By Donna Kemp Spangler
DEQ employees constantly inspire me to “up my game” when it comes to environmental stewardship. And each of them is a walking reminder that each person can make a difference.
A significant and growing number of DEQ employees take mass transit or carpool to work. Air Quality Director Bryce Bird drives a compressed natural gas vehicle, and others drive electric cars and hybrids that is real environmental stewardship!
Our Executive Director, Amanda Smith, enjoys the benefits of exercise by often commuting by bicycle, inspiring others to do the same. Tom Daniels, who oversees environmental cleanups, commutes from Ogden by riding the bus in the morning and then riding his bike home.
Environmental Stewardship doesn’t stop there.
Recycling is so common place at DEQ that little is thrown away. At our offices, we recycle over 23,000 pounds of paper, plastic, cardboard and aluminum roughly every year based on 2012 measures, and recently added battery and glass recycling to the mix. DEQ also uses recycled paper when possible. And when those same employees return to their homes, they have the same recycling mindset.
Our employees are an inspiration in my household. For example, my husband, Jerry, and I are experimenting with composting organic wastes for the first time. We bought a dual-bin rotating composter and have been carefully separating out waste vegetables, coffee grounds, lawn clippings and Jerry’s very annoying peanut shells for deposition in the bins.
Our first batch of nutrient-rich compost should be ready to fertilize our rather anemic-looking tomatoes in a couple of weeks. We do not know what we are doing, but we are trying. And we are learning as we go along.
Every time we walk a load of material out to the bins it is a reminder waste that previously would have gone to the landfill is being recycled into a beneficial use. And everyone can make small contributions. Small contributions might not seem like much; but, when they are added together, we collectively can make a huge difference.
And through my own small actions maybe I can inspire my grandchildren to be good environmental stewards, just as DEQ employees inspire me.
I welcome your input and suggestions. Continue the conversation on Twitter @deqdonna, or DEQ @UtahDEQ, like us on Facebook (utahdeq) and come back to our blog weekly to share with us your thoughts and passions about
I covered environmental issues as a reporter for the Deseret News before joining DEQ in 2006 and later appointed as Communications Director. I’m a co-author with my husband, Jerry Spangler, on books about Nine Mile Canyon.