faster moving traffic can efficiently move around campus. Speers said, “We pride ourselves on our designated bike paths which most universities around the country do not have. We believe this is why we have yet to see any accidents involving electric scooters on campus.” Speers said he is excited that no one has been hurt by electric scooters on campus yet. He believes that the scooters are relieving the parking lots and easing traffic during the busiest hours on campus. 

Perhaps students are not reporting these incidents to Public Safety and instead taking matters into their own hands. Student Oscar Augustine who uses Bird scooters as a form of transportation admitted to being scared of other users of the electric scooters. He believes the scooters create a lot of fast moving traffic on campus with inexperienced riders who are not wearing protective gear. “I recently saw two girls riding one scooter who crashed as they exited a sidewalk near the stadium,” he said. Luckily neither woman was injured but Augustine said he fears that the scooters, which reach speeds up to 20 mph, could really inflict some damage.

Perhaps electric scooters are an efficient and green source of transportation for students around the U. As long as rules and university guidelines are followed users will continue using electric scooters at the U. The electric scooters will remain on campus throughout the winter and will remain a viable source of transportation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better safe than sorry: What to know before setting out

Story and photos by CAROLINE J. PASTORIUS

Avoiding avalanches is much easier than trying to survive one.

Outside of Denver, CO
Feb. 24, 2019

Many climbers, skiers, snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts are not aware of the proper precautions for avalanche and snow safety. The dangers of this type of recreation require more preparation and knowledge than you may think.

It’s not as simple as reading a pamphlet or set of instructions to prepare you to take on the outdoors, it’s about knowing what you are headed into and being fully prepared for and aware of the risks that come with venturing into nature.

Park City, UT |March 10, 2019

Mark Staples, director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, labels himself as an extremely experienced outdoor enthusiast and emphasizes, “There is no way to assure safety once you’re out in the wilderness. But there are ways to go about it safely, and that’s the best you can do,” Staples says in a phone interview.

Park City, UT (backcountry) | March 3, 2019

The elementary rule comes first and foremost when preparing to take on this type of terrain; do not travel alone. “Always make sure you have the proper education and tools before going into the backcountry, and make sure your partner does as well,” says Jordan Hicks from REI Cooperative. Hicks also added a helpful tip. “Make sure you have a set plan before you head out and tell somebody that plan in case you’re late coming home so they can notify authorities.”

Hicks also says to be aware of your surroundings. The cause of 90 percent of avalanches that harm a victim or members of the victim’s group is caused by their own missteps. Any foreign activity caused in a natural environment that adds weight that wasn’t there before can easily trigger downfall. A helpful way to foresee the conditions on the mountain before enduring it is to check daily aspects like the weather forecast and condition of the mountain on the day of your travel, both of which are easily accessible online. He says some red flags include unsteady snow, heavy snowfall or rain, posted warning signs, wind loading, and persistent weak layers. Avoiding avalanches altogether is much easier than trying to survive one, so take the precautions seriously.

Snacks. Water. Fuel. You can never be too prepared. Josh Alexander from Utah Ski and Golf recommends that you should “bring two times more than you expect to consume on your trip.”

Alexander also shared a story about his personal experience of being buried in an avalanche and what he learned from it. “Luckily, I was well prepared for any possible situation. I went out with a buddy of mine in the backcountry of Canada a few years back, somewhere we have never been before.” In retrospect, this was a red flag. You should never travel on unfamiliar territory when visiting it for the very first time. Alexander recommends scoping out uncharted terrain a day before riding it. Also, he mentions researching the area online to check previous travelers’ comments.

The avalanche that affected him was caused by a collision he had with a snowboarder, which produced a rush of snow and carried him about 100 yards. Being unable to breathe for that time, he saw his life flash before him.

Park City, UT |March 10, 2019

After coming to a halt, Alexander realized his friend was nowhere in sight. In fact, nothing was. It was all white. “I was completely lost, and all of my calls for help got absorbed in the snow I was buried in. I knew I had to find help but I also didn’t want to use too much oxygen, since I wasn’t sure how long I would be stuck there for.” He settled his pulse and remembered focus on what he learned to do when caught in this sort of situation.

He took a deep breath and started “swimming” against gravity to get closer to the surface of the snow pile in attempt to get any sort of signal for his avalanche beacon (a small radio that transmits a lost or dangered travelers’ location to rescue crews). He soon started transmitting his device, which was caught by his partner on the receiving end. Finally, he was located, rescued, and lives to tell the story. If the pair was not prepared for the worst-case scenario and did not hold the necessary tools, Alexander had a slim chance of survival.

There is only a 30 percent chance of escaping when buried by an avalanche. Take the lessons taught and learned in this article next time you think about getting involved in avalanche-prone territory. Always remember that you are in control of your own safety in uncharted territory.

The most sustainable and ethical diet for people and the planet

Story and photo gallery by CAMILLE AGLAURE

With so much talk concerning diet in the media, many people find it difficult to know what to eat. What foods are ethically sourced and grown? What foods truly promote human health? What foods support the health of the planet? These are all questions that are fogging up the minds of so many people.  

One thing that Thunder Jalili, Ph.D., and a professor of nutrition and integrative physiology, and Anne Pesek Taylor, registered dietitian, at the University of Utah can both agree on is that, generally speaking, a healthier plate is one with more plants and less overly processed foods and added sugar. 

Pesek Taylor said in an email interview that balanced nutrition needs to account for individual food preferences, lifestyle factors, and include a variety of food groups so it can be maintained long-term. Pesek Taylor referred to the University of Utah’s Healthy Eating Plate, an adaptation of the government’s MyPlate created in 2011, as a useful guide to good health.

What does this mean for meat and dairy, though?

Studies like the popular health book “The China Study” and documentaries like “What the Health” and “Cowspiracy”detail the harmful effects to humans and the environment that come with the consumption of animal-based foods. Jalili said he believes that the absolute exclusion of animal-based foods is not necessarily vital. However, regarding meat, “a little still means a little,” he said. 

Jalili said the maximum recommended intake of red meat is 100 grams per day while the maximum for processed meat is 50 grams. “Once a day is still a lot,” he said, and as far as human health is concerned, many studies indicate that there is, in fact, a decrease in mortality rate among those who maintain a vegan and vegetarian diet. When considering environmental health, there is slightly more to be taken into account when writing out your grocery list.

As more media attention surrounds the question of climate change versus animal agriculture, many organizations and communities are reevaluating the importance of animal-based foods, particularly meat, in a standard, western diet. 

“Raising cows is an environmental disaster,” Jalili said. With animal agriculture accounting for 91 percent of rainforest deforestation, according to The World Bank, and more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, according to the United Nations, Jalili said he believes that it is time for groups of people, like nutritionists, to not focus on health alone, but the bigger picture. “It’s just responsible,” he said. 

So, is a universal vegan diet the solution?

In the opinion of Christy Clay, Ph.D., an associate professor at Westminster College who teaches courses on subjects including biology, ecology, and environmental studies, “a homogenous, universal diet is exactly what has caused so many problems in our current food system.”

Clay said she believes that the current food system has created a monster of unequal distribution of foods, the elimination of native crops and variation, and potentially the loss of culture and professions. 

“We’re not understanding the limitations and values of local resources,” Clay said, as she explained the harms in seeking mainstream foods that do not naturally occur locally. Clay used the example of quinoa, a grain that grows in the Andes that is now exported to Western countries more than it is provided for locals who have depended on the grain in their diets for centuries. To be truly sustainable and ethical, Clay maintained that “diets should be bio-regional.”

For Clay, the ethical question of which foods to eat is not as simple as drastically lowering our consumption of meat. Rather, “there’s a whole dismantling of a current food system that needs to happen,” Clay said as she painted a picture of just how disrupted our way of eating has become. 

So, where do we begin?

Clay suggested that the first action to take is having the conversation about “how broken our food system is.” This consists of poor income for those in the agriculture industry, the cost and precarious nature of leasing land to farmers, a decline in community gardens, and loss of interest in crops that have fallen out of the mainstream.

“What does it look like to say we actually value this profession?” wondered Clay as she additionally suggested encouraging communities to be a space for local gardening. Already, there are a number of organizations working to do just that, including Green Urban Lunch Box, which goes from school to school, educating children on the value of local gardening while furthermore educating local farmers. 

Making a difference in your community requires collective action to encourage local agriculture and farming. Clay suggested gardening out of your own backyard. If you live in an apartment complex, ask your landlord or property owner about creating a roof garden. Clay also suggested engaging with other community gardens and protecting land to be used for local farming. Getting back in touch with a farm-to-table way of eating is imperative for a sustainable diet. Rekindling a healthy and community-based relationship with food is the best way for individuals to eat ethically, healthily, and in an environmentally friendly way. 

It’s time to rethink recycling

Story and photo gallery by NATALIE FREEZE

Did you know that the United States is the No. 1 trash-producing country in the world? While the U.S. accounts for only 5 percent of the global population, we are producing 40 percent of the world’s waste. I may not be a math major, but that just does not add up. Garbage is a global issue, and recycling has often been praised as the universal solution, but today we need to rethink how we recycle.

In the 1970s, a new push for green movements through government-backed initiatives raised public awareness and engagement through conservation efforts. In other words, recycling became a household mission. Earth Day was also first recognized on April 22, 1970. When recycling was a new and foreign concept, officials were desperate to get people to change their behavior and get into the habit of recycling. That was almost fifty years ago. Now, in 2019, it’s time to rethink how we recycle and raise the bar.

