Tag Archives: Utah

Utah high school student initiative on climate change

On September 15th and 16th , 2017 the inaugural Utah Youth Environmental Summit (UYES) was held at Alta Ski Resort, near Salt Lake City, Utah. UYES was created to provide a space for environmentally conscious Utah youth to network and gain the skills needed to become leaders for statewide environmental justice and sustainability efforts. Workshops, guest speakers, and outdoor activities were held to achieve these goals. Piper Christian and Elizabeth Hansen, students from Logan High School, Logan City, Utah along with Mishka Banuri, West High student school student, Salt Lake City, Utah planned this event in order to create a statewide environmental youth network. As a group of youth leaders who are environmentally conscious and have the contacts and resources to do projects in their community, they would like to be mobilized for larger campaigns such as the Student Climate Resolution.

From left to right: Piper Christian, Genesis Wardle, Kiyan Banuri, Josh Velazquez, Keely Toledo, and Kai Torrens at the Utah People’s Climate March on April 29th, 2017.

The Student Climate Resolution was initiated by several students including Piper Christian. In December of 2015, as a high school sophomore, she attended the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. She learned that ordinary people have the capacity to create extraordinary change in their communities. As she wrote in her article in the local media outlet, “We all have unique skill sets and perspectives to contribute to the climate movement, and when each of us takes action at the local level, our collective impacts can have a global reach. With this inspiration, I returned to Utah. I spoke with my high school environmental club, the Logan Environmental Action Force, about ways we could address environmental threats within Utah. While we were only a handful of students at that time, we shared an ambitious dream: to introduce a Resolution on Climate Change to the Utah State Legislature”. (link)

The Student Climate Resolution was based on pre-existing resolutions in Salt Lake CIty and Park City and outlines steps that the state will aim to take in order to combat the effects of climate change. Piper and her peers drafted a Clean Air and Climate Change Resolution to introduce to the local city council in Logan, Utah. To their surprise, Logan City Council passed the Resolution 16-06 unanimously on February 16th, 2016. (link)

As the next step, high school students introduced Climate Change Resolution at the Utah State Capitol. When they spoke with 28 legislators about the actions communities were taking to address climate change and encouraged them to sponsor their resolution, one of them, State Senator Jim Dabakis, became co-sponsor. They attracted national attention and students have contacted them from Massachusetts, Georgia, and Arizona to learn how they can take on similar initiatives. They circulated a petition in support of the resolution, that now it has over 2,000 signatures, demonstrating that Utahns care about climate action. Unfortunately, their resolution was not passed by the State Senate. But most importantly, they helped unite a coalition of students from around the state who care about environmental protection. (link)

As a result the first ever Utah Youth Environmental Summit was organized to rally students to be more active stewards of the earth.  The Summit began on Friday afternoon and started with some icebreaker activities, which were followed by a catered dinner. After dinner a hybrid Beehive Collective presentation was given by Will Monger and Emily Hornback. The Beehive Collective tells environmental justice stories through art. The presentation was based on this artwork depicting the rise and fall of coal mining in Appalachia. They related this issue back to similar issues in Utah like the Black Mesa Mine.

Session at Utah Youth Environmental Summit

Following this presentation, students had the opportunity to go on a stargazing night hike. Temperatures were at or below freezing, but students bundled up and braved the cold. Emma Larese-Casanova, an Logan High School student who attended the summit said, “I love stargazing!”

Early morning hike at the Utah Youth Environmental Summit

On Saturday morning, September 16th, 2017 many students got up before sunrise to go on a sunrise hike. The morning continued with an environmental club basics workshop followed by a spectrogram activity and a community organizing workshop. Non-profits and college campuses then had a tabling event which allowed students to talk to potential colleges about environmental involvement opportunities and learn more about the work that non-profits around the state have done. The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, the Audubon Society, and Yellowstone to Uintah Connection sent representatives to inform students about the work that their organizations are doing. Utah State University, Weber State, the University of Utah, Westminster, Salt Lake Community College, and Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Office for Global Engagement all attended and talked about opportunities for their students to get involved with environmental issues at the college level. Representative of Utah Valley University, let students know about opportunities to be involved with the United Nation via the Utah International Mountains Forum (utahimf.org) and the international Women of the Mountains conferences, hosted by UVU on regular basis depending on the availability of funds.  (womenofthemountains.org). Students were also thrilled to be among the contributors to the United Nations International Mountain Day celebration which usually is commemorated on December 11th every year. This year IMD theme is “Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.”

