Vicki Bennett - Director of Sustainability at Salt Lake City
Vicki Bennett is the Sustainability Director for Salt Lake City, working with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable community. She holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the University of Utah.
Vicki’s experience includes sustainability program management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, energy policy, food security, waste diversion and environmental compliance. She has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program for 17 years, which has integrated sustainability policies throughout the governmental operations and Salt Lake City as a whole. She is founding member of both the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Utah Climate Action Network.
Vicki Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
Cities collaborating with energy utilities to meet renewable energy goals
Leading local food policies and programs in communities
Engaging businesses in sustainability
Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
Vicki's Final Five Question Responses:
What is one piece of advice you'd give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?
I think, especially for younger sustainability professionals, understand that there are a lot of ways to get into the field. You may be wanting to do the technical carbon accounting and working on renewable energy issues. You might be the communications person. You might be looking at it from a broader environmental point of view. You need to approach it in a way that it's what you really love. Just go out, get involved and you'll find the path into the field. It doesn't have to be any one direct method.
What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?
I'm really excited about the different ways that we're looking at renewable energy. I know it's growing fast. When we first set our renewable energy goals here in the city, I remember we were talking about having 10 megawatts and we thought that was a really exciting number. Now we're already at the gigawatts stage in the state and it's growing fast. And I think that it's something that is going to be more and more integrated and help us over the hump with the reducing our use of fossil fuels.
What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?
Well, we all need to have a sense of humor and my favorite book is the Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. It is one of the very first books from many years ago, which had some of the environmental terrorists. It just makes me smile to think that it goes back that far.
What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?
It gets back to all of our networks. If I need something, I go to the sustainability directors network (USDN) or I go to one of our local networks, be it the Climate Action Network or others. We also have a group that works on air quality. Sustainability is something that there's more and more written about it, but it's changing so fast and things are moving so quickly. What really counts is having the people that you can turn to when you need.
Where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Salt Lake City.
Our website is slcgreen.com and everything is there.