Since China has raised its recycling standards, we need to raise and match our recycling habits to continue to make a difference. In July 2017, China declared that it no longer wants to be the recipient of other countries garbage. The waste trade boosts economies of poor countries, but as China has grown in population and wealth, they no longer want to be held responsible for garbage duty. The declaration went into effect in January 2018, but before that China had been taking almost half of the United States recyclables.

Since last January, China has stopped accepting dozens of recyclable materials, like plastic and mixed paper, unless they meet strict rules around quality and contamination. Incoming recycling must be clean and perfectly sorted, a standard that is near impossible to meet.

In reaction to these new policies, the University of Utah has had to scale back recycling programs on campus. Joshua James, the waste management and recycling program manager here at the U said, “Now we are stuck at a point where we can only recycle plastics 1 and 2, and on top of that, it needs to be clean.” Many college students don’t understand these changes or what “clean” means, making these requirements extremely difficult to meet.

Recycling is not a lost cause, but we do need to make some essential changes to what we recycle. Aspiration recycling, also known as “wish cycling”, is no longer acceptable. This is when you are not actually sure if your coffee cup or pizza box is recyclable, but you toss it in the blue bin anyways because you care about the planet. James said, “It’s a feel-good thing, but if you put the wrong thing in there it ruins it for everyone.”

Aspirational recycling actually wastes more resources than simply sending it straight to a landfill. The energy consumed taking the trash to a facility, sorting it out as non-recyclable, and then sending it a landfill is wasteful and unnecessary. It can also damage the quality of other recyclable items that it touched, condemning those items to live in a landfill as well. Simply put, when in doubt throw it out.

Quality over quantity is key as recycling is becoming even more relevant for Salt Lake City. Once the Salt Lake Valley Landfill is full, that’s it, so it is increasingly urgent to filter what is necessary to be sent to the landfill. “The majority of our landfill is paper, which ironically is also the most recyclable material,” said Ashlee Yoder, the sustainability manager with Salt Lake County. “Not if, but when this landfill is capped off we will have to start sending our waste to other counties.”

So now what?

Sorting waste into the correct bin, whether it’s compostable, recyclable or just plain trash, is essential to combat excessive waste. But ultimately, it comes down to reducing our consumption. James said, “Stop depending on recycling. Reduce, reuse, recycle is in that order for a reason; recycling is the last resort after you have reduced and reused.”

Buying less is probably the easiest way to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Resist the urge to buy trendy clothes and shoes that won’t ever be worn. Stop taking a giant stack of napkins when you only need one. Invest in metal straws and reusable bags and glass containers for leftovers. Both James and Yoder emphasized the need to take responsibility for our trash and consciously think about the choices we are making.

Sophie Morton, a sophomore at the U studying environmental sustainability, adds that every little bit matters. “Some people say that refusing one straw doesn’t make a difference, but if a hundred people or a thousand people start to make little changes we will start to see serious change.”

Exemplary Service Through the Bennion Center

by Kyle Lanterman

SALT LAKE CITY─ Since 1987, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center has been a valuable resource by aiding the Salt Lake Community. The Bennion Center provides service to others living in the region, with many University of Utah students involved in the process. The mission statement of the Bennion Center reflects that there are strong values rooted within the center such as integrity, collaboration, diversity, engagement, and optimism to name a few. Six office spaces, a conference room, and a few couches constitute the space where students make items for the homeless or construct sustainable gardens. The center itself is extremely small compared to the impact it has on the Salt Lake Community.

The Bennion Center delivers service to address a variety of issues in the community including hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, sustainability, and health care. The people that work to make these areas in the Salt Lake Community better have bought into the mission of the Bennion Center and the work that comes along with it. Not only does the Bennion Center extend its outreach in Utah, but students and staff have done service work in many other areas in the Country. In addition, there are two service trips that are located in Cuba and Costa Rica. The outreach to these areas are inspired by a spirit of wanting to help communities that have people and environments in need. The community of the Bennion Center draws students who have want to take action in service.

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An infographic depicting the locations of service projects by students and staff from the Bennion Center from the past year. Service projects have dominated the western United States and have gone outside the country in Cuba and Costa Rica. Graphic creation credit to nationalgeoraphic.com

“So I was kind of involved with volunteer work in high school and wanted to continue doing volunteer work in college,” says Eric Nhem, a 22-year-old University student from West Valley City and Bennion Center volunteer. “My friend texted me one day and sheasked if I wanted to do this thing through the Bennion center,” Nhem continued, “I said what the heck is the Bennion Center?”

Eric

Eric Nhem, 22, a student programs coordinator the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. Nhem hails from West Valley City and works with students to fulfill their needs for service projects. Photo courtesy; Bennion center website.

That “thing” turned out to be a once a month assignment with Project Youth, which helped Title I students learn about higher education. Nhem eventually became the director of Project Youth after two consecutive years of volunteering with them which lead him to become a student programs coordinator with the Bennion Center. Nhem’s role is vital for the Bennion Center and the work that is done there.

“Basically, my job is to coordinate with students about service projects they wish to participate in and then guide them about what needs to be done. For example, what resources they might need or who they need to take talk to,” says Nehm. “Those two areas are usually what needs to be tackled first in order for the projects to get going.”

Regardless of who needs to talk to who or what the students need, there needs to be a level of optimism brought to the table. This sense of optimism is needed for student run projects to flourish and along with enthusiasm for the service to continue. The students  display optimism in their work and and are enthusiastic about it every day and those elements are what brought Nhem to the Bennion Center originally. 

Bennion Center

The bulletin board located outside the Bennion Center, with the main sign in the background. The Bennion center is located in room 105 in the Union building on the campus of the University of Utah. The center specializes in volunteer work in areas such as hunger, sustainability, homelessness, literacy, and healthcare. Photo credit: Bennion center staff.

“I fell in love with one program that had a mission I believed in,” Nhem stated.

Believing is something that holds the Bennion Center together, as communications specialist, Jennifer Jones, will attest. As the communications specialist, it is Jones responsibility to make other aware of the great work being done at the Center.

“My job is awesome because I get to brag about all the fantastic things students are doing here!” says Jones, and there is no shortage of work to be discussed. “Just the other day we had a group of students ironing plastic bags to make beanies for hospitalized infants and sleeping mats for the homeless. That is the kind of stuff that tends to take place in the Bennion Center on a day to day basis.”

Jones is particular proud of the people she works with. “What motivates me to do my work is everyone who is involved with the Bennion Center. We have so many students from a plethora of backgrounds who are passionate about their work,” she says.

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Students collaborate as they construct arts and crafts for the Primary Children’s Hospital in the Bennion Center. The center specializes in volunteer work in areas such as hunger, sustainability, homelessness, literacy, and healthcare. Photo credit: Bennion center online blog.

On a given evening, the Bennion Center is bustling with activity. This night, students sit on couches and huddle around a coffee table discussing their current work and planning out future projects. Nhem and Jones have their own workspaces where they speak to students or other parties about current or future projects. What goes on in the Bennion Center on a day to day basis continues to change the Salt Lake Community in a positive way.

The mission of the Bennion Center is “to foster lifelong service and civic participation by engaging the university with the greater community in action, change and learning.” This mission is being accomplished routinely through the meaningful work by students at the U with the help of staff members such as Nhem and Jones. Lifelong service is being given and will continue to be given as long as the belief in projects exists along with the drive to help others and make the local community of Salt Lake City a better place.

 

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Poor air quality continues to be an issue for residents of Salt Lake City

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By Trevor Hofer

SALT LAKE CITY—Poor air quality has been an issue for citizens of Salt Lake City for many years. The time of year when air quality is at its worst is December through February. During this time, residents must deal with inversion. Weather Questions, a website states, “inversion acts like a lid, keeping normal convective overturning of the atmosphere from penetrating through the inversion.” This definition explains that inversion contains various air pollutants which cause bad air quality to stay trapped within the valley and breathed in by the population.

Although Salt Lake City’s air quality has improved, the air quality is still ranked as the sixth worst in the nation by the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association gave the Salt Lake Valley an “F” in both the amount of particulate pollution and in the ozone. The American Lung Association based their ranks on two factors, particulate pollution, and ozone. According to Dictionary.com particulate pollution is “pollution of an environment that consists of particles suspended in some medium… [it] is a mixture of solid and liquid droplets floating in the air.” Particulate can affect every person in Salt Lake City, but those at higher risk according to the National Park Service website are those with heart and lung diseases, diabetes, asthma, and children.

The other factor that the American Lung Association bases their rankings on is ozone. According to AirNow, ozone can either be good or bad depending on where it is located. “Good” ozone is found 6 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface where it protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Bad ozone is near ground level and forms “when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boiler, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight” creating bad breathing air. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that ozone has linked poor air quality to adverse health effects such as with some being chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and trouble breathing during outdoor activities and exercise.

Peter F. Vitiello, an assistant scientist in the Environmental Influences on Health and Diseases group who is also a member of the American Lung Association, stated that “poor air quality is hazardous and is something in which we should not take lightly.” Vitiello suggested that we should try to keep the environment healthy as we would want our health to be.” As mentioned, many factors play a part in the poor air quality that is affecting the residents in Salt Lake City. Liberation News states one of the primary sources causing a significant decrease in safe air quality is the five oil refineries owned by Chevron and Andeavor. Also, mining operations in Salt Lake City also attribute significantly to poor air quality.

