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Lake Effect: 'Water to Survive/Save the Great Salt Lake'

A photo of Great Salt Lake, with a person holding their hands up and looking to their left. Glowing letters read, "Save the Great Salt Lake."
Alireza Vaziri

My name is Alireza. I am an artist by night, and by day I am a staff attorney with an organization in New York City that does eviction and foreclosure defense work.

I've been coming out to Salt Lake for about 10 years. My partner has some family out here and we came out, went to the parks, went into the canyons, but never actually to the lake. One day, we're flying on our way back to New York and I saw the lake and didn't realize how big it was.

I would see a lot of lawn signs around Salt Lake, specifically one that says “water to survive, not thrive." You know, the idea that grass is a waste of water, and we live in a climate where we should be adapting more native landscaping to save water, or planting more native species. That sign really stuck in my head.

I've been making music for a few years and what was really important to me was creating this juxtaposition in the song between this beginning moment of darkness, darker tone in my voice like, you know, this is a serious issue. And so there's a moment in the song where it changes into more uplifting, positive feeling that a lot of people are being affected by it and we may not be at the lowest point but we should feel empowered and we should try and do something about it.

One of the things that I love about Utah and I love about Salt Lake is that I think people here really care and that we will solve this problem and there are a lot of people that are using art and their skills in the nonprofit world to, you know, make a difference.

Check out Alireza’s song “Water to Survive/Save the Great Salt Lake" on YouTube or purchase the song on Bandcamp, where 100% of the proceeds go to the Utah Rivers Council. Read more about Alireza’s song writing process and other work at

Aimee Van Tatenhove is a science reporter at UPR. She spends most of her time interviewing people doing interesting research in Utah and writing stories about wildlife, new technologies and local happenings. She is also a PhD student at Utah State University, studying white pelicans in the Great Salt Lake, so she thinks about birds a lot! She also loves fishing, skiing, baking, and gardening when she has a little free time.
Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!