It was a beautiful, clear day for a clean air rally. I arrived just after noon and there was a steady flow of foot traffic moving up State Street toward the capitol building. I felt a little guilty for driving to the event, but I was already late and I needed to snap a few photos for this post. The rally was in full swing as I walked up the capitol steps, admittedly short of breath. I chose to blame the air quality and not my long absence from the gym.
The crowds were chanting between energetic speakers. Some protestors wore masks and other held signs that said things like “clean air, no excuses,” or “screaming for clean air.” Many of the signs identified various groups that support the movement, “teachers for clean air,” and “Unitarian Universalists for clean air.”
“What do they expect the government to do about it,” I remember thinking last year, when the first rally was organized. Is there a air cleansing device hidden in the dome of the capitol building that they refuse to use, I wondered. No. There is no sophisticated device that will magically clean the air. However, there are several ways government can positively impact the environment. I first read about them the first time I was introduced to Impact Hub.
Last April, our very own Dustin Haggett, joined Utah Governor Herbert’s trade mission to Mexico City to co-host a cross-city dialogue sponsored by Impact Hub Salt Lake and Impact Hub Mexico City. Interestingly enough, Mexico City has a similar geography to Salt Lake and they had an even bigger problem with air quality. Over the last 20 years they have been able to dramatically improve air quality by enforcing specific, government sponsored programs. Advocators of clean air here in Utah believe the programs that worked for Mexico City will work here as well.
Impact Hub continues to help coordinate the search for solutions by hosting clean air summits and participating on panels, including one held at Sundance last week. If you’d like more information about the conference in April, here’s an excellent recap.