 

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Burning wood is one of the causes of pollution. The DEQ has put out regulations on how much and when you are able to burn wood

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) mission is “safeguarding and improving Utah’s air, land, and water through balanced regulation.” The DEQ has a department solely focused on Utah’s atmosphere and is continuously looking for ways they can improve the air quality of Utah. They also have many other apps where we can view how the air quality is today and have also set up a few regulations by which we should live. Some of these suggestions are to turn your key, be idle free, travel-wise, conserve energy and use a shovel rather than a snow blower. These are just a few suggestions by which we should live to improve our quality of air.

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Cars are one of the leading causes of pollution at 50-55 percent for the Salt Lake Valley

Beau Call from the DEQ said that “they have a rule called the water heater and they suggest that the water heater when you buy a new one should have low oxides of nitrogen level.” Call also stated that, “they have an Air Quality board which listens to the suggestions from the DEQ and decide if this is the best path for better and cleaner air.”  They are also trying to put regulations on industries on how much they can produce. According to Call, “the major industry only attributes to 17 percent and cars produce 50 to 55 percent 25 to 30 percent are from buildings and homes. So the cars are the main issue; therefore, the newer cars are improving, and they are producing cleaner gas to minimize the pollution.” Call suggested that if we could use electric cars, it would vastly improve the air quality.

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Stats from Beau Call about the causes of pollution.

Salt Lake City has taken a few steps to improve the air quality and to lessen the carbon footprint. Liberation News claimed that the first step was back in the year 1999 where the first electric TRAX light rail line was made available to the residents of Salt Lake valley. The DEQ also has a  few incentive programs and they will pay you to switch you to a new heating device that will be cleaner for the air quality; for example, if you have a wood stove. We have plenty of cleaner resources around us that we need to use rather than sit idly by. If we do these things that the DEQ has suggested, we will be able to create a better environment and we will be able to live healthier lives.

 

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Shane Bryan

IMG_7297My Story: Biking into the Future with Bike Utah

My Blog: Reflection Blog

About Me: Originally from New Hampshire and now a Senior at the University of Utah studying Strategic Communication. Currently Marketing Director for the University’s mountain and road bike team. Always on the move and seeking new challenges. In the future, a dream job would be marketing in the mountain bike or auto industry.

Check out my LinkedIn here

Biking into the Future with Bike Utah

Article and Photos by Shane Bryan

SALT LAKE CITY — Biking on city streets can be intimidating for new bicycle commuters. The rush of traffic, distracted drivers and the difficulty of using a map can easily deter people from riding bikes instead of getting into a car. Bike Utah, a bicycle advocacy organization, is here to help residents all over Utah get on a bike and feel safe while doing so. They work to make cities and towns all over the state more bike friendly.

Based in Salt Lake City, Bike Utah operates as a non-profit organization. The organization started ten years ago after a road cyclist was hit and killed on the Utah

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Simon Harris demonstrating proper road riding techniques (Photo by Shane Bryan)

roads. The founders quickly became aware that there needed to be some serious advocacy for safety between drivers and cyclists. The mission of Bike Utah is to “integrate bicycling into the everyday culture of the state,” says Simon Harris, Bike Utah’s Youth Program Manager. “We envision Utah as the most bicycle friendly state in the country.”

Bike Utah carries out their plan via city planning—putting traffic plans into action, and working with local governments to make the roads a safe haven for cyclists.  

Throughout the city, there are extra wide bike lanes with more room for riders and marked lines so drivers can steer clear. There are large signs specifically identifying bike lanes, and paint on the roads to show where the lane is and where bike riders have a right-of-way. Popular destinations are also clearly marked with nearby street

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Wide bike lane Eastbound on 300s (Photo by Shane Bryan)

signs, eliminating the need to use a map or phone while you ride, all in an effort to keep bikers safe.

Bike Utah has been chosen as the non-profit sponsor for the new Thousand Mile campaign, an effort to revamp old bike paths and add new ones totaling 1,000 miles. Introduced by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the Thousand Mile campaign is intended to make Utah one of the best cycling and active transportation states in the country.

Bike Utah’s role is to “provide strategic planning, technical assistance, and financial resources so communities can begin or continue developing bicycling in their area,” according to Bike Utah, they help, “communities to advance their bicycle-related goals.” This means advancements in local bike routes to get kids to school, people to work and riders out enjoying the roads and trails. 

Multi-use pathways and mountain bike trails are also laid out in the Thousand Miles plan. Salt Lake City also has protected bike lanes, similar to ones found in Europe, in which there is a physical concrete barrier separating the bike lane and the car lane, reducing the probability of a car merging into the bike lane. Through their work, Bike 

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Concrete barrier separating the road from the bike lane Westbound on 300s (Photo by Shane Bryan)

Utah would like to inspire people to ride bikes instead of driving, to help keep our air clean and reveal the health benefits of pedaling to your destinations. Active transportation is healthy for you and the community. Riley Peterson of Salt Lake City, commutes around the city all the time whether it’s to school or to work. “I always have lights on which makes it safe and I have never had an issue with any cars,” says Peterson. “Plus, it is just more fun to ride.”

There are things you can be doing to further increase your safety on the road. For starters, follow the rules of the road. Stop at stop signs, use hand signals, and stay in your lane. Also, wear bright colors. Brighter colors will pop and grab the attention of drivers. Standing out from the line of traffic on a bike will separate you from the crowd. Having a front and rear light is also a good way to do this. Many people think that only having a front and rear light at night is important; however, Adam Olson, Manager of Trek Bike, encourages riders to use 

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LED lights can keep you safe day and night (Photo by Shane Bryan)

lights at all times. “Using lights in the day time increases your chances of being seen,” says Olson. “Drivers are more likely to see a flashing object over a cyclist with no safety warnings attached.”

Drivers are always subliminally looking for objects that they are accustomed to seeing on the road (street lights, street signs, parked cars, etc.), the flashing of a light makes it apparent to drivers that there is something else to watch out for. 

Bike Utah also hosts an amazing kids program teaching kids from an early age about bike education and safety by visiting schools statewide.  Over 250 kids have learned how to ride a bike while increasing overall bike knowledge by 67 percent. You can support Bike Utah and follow upcoming events by clicking here for more information. Next time, consider throwing a leg over a bike before you step into a car.

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Bags to Beds program makes a lasting impact upon the homeless community in Salt Lake City

Story, photos, and video by SPENCER K. GREGORY

A local student has created a service project that has impacted the homeless community in Salt Lake City.

Kaitlin Mclean, creator and director of the Bags to Beds program.

Kaitlin McLean, a fifth-year student at the University of Utah, has created a system in which the participant recycles plastic bags, creates plastic yarn, and produces mats that she said can then be used to “help our homeless neighbors.” This service project has been referred to as Bags to Beds.

“Bags to Beds is a community service project that’s looking to reduce waste for our community by breaking down plastic bags that can’t be recycled,” McLean said.

She organized this student-directed service project through the Bennion Center. The Bennion Center is a nonprofit organization on the U’s campus that serves the local community.

Since then, McLean is now the director of the program and has made a tremendous impact upon sustainability within the Salt Lake Valley.

She said that it averages about 40-50 hours of service per mat.

Students can get involved with however much time they want to spend.

One U student, Megan Peterson, said, “The project itself was really easy, and not hard to understand.”

Peterson is currently a third-year student who is studying communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. She specifically loves to help out the Bennion Center Scholars program.

Peterson mentions how she was first introduced to Bags to Beds at a Scholars social where they just ate pizza. In the meeting they casually discussed goal setting with students pursuing their work for their personal engagement within the community.

Afterward, the Scholars were unified in their efforts to cut plastic bags into objects that would later be used into “plarn.”

U students hard at work with “plarn.”

“Plarn” is the term that Bags to Beds has adopted to describe the unique process of creating the service phenomenon.

Bryan Luu offers insight as to the process and functionality of plarn making. He said, “Plarn is a form of plastic yarn. It’s what wove together these giant mats. All of it’s made from plastic bags that have just been cut into strips and tied together to resemble the yarn.”

Once the mats are made from the plarn, they are immediately distributed to a local resource center or to Project Homeless Connect.

Homeless Connect is a one-day event that helps provide services and outlets for those who are homeless. People can learn how to get involved in this project by visiting the website.

The program has a tremendous connection to the Project Homeless Connect happening in downtown Salt Lake City. “We’ll have all the mats we’ve finished throughout the year for those that are anticipating they’ll be outside this year,” McLean said.

McLean said they expect to help more than 600 individuals during 2018.
“It also gives us an opportunity to work with other people who work with this population, and also get to know the people we are serving,” she said.

This program has made a great impact upon a tremendous social issue.
Peterson said, “Even though homelessness itself is such a huge issue, they’re just trying to help a little bit by taking waste that can’t even be recycled, and then re-using them for something useful.”

Peterson added, “It also helped me focus in on an issue that I’m not thinking about all the time.”

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Bryan Luu shares his experience with Bags to Beds.

Luu, a fifth-year student at the U studying civil engineering and urban ecology, said, “My time with Bags to Beds really has shaped a lot of my community involvement because I feel as if I can continue making a difference. Just having that knowledge, is just really important. Then I can be able to still give back to my community.”

Students or other patrons can visit Bags to Beds to get actively involved. Visitors can then fill out a volunteer interest form.

