Saturday, December 30, 2017

What if?

Along the beautiful Wasatch Front of the Rocky Mountains, we have an interesting (?) weather phenomenon called "The Inversion." We live in a small valley, surrounded by mountains. In the winter, cold air and particulates (pollution) become trapped in the valley which creates a pretty serious problem for people who breathe. For more info on inversions and issues surrounding air quality in the Salt Lake Valley, click HERE.
Salt Lake Tribune photo. See the clear air above the valley? 
The poor air quality lasts until we have a storm system which blows or washes the inversion out of the valley. The other day I had a thought. What if, when the air got really bad like this, we all agreed not to drive? for just one day. I'm not saying it would solve the problem, but I wonder: 

Could we do it? I mean, could we miss a day of work or school or shopping? It would be inconvenient and maybe annoying, but could we? I mean, other than like 12 people to run the emergency room... and you know, I guess several hundred to keep the residents at care centers and hospitals alive. Could we? Would we? or would it be like all the other days when UDOT asks us to take public transportation or carpool and there are still tens of thousands of cars on the freeway at any given moment? 
Today is the clearest day we've had this week.

What would the economic impact be? Would businesses lose too much money? Wouldn't people just buy twice as much food the next day? Could some people still work from home? Would hourly employees not be able to pay the bills if they missed work?

Yeah, this is clear-ish.
What would the net ecological impact be? Would one day make any difference? How much pollution do our gas cars really cause? Would Holly Refinery and 2 other major refineries in the valley be willing and able to turn off their processing of petroleum for 24 hours? Would that matter? Should we even address why petroleum refineries would choose or be allowed to set up shop here? I mean, I know it's about the money, stupid, but what about the geography, dummy? You can't really see the black smoke rising behind those tree branches in this photo, taken today (December 30, 2017).

 Does it really matter?

Do you think it matters? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Can we make a difference? Do we need to? 

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