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Tue Jan 28, 2014, 12:13 AM

Air in Utah...

On Saturday, I was driving here in Salt Lake City to take my son to an appointment and found myself in the middle of a mass that was converging on the Capitol. It was a protest against the bad air quality in Utah and the policies and corporations that have allowed it. We joined. I have always been strong on air quality since I've lived here because it is so unusually bad here and I think most of it is unnecessary.

When we drove home, I noticed 4 people walking together from the protest holding signs that said things like, "Stop the pollution" and "fight for air quality". All four got into 4 different vehicles, 2 were over-sized gas guzzling pickup trucks.. you know the ones that are never used for work but just get driven around for show. The other 2 were RV 4 wheel drive tanks... 4 people, 4 vehicles, none of which could possibly get better than 15 MPG and probably less.

I'm kind of sick of hypocritical attitudes where people think standing for a cause means other people have to change but it doesn't mean they themselves actually have to change their own lifestyle. If we are going to make a point that can change industrial practices, cause governments and the public to change their wasteful and selfish habits that choke the inhabitants of this planet... then it starts here and now, this minute... with us, ourselves, me.

On a side note... tomorrow, I'm going to plan and install an air quality cam on the roof of a building I have access to and point it at the beautiful Wasatch range that I could not even see today because of the horrific air quality. I don't know if I can get it running tomorrow or not but when it is running, I'll drop a link on DU so you can see it as it happens. Information is good.

BTW, I drive a VW... rated 42Mpg but I'm getting 50 on the highway, diesel, hoping to use old fry oil soon. I just put my Hybrid Honda to eternal rest last month but removed the hybrid battery to add to my solar panel storage. We walk, We have bicycles.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Air in Utah... (Original post)
defacto7 Jan 2014 OP
2naSalit Jan 2014 #1
defacto7 Jan 2014 #2
2naSalit Jan 2014 #3
pscot Jan 2014 #4
cprise Jan 2014 #5
stuntcat Jan 2014 #6

Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 01:41 AM

1. Interesting...

those four protesters with the "ocean-going vessels on wheels" probably don't understand a few things, besides their overt hypocrisy...

The valley had ordinances in place as far back as the early 1980s that prohibit idling your vehicles more than 15 minutes (I think it was) and some other air quality related rulings. I found them hard to comply with when I had to be in the valley (I worked there and carried freight in and out for many years while working out of other places) especially during winter when I was in the valley because I was in a semi and needed to keep the engine running, especially in very cold weather because a) I had to keep warm while I was sleeping during mandatory time off and b) cold starting was not good for the engine and there was no place to alleviate that situation by plugging in the block heater or putting it indoors... I tried to take my time off beyond the valley. But I digress.

The other thing is that being a geographic basin in winter the "inversion" effect is what exacerbates the bad quality of air. Happens in most valleys in the west (I'm sure you know this) and any bad air gets trapped, sometimes for weeks continuously collecting all the pollution and concentrating it daily. I'm sure this was the reason for those ordinances mentioned above and there certainly could have been more regulation of industry, there are several refineries just north of the city proper... Woods Cross area, and all the exponential development... yikes.

Those drivers, as you pointed out, need to realize how much of the problem they participate in creating and I wonder how many of them vote in favor of their own interests.

Hope it didn't make you ill. I would like to see that camera when/if you get that set up.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 02:06 AM

2. Thanks for the reply... I'm not ill.

"the problem they participate in creating" I think the number is 52%. Much of it comes from CA and NV but still the regulations on the refineries are not adhered to. I'm a night person and I see the air scrubbers turn off all the time... only at night though. The inversion problem is the only thing we can't change but it means we have to make the effort all the more. Respiratory illness here is rampant and I would think that should be more important to deal with than adding to industrial profits and driving personal luxury vehicles on a whim.

I don't begrudge your need to survive rather than freeze in your truck, but honestly that isn't but a small portion of the problem compared to the apathy of the people who live here and continue to consume and discard far beyond what is reasonable or necessary when they could do otherwise.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 02:25 AM

3. Indeed.

I got a couple tickets for it but I wasn't going to freeze either. I sympathize with you. I lived in Pocatello for years and the elemental phosphate plants, FMC and Simplot both overwhelmed the valley most of each winter, the inversions are just awful. Walking outside the home was so terrible that it seemed that someone was waiting outside the door to smack you in the face with a dusty bag of fertilizer with the first breath you took. That would go on for days, sometimes all winter. I got phosphate poisoning every October without fail, soon as it got cold out, was like a bad sinus infection that took weeks to get over. I learned to wear thick neck gaiters whenever I went out just so I could breathe.

I can relate to the inflow of bad air from westerly places too. I'm up in MT and we get all the forest fire smoke from those places and Idaho, just depends on how the prevailing winds are blowing. Summer of 2012 we had so much smoke up here from CA, OR, NV and ID that it was hard to see, burning eyes, like being a two pack a day smoker! I think we had all of about 7 days of relatively clear skies all summer. I have friends who are smoke jumpers, they left in May that year and I didn't see them again until mid October.

Bad air may become the norm this year as there will be some nasty fires if we don't get lots more snow and a good amount of rain all summer. Hard to have protests for that at the scene but the climate situation needs to be addressed in a big way asap.

I hope things improve in SLC before long.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 11:56 AM

4. we have met the enemy and he is us.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 02:09 PM

5. I have a TDI, too

Your observation reminds me of Democratic meetups here in the northeast: SUVs galore. The only times you're likely to see a marked abatement of BAU vehicles is on a bike path or some young-adult or Occupy-related events.

Good luck with your cam project!

BTW, Debian rocks... but have a look at Qubes.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:33 AM

6. we have the exact same VW as you!

I mean my husband does. I don't drive.
I go to lots of environmental rallies in DC but I'm lucky it's so close I can take the bus in.
There are always groups of people there who've ridden in together, a lot of busloads. But no I can not understand someone driving an RV to a rally for clean air!!

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