Bags to Beds has trained organizations and individuals to work independently on the service project at the Bennion Center or even at home.

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Bags to Beds was founded by University of Utah student Kaitlin McLean.

So if you’re a community member, student, or local citizen in the community there are many ways for you to get engaged in this great organization. According to McLean, Bags to Beds can even personally deliver plarn right at your door.

Peterson said it’s an “easy way to get involved.”

Paige Remington, another student at the U, said, “Although I am not directly helping people who are experiencing homelessness, I am using my hands and my time to create something that will hopefully alleviate a small amount of suffering.”

Debbie Hair, the administrative assistant for the Bennion Center.

Debbie Hair is the administrative assistant for the Bennion Center. She has helped the founder of Bags to Beds from the beginning. She said, “This project went off miraculously with a lot of attention.”

Hair added, “There’s a couple of different reaches this program has, one is environment. We’re not just reaching out to the homeless to give them comfort, but we’re also repurposing those bags.”

According to Bags to Beds, the program has collected over 12,000 plastic bags for active sustainable use in the community.

Bags to Beds has a plan to prepare a model that is sustainable moving forward. McLean said, “The project will continue to flourish no matter how many students there are.”

Students through the Bennion Center and community members in the Salt Lake Valley have been the main community engagement resource, providing service hours for the program. However, the organization plans to spread to other cities.

Since the early years of the program, it has now officially become an incorporated business outside of the Bennion Center.

McLean said, “Bags to Beds is now in the process of becoming a tax-deductible nonprofit organization.” Bags to Beds has made a tremendous impact upon the homeless society in the Salt Lake Valley and will continue to change countless future lives.

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The plant revolution: anti-inflammatory, anti-meat

Story and gallery by JEN CHUN

Plant Based Utah, a collaborative organization that utilizes specialists to educate people about a plant-based lifestyle, held the 2nd Annual Plant Based Nutrition Symposium on Oct. 13, 2018, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. Doctors and health experts were invited to give lectures about a plant-based diet.

Annually, many Americans die because of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. According to 2017 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 635,260 people died because of heart disease and 598,038 died of cancer. These two are the most fatal chronic diseases that threaten Americans’ health.

The problem is people do not know how to make healthy meals for themselves. Nutritious food is easily available, but consumers are having a tough time selecting ingredients for a healthy diet.

“One option is a plant-based diet,” said Patrick Olson, an orthopedic surgeon at the Rosenberg Cooley Metcalf Clinic in Utah.

Plant-Based Diet (PBD) is a diet that consists of minimally processed food. It focuses on consuming natural products that people can grow such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and herbs. PBD does not include any animal products, which is eco-friendly to the earth as well.

“PBD is the most anti-inflammatory diet you can get,” Olson said.

He said plants are the primary source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Not only do plants lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but they also change gene expression and lengthen telomeres. Maintaining a plant-based dietary pattern is helpful for lowering obesity rates.

Lucy Mower, a second-year graduate student at the University of Utah’s Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, said PBD promotes good health. She said PBD emphasizes the consumption of certain foods that are associated with heart benefits. “Eating vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are beneficial to the heart,” she said. Mower explains that “a lot of them have fiber which maintains or lowers the cholesterol level.” She added that components of vitamins and minerals control high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, known as LDL. “Having a PBD is helpful to break the vicious cycle of” America’s daily diet, Mower said.

Additionally, Mower emphasized the importance of research before starting PBD. She said PBD is challenging because it can be a big transition of one’s diet pattern. She said she won’t recommend specific PBD to people unless they do prior research or have background knowledge of plant-based nutrition. She emphasized the importance of discipline in building one’s PBD by researching, planning, and reading a nutrition label.

“To do a healthy PBD, it is significant to know one’s needs,” she said. She recommends considering the food groups seriously when looking for alternatives — replacing animal oil to vegetable oil — which should provide enough carbohydrate, protein, and fat to the body.

Zuri Vasquez, 18, and a student at the U has been doing PBD for five years. Her natural environment and family history — diabetes — influenced her to start PBD. “I don’t consume any animal product because I grew up with chickens and cattle in Idaho and I could not even imagine to harm them,” she said. She supports local farmers’ markets as well.

Meat-based diets stimulate climate change. According to the website PETA, making one hamburger needs as much fossil fuel as it takes to drive a small car 20 miles. Meat-based diet requires massive water, fossil fuel, and trees, which cause drought, air pollution — methane gas — and depletion of the ozone layer — carbon dioxide.

On the other hand, PBD is sustainable and has a lower environmental impact because it does not contain any animal product. “Having a PBD is promoting a huge impact on not only our planet’s health but also all its inhabitants,” Olson said.

Vasquez said having PBD is realistic and inspiring. She said it has become more accessible and sustainable since the increase of markets featuring whole food and grains. By eating healthy vegetables, fruits and nuts, she has gained more energy and improved cognitive abilities. “I feel strong and motivated because of the belief that I am doing something good,” she said.

She advised beginners of PBD to “start little by little.” Rather than changing the whole diet at once, gradually eliminating one thing a time, such as limiting animal products once a day, will be beneficial in adjusting to the plant-based meal. “It is a good investment to think about a longer period for my body and the earth,” Vasquez said.

Heber Rivera has been a chef for 15 years and has done PBD for four years now. He runs a business based on whole food and plant-based meals called “Chef Heber.” Before he started the business, he was in charge of catering to 23 different hospitals for Intermountain Healthcare. “Chef Heber” provides catering, artisan bread, and personalized meal delivery, services in which all the food is cooked by plant-based nutrition.

“Our catering is unique because it is built to the needs of customers,” he said. The artisan bread is made from 100 percent whole wheat and five other plant-based ingredients without any preservatives or sweeteners. He crafts pre-cooked plant-based meals to meet every dietary need. He delivers the food twice a week, which makes it easier for people to access and maintain the PBD.

Rivera aims to offer natural and nutrient-based meals without oil, sugar, or any chemical seasonings. “Ideally, we wanted to help people live better,” he said. He said it is hard for modern people to access healthy meals. He is trying to help as many people as possible by collaborating with different retail stores at reasonable prices.

According to the website, Plant Based Utah’s mission is, “We strive to advance our health and lifestyle culture through the sharing of evidence-based information and initiatives promoting whole food, plant-based nutrition.” This organization is helpful for learning about PBD.

At the symposium, the professionals emphasized that changing habits is crucial in PBD. Nowadays, people are too used to consuming processed and fast foods. Ayesha Sherzai and Dean Sherzai, who are neurologists and co-directors of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, described the habit pathway as a cycle that continues toward mindfulness, which brings healthy behavior and eventually, success. They pointed out that the “mindfulness” is the most important stage to form a good eating habit. The website Healthy Minds Initiative shows a lot of helpful resources and programs for a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, Dr. Brooke Goldner, who is an expert in healing chronic disease with Plant-Based Nutrition, suggested making a green plant-based smoothie daily. Her book “Green Smoothie Recipes to Kick-Start Your Health & Healing” and the website called smoohieshred.com  contains various delicious and healthy recipes of green smoothies. Moreover, she runs the website called Goodbye Lupus for further information and tips for healthy eating and wellbeing.

One of the greatest scientists, Albert Einstein, said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” The plant-based diet could be the revolution of health needed for every individual.

 

Local rock climbers are inspired by Alex Honnold’s mental toughness

Story and photos by McKENZIE NICOL

Ascending 3,000 feet of sheer granite is no easy task. Most would deem it impossible.

Rock climber Alex Honnold proved the impossible to be possible as he ascended El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without safety ropes on June 3, 2017. His triumph, depicted in a 2018 documentary, is impacting the sport of rock climbing by pushing the limit of where risk lies.

Climbing up the Free Rider route in just under four hours, Honnold has achieved one of the greatest physical tasks conceived in the human mind.

Fellow climber Tommy Caldwell was the first to free climb (a style of climbing with ropes only for safety, not aid) the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in 2015. In a National Geographic story published in October 2018, he called Honnold’s ascent the “moon landing” of free soloing.

Honnold’s “moon landing” is quite possibly the most incredible physical performance of humankind​, and the physical achievement is just the beginning of the victory. Honnold holds an astounding ability to control fear and remain determined and clear headed.

National Geographic quoted Honnold as saying, “[Fear is] only hindering my performance, so I just set it aside and leave it be.”

Honnold’s ascension is helping local climbers to see an obvious representation of what it means to really compartmentalize fear and overcome difficulty and stress through grit and mental toughness.

In the heart of Salt Lake City, the climbing team at the University of Utah is training to compete in the collegiate national climbing tournament April 27 and 28, 2019. Ben Roa is in his fourth year at the U and is president of the team. He expressed his amazement and admiration of what Honnold has achieved.

“It is the single most impressive athletic feat that any human has ever done,” Roa said. “The fact that Honnold has done it is astounding.”

He explained that climbing is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. It is all in the head. “He compartmentalizes fear and fatigue and it is really impressive,” Roa said.

Roa said he enjoys the constant challenges that rock climbing presents mentally and physically. He said he has several “projects” – or routes – that he is working on in Big Cottonwood Canyon that require “great mental effort.”

“The cooler stuff is always the harder stuff,” Roa said. “It might be a little dangerous because people can be like, ‘Oh wow, I can do it.’” He described that setting goals and knowing your limits is an important part of getting better.

“The goals never stop. That’s one of my favorite things,” Roa said.

