This week, Utahns throughout the valley are struggling to catch their breath or catch a glimpse of our stunning scenery. While one of our volunteers was out knocking doors last night, they spoke to a voter who said they don't trust air quality legislation, because "nothing will change unless we knock the mountains down." By the end of the conversation, both folks agreed that there are actually effective, much less drastic measures we can take to alleviate this dangerous health and public safety condition. Vehicle exhaust is one of the main contributors to the problem, and a modern, 21st century approach to how people work could make a big difference.
The state should take active steps to encourage telecommuting on red air days, both by encouraging private sector companies to make that their policy and by legislating a preference for telecommuting, carpooling, and taking public transit for state employees on days when the air is at its most dangerous. For folks who regularly drive, figuring out the best alternative way in to work can be a hassle -- especially if there are factors like childcare or multiple jobs to consider.
Of course, this doesn't work for every worker on every day,but making sustainable options more accessible to a wider population of the workforce is a simple, concrete, and effective step we can take right now. This isn't a problem we can afford to wait on -- the thick, noxious air is a genuine threat to the lives and safety of Utahns.