Students also had the opportunity to work with their schools to decide on a project to work on during the year. Project ideas ranged from guerilla gardening to starting a composting program at school. The resolution will be re-introduced at the next State Government session.

Carlos Alarco, UIMF

2016 United Nations International Mountain Day Celebration at Utah Valley University

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On December 2, 2016, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) will celebrate International Mountain Day (IMD), established by the United Nations in 2003. UVU students will host the annual IMD celebration for the sixth time one week before December 11, which is the official date established by the UN for the IMD celebration, because of the coincidence of that date and the beginning of final examinations at the university. As a keynote presenter, they will host Ms. Mehak, director of the documentary “Daughter of Kalash,” as a follow up to the Women of the Mountains Conference (WOMC) under the umbrella of the UN Mountain Partnership (MP) held at UVU on October 7-9, 2015. WOMC was highlighted in the 2015 Annual Report of the MP as successfully hosted for the first time by students (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5490e.pdf, PP. 3, 13, 39). Ms. Mehak was not able to participate at the WOMC last year, therefore students raised funds to bring a foreign dignitary to Utah for the 2016 IMD commemoration.

The main theme for this year’s IMD is Mountain Cultures: Celebrating Diversity and Strengthening Identity.”

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Preliminary agenda of the 2016 IMD:

  1. Greetings from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on the occasion of the IMD.
  2. Report about major initiatives and activities of UVU students during 2016 to advocate the sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations in the State of Utah and North America, Tony Medina, President, UIMF.
  3. Presentation of Certificates for contribution to the SMD advocacy during 2016 to the faculty, students, and community representatives.
  4. Presentation of the ethnographic field work in Congo, “Mountains are not only geography, but also culture!” Jacques Baraketse, Sam Kabwika and Dr. Patience Kabamba, Utah Valley University.
  5. Keynote presentation of Ms. Mehak Asad, Assistant Director, GEO TV in Pakistan and director of the documentary film “Daughter of Kalash.” (https://vimeo.com/140086936)   Asad will speak about her film and the issues facing the Kalash people.

In February of 2014, the New York Times published an article highlighting the unique lineage of the small and reclusive Kalash tribe. It would not be a surprise to many in their community if this is still the first time you have heard of them. As one of Pakistan’s smallest and most unique religious communities, they have faced centuries of hardships and possible extinction of their ways and customs. And while they have begun to rebound slightly, they still face many contemporary issues to maintain their unique way of life.

While their exact etymology is still somewhat of a mystery, a team of scientists, led by Simon Myers of Oxford University, have found a more recognized genome mixed into the Kalash people’s DNA. “Another mixing event is the injection of European-type DNA into the Kalash, a people of Pakistan, at some time between 990 and 210 B.C. This could reflect the invasion of India by Alexander the Great in 326 B.C. The Kalash claim to be descended from Alexander’s soldiers, as do several other groups in the region (Wade, Nicholas, “Tracing ancestry, researchers produce a genetic atlas of human mixing events,” The New York Times, (NY: NY, Feb. 13, 2014.).” With dwindling numbers and a rugged and remote area of the world they call home, it is no wonder they struggle to keep their beliefs and customs relevant to their youth.

Due their homeland’s placement on the map, they struggle continuously to fend off both Islamic extremists and governmental mandates. They have continuously been attacked by proselyting Muslim militants, the Afghani Taliban, and Pakistani mandates for conversion to Islam in the 1970s. Additionally, their polytheistic religious beliefs have fueled a rumor that they possess “immortality.” This has led to several attacks on their villages by the surrounding Muslim community.

With a generous count of just over 3,000 people who claim the Kalash faith, their religion is a blend of ancient Hindu, pre-Islamic Nuristan, and contain many of the Indo-Iranian myths, rituals, and aspects of their ancient society including dress, diet, and customs. To combat their dwindling numbers, their village will shun a Muslim convert to both deter others from converting to Islam, and keep their blood line “pure.” As one village leader put it, “If any Kalash converts to Islam, they cannot live among us anymore. We keep our identity strong (Raffaele, Paul, Smithsonian Jan. 2007).”

  1. Screening of the documentary.
  2. Q&A with Ms. Mehak Asad
  3. Reception

The event will be held in the Utah Valley University’s Library room LI 120 from 2 PM to 7 PM.