Joel Zerr, another climber and employee at Momentum Climbing Gym in Salt Lake City, gave some insight on Honnold’s accomplishment. He said, “[The] level that he’s pushing is on the edge of the risk. Mistakes can happen. It’s a different thing and it’s really impressive.”

Zerr recognizes the immense psychological control that is required to rock climb and why many people, rock climber or not, are drawn to what Honnold has done.

“People can relate to him because you can obviously see the anomaly of what he did. It draws attention and it inspires,” Zerr said.

Zerr explained that he does not feel that pushing those boundaries of risk is completely necessary. It is possible to push oneself in any aspect, not just rock climbing, and it does not need to have such dire consequences. He said he challenges himself mentally and physically, but not in the same way Honnold does.

Managing stress, pressure, and fear are factors of Zerr’s daily climbing life. Whether in the gym or on a wall outside, it feels “real” to be up there and trying to work out the best way to maneuver to the top. Mental sharpness and control are essential.

Isaac Baker, a rock climber from Bountiful, Utah, suggested the idea that rock climbing brings a new edge to life.

“Being on the wall not only gives you a new perspective of life, but a new way of living. Climbing is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle,” he said.

Baker has been rock climbing for seven years and can see the effects of needing to be mentally sharp on the wall in his everyday life. He said he loves challenges and tackling any sort of project with the mindset of pushing himself to his limits.

Rock climbers all around can add their story to that of Baker’s in saying that the sport has changed their life. Following Honnold’s journey and studying his mental game shows us that his is no exception.

Being the first to free solo a beast like El Capitan, Alex Honnold has set the stage for pushing the limits of what humans can do physically and mentally.

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Beyond the water cycle: Life and environmental lessons from a former BLM director

Story and Photos By: JAKE PHILLIPS 

Patrick Shea’s beard was wet.

It was an oddly fitting picture of the former director of the Bureau of Land Management, who despite being out of government for 20 years, has water on his mind a lot these days. It was a rainy Thursday morning, and Shea, 70, was strolling to class.

Not on the University of Utah campus, where he’s been a research professor of biology and taught a class on urban streams for years, but at a local elementary school.

Every Thursday morning Shea teaches a class on water to fourth graders at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City. He arrived to a roomful of damp students who had just returned from recess.

As their teacher, Hannah Dolata, instructed her students to find their seats, Shea dried off his bushy white beard. He asked them what they had learned the previous week. The students couldn’t wait to tell him about the written equation they’d learned that showed how much water they used when showering or teeth brushing.

One student proudly exclaimed that if he brushed his teeth with the water running for three minutes and showered for 10 minutes he would have had used 52 gallons of water in the process.

“I try to conserve water every day because my grandma complains about the water bill,” said Valentine, 9.

Shea then asked the students what they should do after wetting their toothbrushes.

“Turn off the water!” the students yelled in unison.

While most elementary school students learn about the water cycle, Dolata’s fourth-grade class at Rose Park Elementary School is getting a much more in-depth education about water and how it affects them. With Utah’s less-than-abundant water supplies and growing population, water conservation has become more important than ever.

Salt Lake is winning water conservation fight

Around 33 percent of Utah is considered to be true desert, meaning the state receives 5 to 8 inches of precipitation annually, according to Utah’s Comprehensive Weather Almanac. The heavily populated Wasatch Front receives around 15 inches of precipitation annually.

Along the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake City appears to be winning in its fight to conserve water. According to the 2014 Salt Lake City Water Conservation Master Plan, conservation has exceeded expectations and the overall trend is a reduction in water use in the area. Classroom programs like Shea’s are crucial in these efforts, the city’s Department of Public Utilities said.

Yet, with climate change and other environmental concerns an increasing reality to students both in childhood and their future adulthood, it’s especially important to teach children today about ways to address these issues, Dolata said.

While Salt Lake City has responded to calls to conserve water, planners expect the city will need to do more in the future. According to a University of Utah study conducted in 2017, the state population is expected to grow from 3.2 million to 3.9 million by the year 2030, an increase of about 22 percent.

If Salt Lake residents continue to use water at the same rate they did in 2000 Salt Lake City’s water usage is expected to increase by 23 percent by 2030, according to the Salt lake City Department of Public Utilities.

Shea asked the students about where the water they use every day comes from. He explained the majority of water in Utah comes from snow in the canyons. Then the children attempted to name some of the canyons near Salt Lake.

The class’ homework assignment was to look at the weather and to document whether it was an accurate report.

“The biggest problem for you growing up is figuring out what is true and is not true,” Shea said.

A different kind of ‘water bucket’ challenge

Shea wasn’t totally out of his element. It had been five years since he had last taught elementary students about proper water usage.

The daughter of a colleague, who Shea worked with on state water laws, was teaching fourth graders and challenged the research professor to speak to her class.

Hesitant at first, Shea said he’s come to enjoy the experience.

“The students are like sponges and want to learn more,” he wrote in an email.  

A few weeks later, the professor was back, this time leading a field trip to a water treatment plant up Big Cottonwood Canyon. With Shea was Jacob Maughan, treatment plant operator, who led a tour of the plant and explained how the facility purifies water to make it potable. From there, the energetic children then returned to their bus and traveled to City Creek Canyon.

At City Creek Canyon, a popular biking and hiking destination for Salt Lake residents, the students were met by John Wells, who manages the city’s watershed operations. With students trailing behind, Wells led the class on a walk up a winding, paved canyon road while explaining why it’s important to protect the watershed.

He told students that dogs are not allowed in the canyon to protect the water quality in the streams that the city depends on. As the students fidgeted and chatted, Dolata, their teacher, stressed the importance of showing students the real-life connection to the water cycle.

“In fourth-grade science they’re learning about Utah science and start to connect what they’re learning to the world,” she said. They “see themselves as scientists.”

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Hannah Dolata and her class overlook a water storage unit and the Salt Lake Valley.

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Dolata’s class walk across a concrete platform that serves as water storage at the Big Cottonwood Water Treatment Plant.

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Patrick Shea looks on as Jacob Maughan explains how snowmelt is cleaned and transformed to drinking water.

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Maughan telling the students what chemicals are added to unclean water to make it potable.

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Maughan advises students to be cautious in his lab, because there are dangerous chemicals present.

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Dolata and her class watch water spill over a weir used to control water flow and filter out solid matter.

Outdoor Retailer show says bye-bye to Utah, but does the Beehive State care?

Annual shows have new home but its departure from Utah may have less impact than you think. 

Story by LUKE FORTUNE

A tourist staple and economic driver for 20 years, the renowned Outdoor Retailer shows, which brought the outdoor industry’s blue-chip businesses and top athletes to the Wasatch Front, no longer calls Utah home.  

In 2017, the shows’ organizers, citing opposition to reducing Bears Ears National Monument and other land management policies by federal and state officials, announced their decision to leave Utah for Colorado.

“We chose Denver because of Colorado’s long-term commitment to protecting and nurturing public lands,” Marisa Nicholson, director of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, said.

While the departure has left a black mark on the Beehive State outdoor recreation industry and image, how much of a hole it will leave in Utah’s economy is unclear. Nate Furman, a University of Utah professor in the parks, recreation and tourism department, said it’s more of a lost opportunity that will affect Salt Lake City in the short term.

“In the long term, I don’t think that it will have major effects, as the gravity of national politics will drown out any effects of whether or not the show is held on the western margin of the Rocky Mountains or the eastern margin,” Furman said.

The Outdoor Retailer shows have drawn tens of thousands of tourists and athletes from around the world who come for the latest in outdoor equipment and to sample the state’s recreational offerings.

The trade shows pulled out of Utah in protest after the Trump administration and Utah politicians chose to shrink two controversial national monuments. Along with the proposed reduction of Bears Ears by 85 percent, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is slated to be cut in half. As a proponent of public lands, the trade shows’ leadership took a stand in protest, as did many companies that attend the convention.

Outdoor industry stalwarts, including California-based retailers Patagonia and The North Face, met with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert after President Trump’s the decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The companies ultimately decided that moving the show from its longtime home of Utah would be the best choice for their industry as a whole. 

“I say enough is enough,” Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, said in a statement. “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Governor Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument.”

Over the past 20 years, Outdoor Retailer has brought 40,000 visitors annually to Utah during their twice-yearly shows, which run for three days at a time. Additionally, the shows have brought $45 million in consumer spending.

While these numbers may seem large, the loss hardly puts a dent into Utah’s roughly $13 billion tourism economy. The outdoor recreation industry brings in $12.3 billion in consumer spending a year as well as $737 million in state and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. While Utah as a whole will most likely see little impact, local businesses may see mixed outcomes, depending on their size.

Smaller companies may have a harder time as they relied on the increased sales the shows brought, but shouldn’t be hit too hard, said Sunn Kim, the retail store manager at local Utah company Backcountry.com.

With annual revenue of $634.54 million, Backcountry.com makes most of its sales online, allowing it to weather the shows’ departure with little impact on its bottom line. The company has a small retail shop that may be affected by the departure.

I believe the departure of [Outdoor Retailer] will have a more immediate impact on Utah’s outdoor industry and economy,” Kim said. “I believe that smaller businesses focused on tourism will suffer, but this impact will only be temporary.” 

Fate of old Holladay’s Old Cottonwood Mall still up for debate

Story by CALI FELTS

After years of planning, the fate of Holladay’s Old Cottonwood Mall is still up for debate.

