Are you wishing you could feel only the holiday cheer instead of heaviness of the air in your lungs? Are you wishing you could see only the beautiful trees lit up with sparkly lights, and not the gray smog in front of you, impeding your vision?
This is it, folks! The first inversion is upon us and it is going to be an early and long season. Particulate matter levels are up around 65 micrograms per cubic meter in Salt Lake County, almost double the national air quality standard, and we don’t see much relief in sight. However, there’s a lot going on in the HEAL world right now to help make our air healthier – including a challenge to take personal action, an opportunity for you to voice your concerns to the Governor and your legislators, and a call for our government to support air quality legislation in 2018. Read on to learn more!
Let’s take a minute to remember where our pollution comes from, and the steps we can all take to help make it better.
Our air pollution is emitted from three primary sources – industry, vehicles, and buildings. As you can see, and contrary to what many think, vehicles and buildings contribute most of our pollution! While you can count on HEAL to ensure that industry is doing everything possible to reduce their emissions, a majority of our air pollution is affected by the things each of us does everyday – from driving our cars to heating our homes.
So what can WE ALL do to help improve the air? Keep reading!
First, sign-up to participate in the 2018 Clear the Air Challenge! The Challenge encourages you to take alternative transportation, combine trips around town, bike or walk, and reduce the overall amount you drive. Various organizations create teams that compete to see which ones can contribute the most to improving in our air quality. As a team member you will log your personal efforts and earn points for yourself and for the team.
HEAL Utah is organizing a team this year, and we want all of our HEAL supporters to be a part of it. With 48% of our air pollution coming from cars and trucks, collectively we can make a dent in our emissions by shifting our habits. Start small – commit to one day a week where you will combine trips, carpool, ride your bike, or take public transportation. We want to make HEAL the top organization competing this year – so sign up at www.cleartheairchallenge.org, add ‘HEAL Utah’ as one of your teams, and do your part to improve our air quality! Stay tuned for more information.
Second, take action with our new action alert! Tell your legislators and the Governor what steps you are committed to (i.e. participating in the Clear the Air Challenge!), and ask that they do their part by supporting bills that will improve air quality and develop policies that make it easy for us to make a difference (like improving public transportation!). Your voice is incredibly important to your legislators, and can help move the big needle to make our air healthy year-round. Take action now!
This year, HEAL is working on and supporting a number of bills to improve our air quality. One of our priorities is getting diesel emissions testing programs implemented in all counties that currently exceed national air quality standards. This is one of those easier lifts that could make a big difference. Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and Cache Counties all have voluntarily implemented diesel testing programs; however, Utah County has refused to do so, despite the opportunity to reduce their air pollution by 170 tons/year. This pollution contributes to increased asthma rates in children and sensitive populations, and can lead to premature death with chronic exposure.
We are making a big push to show legislators from Utah County that their constituents do care about air quality! If you live in Utah County, or have friends and family that do, we encourage all of you to sign-up for the Diesel Emissions Testing email list! You will get updates on the progress of the bill and requests for specific actions to take to support its passage.
Other bills we will support include increasing fines for those who illegally tamper with their diesel engines to subvert their trucks’ air pollution controls, reducing the number of days that fireworks will be allowed around our July holidays, and allowing for the continued adoption of electric vehicles, among others. JOIN US in the new year for our Legislative Previews to learn about all the bills we are working to support, and stay up-to-date on how you can help to positively influence the policy process.
- Orem: January 9 at 6:30pm, SCERA Center
- Salt Lake: January 16 at 6:30pm, Marmalade Branch, Salt Lake City Library
- Ogden: January 23 at 6:30pm, Pleasant Valley Branch, Weber County Library
This early gross inversion is a good reminder that we have a lot of work to do to ensure a healthy future for ourselves and our families here in Utah. HEAL’s mission is to protect public health and the environment from toxic threats, and you can count on us to push for change. We couldn’t do our important work without your continued support! As you think about your end-of-year giving, we’d appreciate your consideration.
HEAL is committed to doing all that we can to fight for cleaner, safer air and a non-toxic environment so that you can stay HEALthy!
Still looking for New Year’s plans??
Look no further! HEAL Utah is once again thrilled to partner with Secret SLC for their second annual New Year’s Eve experience, Mystère, A Decadent Masked Ball.
Secret SLC will generously donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to help support HEAL’s critical clean air and renewable energy campaigns. Why not support our great work while celebrating with friends and ushering in 2018?
Tickets are almost sold out! RSVP with the password: secretmask
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Happy New Year!!