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HOST OF THE 2016 IMD CELEBRATION

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www.utahimf.org;

SPONSORS OF THE 2016 IMD CELEBRATION

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For more information, please feel free to contact the president of the UIMF, Tony Medina, at tony.h.medina@gmail.com.

Information on previous International Mountain Day celebrations can be found here.

Tony Medina, President of UIMF and Deann Torsak, Executive Secretary of the 2015 Women of the Mountains Conference

2015 INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN DAY CELEBRATION IN UTAH

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Poster of the 2015 IMD Celebration

On Friday December 4th 2015, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), students, faculty, community members and friends, gathered at the Gould Auditorium in the University of Utah’s Marriott Library to celebrate International Mountain Day (IMD). This event has been celebrated in Utah every year since 2010 as part of continual joint effort from all interested institutions and individuals to promote the Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations across the state of Utah. Another important goal of that event is to raise an awareness among different communities in Utah about importance to share best examples and experiences in SMD across the state with mountain communities globally.

In general IMD celebrations coordinated by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, which is part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. Contribution to the event and its hosting on a local level in Utah was done before by a number of institutions and NGOs in the State of Utah, members of the Mountain Partnership, including Utah Valley University, City of Orem, Gruppman International Music Institute.

With this in mind and as part of the recommendations adopted in the final document of the Fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference (October 7-9, 2015), the UIMF has collaborated with the University of Utah (UofU) to engage all interested institutions at UofU and Salt Lake City area and to host IMD 2015 at the Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium. Thus, it was the first time the event was hosted outside the campus of Utah Valley University. Support for the event was provided by a number of organizations from Greater Salt Lake area, including the Marriott Library at University of Utah, which created posters to promote the event among other activities.

The theme of this year’s event was “Promoting Mountain Products for better livelihoods” and the program included many organizations local to this mountain city that traditionally provide services for the local community. To be inclusive to the need of so many different organizations, organizers of the IMD celebration broadened the scope of the event and included Community Services as products for better livelihoods. While any discussion of mountains regions needs to include the people and services that reside there, agenda of the event included presentations from eight local groups and a keynote speaker as a highlight of the IMD 2015. Several organizations also presented their products and services on specially arranged tables to the people in the audience.

The event started with refreshments and time allowing for participants and visitors to speak with the various organizations like Onchenda Open Global Group, Edible Campus Gardens, Americorps and Norwex, the Bennion Community Service Center and Office of Sustainability at the UofU. Organizations in presence there were only a small percentage of the many groups that people can choose to become involved with to support sustainability and community goals. Some of these groups also presented that evening were able to share their goals and ideas with all those in the audience.

The formal program began with a welcome by Tony, Medina, President of UIMF and two of us, with explaining goals of the IMD2015 celebrations and reading greetings from institutions, members of MP from Utah, in North America and from overseas: the Mountain Institute, Washington, D.C., International University of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, city of Orem, Utah, Gruppman International Music Institute, Provo, Utah and others.     To showcase some of the many young talents the local community has to offer, the evening included a musical performance by the students of Pacific Heritage Academy of Rose Park, Utah, “We are Friends.” The Pacific Heritage Academy is a public charter school authorized by the Utah State Board of Education.

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A musical performance by the students of Pacific Heritage Academy of Rose Park, Utah.

The first presentation was made by Colleen Grant Dick from Onchenda Open Global Food Cooperative. She spoke about Agriculture in the Mountains and how biodiversity and going with the flow of nature will ensure mountain communities survival and sustainability. Onchenda is a start-up social enterprise with the goal of ending world hunger by empowering local farmers, urban/suburban and rural families, would-be edible horticulturalists, and anyone else interested in growing/raising their own organic food and selling the surplus through local online food webs.

The University of Utah supported the event well, with half of the presentations being given by organizations on campus as well as student groups. The first of these groups to present was the University of Utah’s Sustainability Office. Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Marykate Glenn and Alya Hussain presentation was titled “Sustainability Office: What’s Our Product? Engagement” and they talked about the different programs of their office to promote sustainability. Some of these programs include: Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF), Student Energy Ambassadors, U of U Farmers Market and the Edible Campus Gardens. The Edible Campus Gardens teaches students how to create a sustainable food cycle by growing and then selling organic produce on campus. It is also a place where students and community members can learn about food self-sufficiency.