The town of Holladay is currently in the middle of a debate over real estate developer Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation’s third proposal to build a residential and commercial area to cover the empty land where the mall once stood. 

Holladay city planners have been wondering what to do with the Old Cottonwood Mall, which was built in 1962, for a decade. Real estate developers had planned to demolish and rebuild Cottonwood Mall. For much of that time the mall stood mostly empty, except for a Macy’s Department Store, which finally left the site in 2017.

Since 2008, much of the lot has been sitting there empty waiting for either the proposed new mall to be built or for a different plan to be introduced. In 2017, Salt Lake City real estate developer Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation, which manages commercial real estate, tried to come up with a solution for the empty lot. They proposed to build a housing unit as well as an enclosed shopping area and restaurants.

But getting Holladay on board has been a challenge. Holladay residents have shouted down two of Ivory’s plans since last November. Holladay city officials have said that the buildings are too high and would cover Mt. Olympus.

Residents have said that the development would also crowd the area with traffic and more people. They even have an Instagram, @iloveholladay, and a website advocating against the new development.  

Other Holladay residents like Harrison Creer want something done with the space. Creer supports the concept of doing something with the mall so it’s not a place where “high school kids go to mess around and do dumb stuff.”

“I am not a huge fan on the idea Ivory [Homes] wants to do for [the old Cottonwood Mall site], but it would be nice to have the eyesore gone,” he said.

In March, Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation released their third proposal for the remodel of the Old Cottonwood Mall land after hearing the complaints of the Holladay residents.

In a joint statement posted online the company said, “We heard you Holladay! Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation have made substantial changes to the original plans to develop the former Cottonwood Mall site in order to accommodate this great community.”

Developers have lowered the height of the proposed buildings, decreased the amount of homes, increased the size of the lots, expanded its commercial spaces and added more open space.

“We will do all this while maintaining Holladay’s unique feel and charm,” the companies said.

Cinda Taylor, a representative from Ivory Homes, in an interview highlighted the economic benefits for Holladay if the development goes through. She explained how Holladay needs the revenue generated the short and long-term investment this development would bring.

Taylor also explained how the new development would create a ‘Halo Effect’ for the city. This means that not only would it benefit the businesses being built in this development but surrounding businesses as well from the new residents, local workers and the ‘regional draw’ Holladay will have.

As a visual marker, Ivory Homes floated balloons to show how high the buildings would be. But not everyone is impressed. The balloons had completely covered the view of Mount Olympus which the residents did not appreciate.

It makes me so sad to have a visual of what could potentially change the face of our quiet neighborhood forever,” Suzy Rasch, a Holladay resident, said.

Rasch has been an outspoken opponent of the redevelopment of the mall. She’s used social media to make her point and protested at Holladay Planning Commission meetings with signs, including one that read “Not this plan, High Rise? High Traffic.”

 

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Ironically, the owners of Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation both live in Holladay near the Old Cottonwood Mall. The owners could not be reached for an interview.

Another Holladay resident, Cristie Briggs, says after going to a presentation for the new development her opinion has completely changed.

“I used to be 100 percent against but after seeing the newest plan and the way it was presented, I really loved it,” she said, adding that she liked the way the buildings look in drawings of the plans.

Despite cries of colony collapse, master beekeeper asks, “What crisis?”

Story by KELSEY MAE RATHKE

Of all the things to worry about today – Russian election meddling, White House scandals, will the Utah Jazz make it past the first round of the NBA playoffs – dying bees is one you can cross of the list.

In recent years, news headlines warning of a massive bee extinction and the impending demise of the planet have not only been rampant, they have been overstated, local beekeeper Albert Chubak said. He said that the great bee die-off is not a real issue. 

“I read it all the time online and it’s false,” Chubak, the owner of Eco Bee Box and a beekeeper for three decades, said. “If the bees all die out, we as a people are dead in two years.”

Between his relentless grin and his deliberate, halting speech, it is clear Chubak has a passion for bees. His office walls are covered in beehive innovation awards he has received and photos of beekeeping in action.

Chubak says not all bees are having this problem, but rather just honey bees – one of some 20,000 species. He believes other bees and pollinators, including butterflies, ants, flies, wind, rain, birds and bats, could maintain the planet.  

Two bee facts that all adults (and children) should learn, Albert Chubak says:
1. Bees aren’t looking for something to sting. They search for food and protect their hive.
2. Honey is better and easier to digest than crystallized sugars and corn syrups. Honey is antibiotic, antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti fungal and never goes bad.

Chubak began working with honey bees in 1985 in Beaver Creek, in Canada’s Saskatchewan province. He says he was hired for a fall honey harvest at a local apiary. In three weeks of work he was stung only once.

Still, the docile temperament of honey bees stuck with him. But it wasn’t for another 20 years or so that he purchased his first bee boxes. He bought seven hives for $50 only to learn once home the boxes contained no bees.

“I started off my beekeeping career by harvesting honey,” Chubak said. “I believe we got five 5-gallon buckets of honey” — all without a single sting.

Fast forward to the recession, when Chubak worked as a general contractor. As the construction business tanked along with the rest of the economy, Chubak needed a new way to make a living. That’s when he turned to the bees. He developed several ways to remove bees, hornets and wasps from homes and founded Utah Bee Removal.

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Honey bees prior to being removed from the wall of a home. Image courtesy of Albert Chubak.

From relocating honey bees, Chubak learned that bees maintain their own colonies. Yet, his personal hives were dying every year. On a 13-hour drive to California, he designed a hive that mimicked what he was seeing from colonies in walls.

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A one-box Mini Urban Hive on stand in a backyard.

The Mini Urban Hive is “the only hive in the country that is essentially training wheels for a beekeeper,” Chubak said.

Chubaks hives start at $75 for a one-box hive. A four-box hives costs $200. Chubak also supplies bees for $40 — and guarantees their success, as long as newbie beekeepers follow his formula. 

“There are a lot of beehives out there and every beehive has a regional advantage and a personal preference,” he said.

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Traditional Langstroth style beehives in a Colorado field. Image courtesy of Beth Conrey.

Beth Conrey, owner of Bee Squared Apiaries and Treasurer of the Pollinator Stewardship Council (PSC), a national pollinators advocacy group focused on national forage and pesticide policy, keeps the traditional Langstroth hives, which she likes for honey production.

But beekeeping is not for everyone, Conrey said. Her advice for those who aren’t committed to keeping bees: “Just plant flowers and put up native bee boxes.”

Conrey also advises against spraying pesticides.

“Plant flowers. Don’t spray them,” she said.

“If they still wanted to keep honey bees after a year or two of doing that, then they would need to make the time, find the money and take a class,” she said.

The recommended path to beekeeping is not widely agreed upon and Chubak’s design has its devout keepers.

“The Mini Urban Beehive is the only way to go,” Marlene Jacobsen Schnabel, a Salt Lake City beekeeper, said. “The bees are mellow, easy to inspect and manage.”

Schnabel appreciates the size.  

“The frames are small, lightweight and even my grandchildren are fascinated and able to manipulate the frames,” she added.

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For those who find owning a hive intimidating, there are still ways to “bee” an advocate, Chubak said.

He suggests planting a pollinator garden since many neighborhoods are full of non-flowering shrubs and grass. Bringing honey bees to the forefront of people’s mind by creating and selling bee-themed art and photography, supporting local honey and learning to cook with honey are other ways to support bees.

“Bee-ing a part of a solution is trying to figure out what is natural,” Chubak said.

 

Abuzz on campus: the University of Utah Beekeepers’ Association

Story by HENRY ALLEN

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s a quiet fall evening on the University of Utah campus, that is, aside from the constant buzzing. Resting underneath the windowsill of a dorm room in Shoreline 829 is a flat glass case filled with thousands of Apis mellifera, the European honeybee.

The glass case is an observation hive, and it is used by education-eager beekeepers to demonstrate the workings of a beehive. Behind the glass panels, sturdy wooden frame, and fine mesh, is a hive that writhes and squirms; a colony of constant churn. Frankly, it’s unnerving to have nearby for more than an hour, the low thrum of the hive rising and falling just enough so as not to become background noise. I was holding the case as a favor for Quaid Harding, president of the U’s Beekeepers’ Association, while he went to dinner.

Actual beekeepers don’t have a problem with the buzzing – Harding sleeps soundly with the hive next to his bed. “I like it,” he says, “it’s calming, kind of tranquil.” A senior at the U majoring in biology, Harding joined the club last fall, after completing his Global Environmental Issues community service hours with the club. Upon finishing, Harding wanted to do more – “I went up and talked to the club’s advisor, and asked ‘how do I get more involved?’” Harding says. “There wasn’t anybody taking initiative to set up meetings or recruit, so I offered to take on the leader’s position. We really needed more members.”

Harding has an infectious enthusiasm for bees, and has been an active and capable recruiter for the club. The observation hive was a boon: nothing attracts interest quite like walking around with several thousand bees.“The bees do the recruiting for me,” he says. Leota Coyne, a new member of the club, says the observation hive caught her interest immediately. “I saw the hive at Plaza Fest, I couldn’t just walk past that.”

The Association maintains four sets of hives on campus: one on the fourth-floor of the Union; another outside the Health Sciences Library; and two in the Marriott Library.  The hives are nestled in easily-seen but unobtrusive outdoor locations, carefully placed for both bee and human safety. “There are roughly four beehives at each spot, and each hive can house anywhere between 20,000 and 60,000 bees,” says Harding. The hives need regular inspections for bee health and maintenance checks, which Harding uses as field trips for the Association.

