Clear the Air Challenge lasts one month to build Travelwise habits and improve air quality
The Salt Lake Chamber, along with its partners Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) and TravelWise, kicked off the 14th Annual Clear the Air Challenge today. Issued by business, government and community leaders, the Challenge is a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone.
“We are excited to launch the Clear the Air Challenge again this year to keep air quality front and center for our communities,” said Gary Hoogeveen, chair of the Salt Lake Chamber and president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power. “Our partners here today represent leaders who seek solutions and ways to help improve air quality and put their actions behind their words. No solution is perfect for maintaining clean air, but we know practical actions exist that can yield significant outcomes. By empowering ourselves through education and actively minimizing our environmental footprint, we can genuinely enhance the quality of our air.”
Nearly half of the pollutants that contribute to Utah’s poor air quality can be attributed to transportation emissions. By adopting more intelligent driving practices, you have the ability to safeguard the health, environment, economy, and quality of life in Utah. To achieve this goal, participants of the Clear the Air Challenge actively employ TravelWise strategies such as carpooling, utilizing public transit, teleworking, trip chaining, as well as walking, biking, or using scooters, all aimed at reducing emissions and promoting the improvement of Utah’s air quality.
“At UCAIR, we place immense importance on understanding the driving forces behind behavioral change and the environment,” emphasized Kim Frost, executive director of UCAIR. “The Clear the Air Challenge plays a key role in helping businesses and individuals understand the significant impact their actions can have in clearing our air. When individuals recognize the efficacy of their efforts, they are far more inclined to embrace behavioral shifts, not just during the Challenge, but throughout the year.”
One of the key objectives of the Challenge is to raise awareness among Utah residents regarding our air quality concerns. In prior years, the Challenge took place in February, aligning with the winter inversion period when air quality visibly deteriorates. However, again this year, the event will be held in July to address Utah’s summertime ozone issues. Though not as visible, summertime ozone is equally harmful, yet its detrimental effects are less commonly known among the general public.
“By carpooling, biking, walking, or using public transportation whenever possible, we reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “But this challenge goes beyond individual actions. It requires a collective effort. It takes collaboration between businesses, organizations, and community leaders. When we support sustainable practices and policies that prioritize clean air, we provide the next generation of Utahns with a healthier future.”
Since the Challenge started in 2009, participants have helped make a big difference in improving Utah’s air quality. In that time, participants have eliminated more than 1.3 million trips, saved more than 20 million miles and reduced their emissions by more than 6,700 tons.
“We’re proud to join the Clear the Air Challenge again this year,” said Lori Smith, Utah regional leader at Fidelity. “The Challenge serves as a great educational opportunity for our communities on the impact of poor air quality and a heightened sense of awareness that together, through our choices, we can help create a healthier future for all Utah residents.”
By encouraging employees to participate, businesses can create a team to make an even bigger impact. The Clear the Air Challenge begins July 1.
How to Participate:
- Sign up on the Clear the Air Challenge website at cleartheairchallenge.org and create an account.
- Challenge friends and co-workers to participate as a team or individually.
- As a business owner or team manager, send out the challenge fact sheet available in the Startup Toolkit to your employees that explains what the challenge is and why they should participate.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.