By Hilary Smith, Sustainability Resource Center
Saturday afternoon, the field and steps in front of the State Capitol were flooded by thousands of community members—old, young, and four-legged—as they raised voices and signs in support of legislative and business-driven clean air measures.
Speakers focused on the idea that clean, breathable air is a universal, moral right.
“Welcome to the people’s house,” said State Representative Angela Romero as she took the microphone. Romero spoke of the need to highlight voices that are sometimes excluded from the fight for clean air—like financially disadvantaged communities and communities of color.
Other speakers, including emcee Carl Ingwell, a graduate student in Environmental Humanities at the U, emphasized the need to do more than just attend a rally. “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul,” said Ingwell, citing beloved eco-writer, novelist, and activist Edward Abbey. Ingwell urged rally participants to call or write to their senators about air quality all year, not just during inversion season. Volunteers passed around half-sheets of paper to attendees, listing web sites they could visit to tell their legislators to get busy cleaning up the air in Utah.
Ingrid Griffee, of Utah Moms for Clean Air, gave shout outs to three other cities holding air quality rallies on the same day: Logan, Moab, and St. George.
Interspersed with speeches were songs, some of them requiring audience participation. Signs, pictured above and below, were numerous and creative. All in all, it was a day filled with community spirit and positive energy for change.
Hilary Smith is a graduate assistant at the Sustainability Resource Center.