It begins with proper clothing – a full body beekeeping suit. The white canvas outfits look like space suits made out of leftover painters’ smocks, but thicker and with mesh face masks instead of helmets. Once suited up, the inspectors use coffee-tin-like smokers to puff smoke onto the hives. “The smoke simulates a forest fire” Harding says, and “the bees’ response is to gorge themselves on honey to protect it, which makes them docile and sleepy. It’s kinda like how people are tired after stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving dinner.”

Some weeks later I attended a honey-extraction event, where I met Amy Sibul, the club’s faculty advisor. “We use the honey to help fund the club,” says Sibul. “We sell bottles of honey, as well as tubes of lip balm made with the beeswax.” The events are open to the public, which the Beekeepers’ Association uses to teach people, both about the club and the bees. “The main importance is the awareness it raises,” Sibul says, “we need to be aware of the impacts humans have on honeybees.”

Beekeepers around the world have reported precipitous decline in their hive populations – a loss of around 30 percent annually. This phenomenon is referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and the full cause is still being investigated. What we know for sure, however, is that humans play a big part in the disorder through their use of pesticides. Some countries are making strides to curb their impact on bees – such as the European Union’s push to ban various bee-harming chemicals – but other countries are lagging behind. CCD is in an odd position: people acknowledge that it is a problem, but don’t understand the gravity of the issue.

One reason why CCD is so alarming is that bees are more than honey-makers – they play a huge role in pollinating the world’s agricultural industry: “One in every three of our bites of food depends on honeybees” says Sibul. The loss of honeybees would be a huge hit to the global food supply, and losing millions of agricultural jobs would be economically devastating.

Clubs like the Beekeepers’ Association are important for combating CCD.  The Association does its part to help stabilize the bee population by maintaining healthy hives and raising public awareness.  Every bit of progress, from the local level to the global level, helps keep the bees – and the world – buzzing.

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Organic Farmer Speaks to University Students

By Colton Stanger

David Bell, a certified organic farmer from Salt Lake City gave a talk at the University of Utah annex building last Tuesday on the process, as well as the challenges and benefits of organic gardening.

Bell Organic Farm, run by Bell and his family is located inside the Salt Lake City limits.  Along with growing many of the typical vegetables that can be found in a grocery store, David grows 35 variations of carrot, tomato, pepper, beats and peppers.

“I cut one open, and I feel like I’m holding a sunrise in one hand and a sunset in the other,” Bell said, referring to one of eight types of heirloom tomatoes he grows on his farm.

Bell grows everything naturally.  That means no pesticides or chemical treatments like nitrogen and growth hormone.  The food is all harvested by hand, and the land, which they lease is maintained to certified organic standards.

To be certified organic requires 50 to 80 hours of paperwork, constant essay writing on the planting, cultivating and harvesting process and personal inspection as mandated by Food and Drug Administration.  The fees required also take up about two percent of Bell’s annual revenue.

“I’m proud to be certified organic,” Bell said, grinning over his folded hands.

The organic process does require more labor, and Bell manages to get all he needs by letting people come out and work, paying them with portions of the food they help to grow.

“It’s amazing how many highly educated people we get who are either tired of being in an office, or don’t want to fill out another unanswered job application who come out and work under the sun, for food,” Bell said.

David sells most of his produce through his website http://bellorganic.com and a system called a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Basically a customer pays an annual fee, a little over four hundred dollars and during the summer and fall months customers go to a local delivery point and pick up fresh produce.

“We pick in the morning and deliver in the afternoon. I don’t see it getting any fresher than that,” Bell said.

Most of the attendees of the lecture were members of the university’s student organization SPEAK (Students Promoting Eating disorder Awareness Knowledge).  SPEAK is an organization dedicated to a healthier more environmentally friendly way of life and works to spread awareness about things like local farming and organic living.

“It’s amazing that such fresh produce is available at such reasonable prices,” said Allison Steward after the lecture, a grad student in health science and a member of SPEAK.  “With a lot of stuff at the store you can’t know what you’re eating but here you do.  And if you have any doubts you can go there and grow it yourself.”

“I think it’s a cool way to get healthy food and a good sense of community,” said Megan Madsen, a social work major at the university and also a member of SPEAK.

“Farming is hard, but its worth it when you look at a piece of food and say, ‘I made that.’  It makes me feel like I contribute,” Bell said.

Bell Organic delivers from late March, early April all of the way into November.  They have pick up locations in Salt Lake City, Park City and many more between there and South Jordan.  For more information on the farm and its process, or to sign up for the CSA go to http://bellorganic.com.

“Shakeout” Attempts to Prepare Utahns for the Worst

by Mark LeBaron

SALT LAKE CITY- “The Great Utah ShakeOut” was not an ice cream eating festival. It wasn’t the latest dance craze either. It was a statewide earthquake drill that was held on April 17.

Many people participated throughout the state at exactly 10:15 am at schools, work and home by dropping under the nearest table or desk and holding on for one minute. Others evacuated their building following the drill.

Bradley Hunsaker, an atmospheric science major at the University of Utah participated, but didn’t think it was worth the effort to have the drill.

“I didn’t really see much point to the drill. It seemed like it was just to set a record for people participating.” Said Hunsaker.

Some students were aware of the test, but didn’t participate.

“Our class was scheduled to take a test. We had been told to ignore any firefighters and just take the test. The rest of the department left, so we were alone in our little room,” said Joe Bolke, a material science and engineering major at the University of Utah. “Nobody got under the desk, or went to rendezvous.”

Joe had been receiving the emails leading up to the drill, however, and felt prepared in case a real earthquake occurred.

Jared Evans, who works in downtown Salt Lake, didn’t participate in the drill either, but only because his work didn’t push to do it.

“I didn’t even know about it until right before it took place. I saw it on KSL and that is when I found out it was happening.” Said Jared. “The building we work in is really old, so it would actually be beneficial to have a fire and earthquake drill to make sure we make it out ok.”

Most of Utah’s residents live along the Wasatch Fault, which runs from the bottom to the top of Utah. According to the Utah Geological Survey, an earthquake generated from the fault is 50 to 100 years overdue. They estimate that the fault shifts every 350-400 years, and the last earthquake was 500 years ago.

According to the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, if a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred, approximately 7,600 people would die and $18 billion would be lost to physical damage and loss of jobs and economic activity.

Preparation for an earthquake is key to surviving potentially devastating damage. Water, food and gas may be unavailable, as well as cell phones, Internet and electricity.

Be Ready Utah, the State’s emergency preparedness campaign, urges all households to have non-perishable food storage of at least three days per person, in case of emergency. Other things to prepare are implementing an evacuation plan and having an emergency kit. Information for these and other useful tips can be found at http://beready.utah.gov/beready/index.html.

The ShakeOut has been held at other places around the United States and the World, like California, British Columbia, Canada and Tokyo, Japan. The next shakeout is set to occur on September 26th of this year, in New Zealand. To find out more information on the shakeouts, visit http://www.shakeout.org.

Scientists Warn Northern Europe Could Become Uninhabitable In The Next Hundred Years

By: Bradley Hunsaker

This last winter brought record low temperatures and early freezes in much of northern Europe killing close to 80 people.  Even more people had to be evacuated, mostly airlifted, from their homes due to record snowfalls and temperatures falling below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, making the area unlivable.

Scientists have documented temperatures as the lowest in over 100 years and most are saying this is not the last of the brutal winters for that region.

“No, this is only the start,” said Jay Mace, a climate change professor at the University of Utah. “Unfortunately this pattern is what scientists have been predicting would happen for some time now and it is only going to get worse.”

The temperature shifts are occurring because of a change in the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation or AMOC, responsible for bringing warm air to parts of northern Europe that on the other side of the hemisphere are seen as uninhabitable.  The AMOC is a global current that is driven by the heat and water vapor exchanged to cold dry air masses from North America.  Cold, salty water tends to be denser than regular water, causing it to sink in the ocean.  The coldest and saltiest waters are formed in the North Atlantic where the current gets most of its drive.

The problem we are seeing, explains Jay, is that the glacier ice melting in the ocean from Greenland and the arctic is bringing in too much fresh water to the current, causing the flow that thrives on salt water to slowly shut down.  When the current shuts down, warm air can no longer be circulated to places like northern Europe.

If the current does shut down, most of northern Europe from Bulgaria to Denmark and especially places in the north like Russia and Sweden will become frozen over and too cold for any civilization to thrive.

Last time the world saw an event like this was when Lake Agassiz which used to be located in North America drained into the Atlantic dumping fresh water into the ocean.  This event shut down the current for two millennia causing a return to ice in the northern hemisphere causing most of what we see today in places like the Yukon in northern Canada.

Even though scientists have been studying events like this very little is known about the current and how to help it.  Most people are unaware of what is actually causing these global freezes and not much is being done to help it.

“I don’t know what is causing these hot and cold temperatures around the world,” said Liz Griggs, master’s student studying piano performance at the U. “I can say it is all about global warming but then I would just be saying what I have heard from the news.  I can’t really say one way or another what is causing this and how to help.”

Even those studying climate change and weather have very little knowledge exactly how the current works.

“It is concerning to have a natural event that we have no control over and we have very little understanding on what impact we really have on it and what we can do about it,” said Scott Elkins, who is pursuing an atmospheric science minor at the U.   “It is sad that we have to be aware of this event yet have little understanding what to do about it.”