Next presenters, Julia Maciunas and Sam from the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a student group from the University of Utah, talked about the importance of recovering food to feed people in need. The FRN is partnered with Chartwells Dining Services, which provides food services across campus, to receive surplus food donations. The food is then donated to local food pantries in the Salt Lake Valley. Gina Cornia from Utahn’s Against Hunger (UaH) a local food policy and advocacy group spoke about the need to increase access to food through advocacy, outreach and education. Since 1981 UaH has been working to eliminate hunger in Utah.

Ryan Pleune from the Pacific Heritage Academy spoke about the school’s use of Expeditionary Learning as a teaching model as well as social studies and Pacific Islander cultures in order to teach the Utah Core Curriculum. Knowledge of one’s culture is an important aspect of sustainability as it draws on traditions of respect for the mountains, land and sea that are used by all.

Roger Crandall, Brand Ambassador for the Transit Solar Car “Elf”, shared ersonal experience of owning such car in Salt Lake City. This vehicle runs on solar, lithium batteries to power the small electric motor and peddle power. This type of transport causes zero emission, is easy to drive and presents a healthy way of driving for communities and the environment.

Jennifer Jones from the Lowell Benin Community Service Center, another organization from the University of Utah, spoke about the many ways the center involves students in the community activities, and through the partnerships with local community organizations in particular. The Center also is looking for additional organizations that would be interested in partnering with them to provide students, and the University community, different opportunities to build a better society. Sawson Gholami from the Real Food Challenge, another student group based at the University of Utah, spoke about the importance of food justice. The Real Food Challenge is tied to a national movement that aims to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms/factory foods and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources – “real food”.

The keynote presentation of the 2015 IMD celebration was made by Jason Singer Smith, professional climber, speaker and writer. He spoke about his love of the mountains and the importance of nature to our wellbeing. During the main part of his presentation Jason told the story of his abduction by militant group, part of Al-Qaeda in Central Asia, and Kyrgyzstan in particular and how he, and his partners, were able to survive as hostages, escape from captivity and how that changed him immensely. During his time in captivity he learned how trust can be an important aspect of any relationship and how this can be used to escape from potentially dangerous and life threatening situations.

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(L to R) Tony Medina, President of UIMF presents certificate to Jason Singer Smith, professional climber, speaker and writer.

The evening ended with presenting of certificates from the Mountain Partnership to individuals in the audience who contributed to the Fourth International Women of the Mountains conference in October 2015 at UVU. Overall this event was a success in engaging new institutions across the state of Utah by members of the UIMF in raising an awareness and advocacy of the sustainable mountain development agenda. As one of the outcomes, some NGOs in attendance consider the opportunity of joining the Mountain Partnership and continue working towards sustainable mountain development. Click here for more information.

 Hosts of the IMD 2015 at University of Utah: Carlos Alarco, University of Utah Liaison, at UIMF and Kamaile Tripp, Salt Lake City Liaison at UIMF

International Mountain Day 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Utah Valley University Science Center Auditorium.

On behalf of the United Nations-affiliated Mountain Partnership Members from the state of Utah and Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, we have the special pleasure to invite you to our gathering commemorating the 10th anniversary of the United Nations announced “International Year of the Mountains (IYM)” in 2002.

Our event will be held during UN officially declared “International Mountain Day (IMD),” where we will recognize many of the major contributions from the state of Utah to the global mountain agenda for the year 2012. Recognition will include: participating of the official Utah delegation at historic United Nations RIO+20 Conference in Rio, Brazil from June 18-21, 2012, the hosting of the third Women of the Mountains conference in Puno, Peru, from June 12-14, 2012, and the hosting of a special workshop and essay contest for Utah high school students on the topic of sustainable energy by UVU students. All of these events have made a difference in the lives of mountain communities and were recognized by the international community and the United Nations Mountain Partnership during 2012.

13-11-22-4-From-MP-WelcomeletterUIMF2012Letter from Thomas Hofer – Mountain Partnership

13-11-22-1-IMD-2012-Poster-FINALEvent Poster

 

Microsoft Word - 13-11-22-5-Letter-From-JP.docLetter from Jane Pratt

 

13-11-22-3-From-JG-IMDF-PROGRAMEvent Program

13-11-22-2-PRPress Release Document

Utah International Mountain Forum is a coalition of students clubs at Utah Valley University; Utah Valley University is a member of the Mountain Partnership since 2006; The Mountain Partnership is a United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world.

We look forward to seeing you there! Please RSVP to Jordan Giles @ jordan.giles03@gmail.com