By Ryan Evans, Guest Blogger
DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community.
The Challenge is on!
The Clear the Air Challenge is a month-long initiative that encourages Utah residents to drive less and drive smarter during the month of July. Participants help improve air quality by avoiding trips alone in their car, using alternative modes of transportation such as carpooling, taking public transit, walking, biking, or trip chaining.
When you take part in the Challenge, you can log every trip you save in the online tracker and compete for great prizes by racking up the trips you eliminate, the miles you save, and the emissions you reduce. With approximately half of all emissions coming from motor vehicles, the Challenge is a fun way to do your part to improve Utah’s air quality.
In 2014, almost 7,000 people participated in the month-long Challenge. Collectively, participants saved:
- 143,353 trips
- More than 2.2 million miles
- 668 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
Those are powerful numbers, but what’s more powerful is what we have done together over the six years the Challenge has run. During those six years — six months total — Utahns have eliminated:
- 666,683 trips
- More than 9.2 million miles
- 2,953 tons of emissions
Imagine what we could do if we pushed ourselves all year round, if we all did a little more than we normally do with an eye towards improving air quality. Each of us can make a difference, and collectively we see that impact through the annual Clear the Air Challenge.
The Salt Lake Chamber and its partners challenge you to do drive down your miles this July for the betterment of our air and our quality of life.
We’ve challenged you, now who will you challenge?
Sign up for the Challenge at cleartheairchallenge.org and compete to be this year’s champion. Join an existing team or start a team of your co-workers, neighbors or friends. The winning teams not only get bragging rights, but they also receive the Challenge Trophy to display throughout the year!
The 7th Annual Clear the Air Challenge is made possible via the contributions of the Salt Lake Chamber, TravelWise, UCAIR, UTA, Intermountain Healthcare, Fidelity Investments, Rio Tinto, Salt Lake Comic Con, and Penna Powers.
I joined the Salt Lake Chamber in 2003 and currently serve as vice president of business and community relations. I serve as the staff lead on air quality issues for the Chamber, driving business support for clean air and oversee the Chamber’s Clean Air Champions program that promotes clean air practices for business, an Inversion Mitigation effort that reached more than 70,000 employees last year during inversion season, and Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge that encourages Utahns to drive less and drive smarter for one month each year. Additionally, I am a member of Governor Herbert’s Clean Air Action Team, the UCAIR Board of Directors, facilitate the Chamber’s Clean Air Task Force, and was recently asked to speak at the White House on the business community’s engagement and investment in air quality.