Despite the lack of understanding of the current from the general public, Climatologists have been working hard to understand it and try and see what can be done to reverse the change before it becomes too late.

“Oh, there is no doubt about it,” said Jay, “If trends continue how they are and glacier waters keeps flowing into the AMOC, the current will shut down in a few hundred years and we will see an end to life in a lot of places until it can get started again.  And by the time that happens the world will have already undergone another major climate shift.”

Exhibit at the U. Features Activist Edward Abbey

by Mark LeBaron

In the end, Utah beat Stanford.

Not on the field, the court or the pitch, but on Eric Hvolboll’s list. Hvolboll, a lawyer and resident of California, collected many works of the activist-writer, Edward Abbey. Eventually, Hvolboll decided to donate his collection to either the University of Utah or Stanford. Ultimately, the U. won.

Abbey, who was born in Pennsylvania, authored 21 books. He spent most of his adult life working, traveling and living in the American Southwest. Two of his most famous books are “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and “Desert Solitaire”. Considered to be the pioneer of the environmental movement, Abbey worked hard to protect the land he grew to love.

A presentation to celebrate the collection took place on Sunday, in the Gould Auditorium in the Marriott Library on the campus of the University of Utah. Ken Sanders, a resident of Salt Lake and rare book collector, spoke about Abbey and his effect on environmental issues today.

“The majority of the traditional student body at this and other universities were not yet born on this planet when Abbey died,” said Sanders. “Ed Abbey still lives. Almost all 21 books he wrote during his lifetime are still available to be read.”

Tyson Gibb, a senior studying new media, is an example of whom Sanders was describing.

“I actually read Desert Solitaire,” said Gibb. “The way he talked and described things, his writing style is very abrasive.”

Gibb saw Abbey as a man who is looked up to for many people as someone who laid a foundation for the environmental movement, impacting people like local activist Tim DeChristopher.

In 2008, DeChristopher protested land sold by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by bidding on 14 parcels of land in Salt Lake City. After being arrested and put on trial, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison, where he is currently. Gibb was in attendance of a protest following the sentencing and indicated his support for DeChristopher.

“I think Tim [DeChristopher] is a new American hero,” said Sanders near the end of his lecture.

After the presentation, the audience was invited to go up to the collection on the fourth floor of the Marriott Library.

In the end, the main motivation for Hvolboll is for the collection to open peoples’ eyes to environmental issues in Utah’s wilderness.

“There was one thing I failed to mention in my remarks earlier,” Hvolboll said. “My goal is for other people to see it as a spur [for environmental awareness],” he said.

The collection is entitled, “Brave Cowboy: An Edward Abbey Retrospective” and is in the Special Collections Gallery in the Marriott Library. It is free and open to the public until April 27th. Additional information can be found by visiting http://bit.ly/xn3Dks.

“We are very excited to house the fine work of Ed Abbey,” said Greg Thompson, Associate Dean of the Special Collections at the Marriott Library. “It is a collection we’re proud to have at the University.”

Marriot Library Celebrates The Life Of Edward Abbey

By: Bradley Hunsaker

An audience of about 150 people packed the Gould Auditorium in the Marriot library Sunday to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Edward Abbey, author of “Desert Solitaire” and “The Monkey Wrench Gang.”

“I haven’t read many of Abbey’s works,” said Jordan Ripplenger, an environmental studies major at the University of Utah. “But he seemed like he lived an interesting life.  Almost like a modern day Thoreau.”

The event’s main purpose was to open up a new exhibit dedicated to Edward Abbey.  The exhibit will hold many of Abbey’s works including rare first-edition publications donated by Eric Hvolboll.  Hvolboll donated most of the collection to the library back in 2008.  Through a 30-year period he has looked for rare Abbey works wherever he could find them.  He told the audience he became addicted to Abbey’s work after reading a proof for “Desert Solitaire” and seeing how much was removed before the book was published.

Hvolboll told the audience he was happy to find a resting place for the collection.  He talked about how he looked into many Universities such as the University of Arizona and Stanford before deciding that the University of Utah was the place for this collection to be.  Hvolboll wasn’t the only person happy to see his collection put to good use.

“This is the best print collection in the whole area,” said Gregory Thompson, director of Special Collections here in Utah. “We now have the ability to study Ed’s writings including a lot of his non-published works.  It will also be important in bringing scholarship opportunities and the students getting educated in Abbey’s works.”

The opening of the exhibit was kicked off by a speech given by a long-time friend of Abbey’s, Ken Sanders.  Sanders is a rare book collector and has worked with Abbey on many different occasions.  Most of Sanders’ presentation came from Eric Temple’s documentary “Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness.”  The presentation included a lot of audio clips from Abbey himself explaining points of his life and his works.

“My point here today is to let us see Edward Abbey and hear Edward Abbey.  Ed didn’t need anyone to speak for him and 22 years after his death he still doesn’t,” said Sanders at the start of the presentation.

Sanders wanted to emphasize to the audience that Abbey’s works live on and should inspire people to act on a lot of the environmental issues today.  He gave the specific example of legislatures planning on taking back 30 million acres of federal lands within the state and using them for exploration, energy and greed.

Although Abbey never considered himself a naturalist, nor did he even know what a naturalist was, through his works he inspired environmental extremist groups such as Earth First.  He never really condoned the extreme ways of bringing environmental reform but he always emphasized people standing for the cause of the wild.

“The wilderness needs no defense!  Only defenders,” said Abbey in one of the audio clips during the presentation.

Albeit Sanders said he and Abbey did acknowledge the need for exploration, gas, oil and energy, he called it a trade-off for the precious land that is left.  He warned the audience to find the balance between consumption and the wilderness remaining before we consume too much.

“As Ed said, ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell,’” said Sanders.

During his life Abbey wrote more than 23 books of both fiction and non-fiction.  His most famous is “Desert Solitaire” which documents his life as a park ranger in Moab’s Arches National Monument.  The book is about his experiences and thoughts during that time, mirroring Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.”

At the time Abbey’s works starting getting popular he said he only had one main goal when it came to his writing, “I want to write one good book if possible,” said Abbey. “I’m not trying to do anything more than that.”

The exhibit, “Brave Cowboy: An Edward Abbey Retrospective,” opened to the public Sunday and will remain open until April 27.  The exhibit can be found on the fourth floor of the Marriot Library.  Features include signed copies of Abbey’s works, his contracts and correspondence with his publishers and other documents about Abbey’s life.

Environmentalists celebrate the legacy of the late Edward Abbey

By. R. Ammon Ayres

SALT LAKE CITY- The author of popular radical environmental novels was remembered thanks to the generous donations Calif. attorney Eric Hvolboll.

Last Sunday afternoon in the University of Utah’s Marriot Library, former appraiser for the popular television program “Antiques Roadshow” and book collector Ken Sanders hosted a presentation for the late author Edward Abbey. This celebration preceded the opening of an exhibit of a historical collection of Abbey’s autographed books, contracts, movie posters, essays and just about everything with Abbey’s name on it. The many supporters that showed, both old and young, came to remember the author and sustain his environmental ideals.

“Ed Abbey still lives… Abbey is selling books better than ever now that he’s dead,” said Sanders. Sanders said Abbey’s books are an important part of history, the radical words in his novels drive his ongoing growing fandom towards going green and advocating the environment to preserve the earth and its beauty.

“I believe Ed Abbey’s environmental ideals are relevant more than ever today,” said a friend of Sanders and attendant John Dalton.

“The Wilderness needs no defense, only defenders,” said Sanders quoting Abbey. Sanders quoted Abbey’s humorous yet serious view on the environment, allowing the late Abbey to speak for himself and resonate his beliefs.

Abbey believed in enjoying his problems, but also said, “I enjoy my enemies problems too,” said Sanders quoting Abbey. Sanders used this occasion of celebration to remember Abbey and create awareness of the danger the environment is facing.

Sanders proclaimed the recently sentenced Tim DeChristopher as an environmental hero. DeChristopher was found guilty when tried in federal court for bidding on public land that he couldn’t pay for, to protect it from the oil companies.

Dalton had a different point of view on whether DeChristopher was a hero not. “Whether Tim is a hero or not, is debatable. Being a lawyer, I believe there are better ways to protect the environment, especially through the legal system,” said Dalton.

“What he had to say in both his fiction, and essays resonate… people still see his beliefs as relevant, which is key,” said Associate Dean of Special Collections Greg Thompson when asked why Abbey was an important figure to be remembered.

Thompson was hopeful that the ultimate outcome of the presentation would “help the public understand the importance of research libraries, and collecting pieces to further environmental movements and bring attention to Ed’s books.”

Hvolboll’s donation to the University of Utah was well received by those who came to the program. Thompson believed that Abbey’s collection would bring many who have yet to read one of Abbey’s classic novels to an understanding of why the environment is such an important asset, and why extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve the earth. The actions to take care of the environment must be drastic to make the world a better place for tomorrow, according to Sanders.

“I have yet to read any of Ed’s books, but I’m excited to see what all the hype is about,” said attendant Rosa, (who wishes to have her full name withheld).

“I’m most interested in discovering how Ed Abbey writes his books,” said Rosa.

Abbey’s legacy and confidence about the environment has made an incredible effect with his ecological devout followers, and Abbey continues to find new fans, which share the same ideals. The Edward Abbey collection will be on display all month.