Five Ways You Can Conserve


(Photo by Conor Barry)

(Photo by Conor Barry)
(Photo by Conor Barry)

Conservation isn’t only for sandal-wearing tree huggers. It’s for the everyday person who enjoys living in a place as beautiful as Utah. We have an incredibly diverse landscape that merits our protection. Damaging the environment doesn’t only upset the nature lovers, it hurts our economy and our health. It’s in our best interest to throw nature a bone. So here are five easy ways you can help in the conservation cause:
1. Campers and Hikers
Fact: getting outdoors is good for the soul — look it up. But it’s hard to enjoy the outdoors when they have been turned into high-end cabins and oil drilling operations. Our national parks are a great way to get outdoors and support conservation and preservation. Visit them, and make sure to be a responsible visitor by following the guidelines set by the rangers. Those regulations are in place to keep you and the environment safe. Organizations such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Save Our Canyons, HawkWatch International, Great Salt Lake Audubon, Sierra Club, and Swaner EcoCenter, among others, are excellent groups dedicated to protecting the natural world around us. Support them and their causes. Donate money or time, if you can. These organizations can do a lot of good in our community.
2. Air-Breathers
We all know that air quality in the Salt Lake Valley sucks, especially in winter. Those nasty inversions stick around for weeks. Every breath of that smog feels like it’s taking hours off of your life. Where does most of that smog come from? Cars. Ditch your Hummer for a revolutionary 19th century invention: the bicycle. Buy a bus pass, walk, scoot, or skate, if you have to. It may not seem like it will make a difference, but collectively, if we all make the change, air quality will improve and you can venture back outside without a respirator.
3. Skiers
Like to ski or board? Who doesn’t. With global climate change, we will most likely get less snow in the Wasatch Range. You can’t have the greatest snow on earth without any snowfall, and no one likes making their turns on mud and slush. On average, global temps have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius in the past 250 years. You know what’s not good for snow? Warmer temperatures. Funny thing about water: the frozen, white, fluffy kind melts above 0 degrees Celsius. Increases in global temperature have been linked to a rise in greenhouse gases. That means you should try to reduce your CO2 emissions by riding the bus to the resorts or at least carpooling.
4. Hunters and Fishers
Global climate change and habitat fragmentation and destruction put some serious stress on local wildlife. That includes big game like deer and elk and the trout in our streams. Want to make sure you are able to get a tag next season? Want to keep landing lunkers? Make sure to hunt and fish according to the regulations set by the Division of Wildlife Resources. Never take more than your limit. Try to make as little of an impact on the environment as possible when you’re out. That means don’t leave fish guts on the shore. Study up on your “Leave No Trace” skills. Join local conservation groups, and do your part to minimize your carbon footprint.
5. Water-Users
With a one-day exception, it has been more than 50 years since the Colorado River has met the sea. We draw up every last drop of the river, with most of this water going to agriculture, industry, and keeping our front lawns green. Utah is among the highest water-users per capita in the country, yet we live in a desert. Why don’t we just accept this fact and stop trying to turn Utah into a deciduous forest? Conserving water is probably the easiest change to make in your lifestyle. Repair leaks, buy water-efficient toilets and showerheads, water your lawn at night and, most of all, be aware of your water use. It’s as easy as looking at your water bill to know just how much you are using. Make it a game to use less water this month than you did the month prior.
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