Every Day Is Earth Day at Environmental Quality

By Donna Kemp Spangler

Last April, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality launched its blogs with “12 Days of Earth Day,” featuring daily blogs from employees who are the “boots on the ground” making sure Utah’s environment is healthier. Since then, we’ve been highlighting what we do each week and sometimes like this month – twice a week – with blogs aimed at a more personal approach to explain the issues and our regulatory roles. It was also another means to reach people on social media.

Why? I’ve said it before: It’s easy to blame pollution problems on nameless, faceless environmental bureaucrats. The air is bad, so it must be our fault for giving the green light to industry to pollute in urban areas. Land and water contamination? How could our environmental protectors allow such a thing to happen?

We can all be outraged when bad things happen to our environment. And we at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are people who share that outrage. We have hopes, dreams, families and a commitment to making the environment better.

When the criticism is directed at us, regulators who are trying to fix the problem, it’s hard not to take it personally. As the Communications Director for DEQ, I get the calls from people who can’t breathe when the air is bad and from parents who want to know why their children can’t go outside during recess. I wish I could wave a magic wand that would instantly transform the polluted skies into clear, fresh air. Instead, I try to do what collectively will make a difference to help our air if we all engage: take public transit, buy air-friendly products, don’t idle and follow the suggestions from our nonprofit partner UCAIR.

And pray for a stiff wind.

In honor of Earth Day and the one-year anniversary of our blog, you’ll find something new among the posts this month. We will begin hosting guest blogs that are written by a few of our partners who also have a commitment and passion to protect the environment and make it better. We want to invite you to look in on us more often as we begin to host an expanded conversation about the environment—one that you’ll want to read about. We hope that including guest posts from partners and other environmental leaders will kick-off a wonderful new dimension to our blog. Every contributor will add their own important voice to the discussion, because they too live and work in Utah and care deeply about our quality of life here.

Like me, many of us at DEQ love what we do. It’s challenging at times when constrained by realities of a layer-cake of state and federal laws. But whether it’s writing a permit or overseeing a cleanup, our goal is to make the environment a better place for all of us. It’s not just a job—it’s a passion. For us Earth Day is every day.

Follow us on Twitter (@UtahDEQ), like us on Facebook and come back to our blog weekly to share with us your thoughts and passions about Utah’s environment.

Donna Kemp Spangler Communications Director/ Public Information OfficerI am the Communications Director for DEQ and write a monthly blog post. 

Contact our PIO at deqinfo@utah.gov with further questions.