Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clear the Air Challenge!

(Wow, this is turning into Stuff I Care About Week)

I love Utah. I love living in Utah. I have to sit on my hands so I don't punch people when they say mean things about Utah. But there is one thing, specifically, that always concerns me: the inversions and smog problems we sometimes struggle with during some seasons. The mountains are beautiful, but they can also as the sides of a bowl, put an air-pressure lid on top of those mountains: all the vehicle and building emissions, fires, and other junk just stays put in our valleys. We get notifications on the news that the air is harmful to children and those with respiratory issues. Oh, that's just great.

But you can do something about it. 50% of air pollution comes from our vehicles. If we can make some small changes, we could really reduce poor air quality, and make it safer for our kids to be healthy.

A few tips from Clear the Air:
  • Consider replacing car trips less than two miles with family outings on foot or bicycle
  • Set up a Walking School Bus (a group of kids who walk together to school with adult supervision.) 
  • Approach other families about a neighborhood carpool with a schedule and ground rules
  • Look into public transport options (I can't wait until we get more light rail!)
  • Think about your errands before you get in the car and plan an efficient route
Cool Things that Could Happen

  • Decreased traffic congestion
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Saving money
  • Improved health for our families
  • Maybe even improve our health long term and prevent environmental damage

So, what can you do? You can take the Clear Air Challenge! Governor Herbert and Mayors Corroon and Becker, are challenging us to a month-long competition, August 1-31st 2012, to reduce our emissions and choosing alternatives to driving alone. Register here and set your goals. Sign up to focus your family's efforts to drive less. Put a plan into action. Log the trips you save using alternatives to driving alone. Use the TravelWise Tracker to see your impact in miles, gas, dollars, and saved energy. I signed up when we went to the Hogle Zoo a few days ago. It took me less than a minute and only 3 baby screams. 

I think the Clear the Air Challenge would be a great project for kids working towards a goal or merit badge. And if you're feeling this, join me on the TodaysMama Team when you sign up! We can all see how we're all doing and encourage each other. Rumor has it they also have prizes for keeping up on the challenge.


Air Kisses!

Clean Air Kisses!


Kirsten said...

Thank you for posting this. The air issue is the one that might make us move. Seriously, the air here is so disgusting. And people are terribly ignorant about it, thinking that inversions happen everywhere and there is nothing they can do. My kids do not play outside on red air days, but they are the only ones, no one else pays attention to it. I am just tired of the ignorance... And the stinky air.

Vanessa Brown said...

I know what you mean about sitting on your hands to keep from punching. SLC really is such a full full city. Provo is really coming along fast. I do think the AF/PG area needs some help. But really we have so much to do here....

Marie said...

Great post! I, too, have to sit on my hands to not punch Utah-haters, and just about the only thing I don't like about Utah is the smog in the populated areas. I enjoy this challenge every year because this is something I already try to do, and it's fun to be in a competition where your good habits get some acknowledgment and also contribute to the community's sense of progress. I live in the middle of SLC and a major reason for that was so that I could walk most places (for health and enjoyment and economic and environmental reasons). But it's easy to get lazy and self-congratulatory even with good intentions. I used to have a strict rule that I had to walk to the grocery store (10 minute walk from my house), even in the winter--it really helps you not buy too much food if you have to carry it all home!--but I've been slipping lately and taking the car more often, giving the excuse that it's too hot outside to walk, even later at night. So I end up with no walk and more food than I would normally buy. Baaad. So I'm doing the 20 trips per week challenge this time to really push myself and get my habits back where I want them. Maybe I can lose my summer hibernation weight by the end of August. Win-win!