I am a frequent traveler and though I love visiting new places and taking in the sites, there is no place like home. I love living in Utah and wouldn’t consider leaving…
And yet each winter as our beautiful valley fills with what we affectionately refer to as “soup,” I can help but long for the blue sky and sunshine of, well, anywhere else.
This winter has been particularly bad. My immune system is still not quite what it should be due to the great health scare of 2012” and I’ve been left with a NASTY cough. I haven’t been able to walk my dog, who is in a major funk. The kids haven’t been able to go out for recess. And the weather? It’s been FREEZING!
Like many of my neighbors, I want to know who’s to blame.
Unlike many of my neighbors, I am not laying the blame solely on Rio Tinto’s Kennecott. It’s not that I haven’t. It’s that I have learned.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Rachael helped organize an opportunity for several bloggers to meet with Kennecott to discuss the air quality issue. We peppered them with questions about the company, about air quality and about what the future holds.
Here’s the reality >>> Kennecott comprises approximately 5.8% of particulate matter in Utah over the course of a year and just 3.8% during the winter.
What’s that you say? Only 3.8% during the winter. How’s that possible?
Well it’s made possible due to the hard work, dedication and commitment of Kennecott’s employees. It shouldn’t be surprising really. Those employees (and their kids) are breathing the same air we are.
The company has taken responsibility for the issue and they’ve done things like reduced work during winter months, built one of the world’s most efficient, responsible smelter operations, updated their trucking fleet and reduced vehicle emissions and they’re committed to investing in renewable energy.
The truth is someone else is responsible for the remaining 96% of the problem during winter. When you take a closer look, you’ll find that it’s every day individuals and small business who are largely responsible for the nasty air out there.
This problem is not going away until we ALL take responsibility.
- Drive less: carpool, take transit and find efficiencies in your travel
- Drive efficiently: travel at a consistent speed, use your cruise control
- Don’t idle
- Ride a bike or walk
- Maintain your furnace: schedule regular “check-ups” and change your filter once a month
- Purchase Energy Star rated appliances
- Shop online (boy, have I got this one down)
Can you imagine the difference if we all made a commitment to try a little harder to improve the air quality? I am committed to doing better.
And you know what? I am going to keep an eye on Kennecott too. Their frank discussion has raised my awareness of the issue and I am going to be watching to see how they take the lead on improvements. I have high expectations for them.
What do you do to make a contribution to improving the environment around you?
I was compensated for some of the time I spent researching Utah’s air quality issue, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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