Dave Gates

If you said “Salt Lake City” during a game of free association, not too many folks would shout “sustainability” back at you. Unless they’ve spent some time in the burg of 200,000, you’d probably hear a variation on one of three things: Mormons, snow, or sobriety.

The Mormons part is true — this is their promised land and world headquarters — but the city’s politics are decidedly progressive, never mind that over 70 percent of Utah went to Mitt Romney. “Those of us who live here in the city are almost responding to the rest of the state being so conservative,” says Salt Lake’s sustainability chief, Vicki Bennett. The snow? That’s real, too, but wait 40 years — the climate will take care of that. As for the dearth of alcohol, Bennett assures us, “Yeah, you can get a drink.”