On May 1st, the American Lung Association released its “State of the Air: 2008” report awarding Logan, Salt Lake City and Provo with “F’s” for short-term air quality where spikes in pollution make it especially harmful for lungs and submerge us and our beautiful mountains in a fog of health-damaging smog. According to the report, these Utah communities (including their surrounding areas) rank among the dozen worst cities for spikes in air pollution. Logan ranks 6th, Salt Lake City 7th and Provo 12th. Who is to blame for this appalling situation? We are. Our population is growing fast and with it come urban sprawl and its harmful effects. Unfortunately we’re way too dependent on fossil-fuel vehicles that pollute. We get most of our power from dirty, harmful, coal-burning power plants. Equally disturbing, we continue to elect community, state and national leaders that are failing to adequately protect the air, our health and cannot even protect our view of the beauty around us.
There are better, smarter, healthier and sustainable ways of living, transporting ourselves and obtaining our electrical power. We need to elect representatives and governmental officials who will mandate that we move away from dirty, harmful unhealthy practices and toward clean, safe sustainable practices and sources of energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal, all of which are abundant here in the West.
Until we get smart, change our ways and elect better leaders, we will continue to fail as the “good stewards of the earth” we are charged to be. -- Jim Westwater, Chair, UVSF
photo © JNWestwater