There’s a new effort to figure out how to clean the air in Utah, but it seems the national politics of cleaning up the water and the air always keep us in the same place. Stuck & Divided. Why do environmental issues have to be so politicized?
University of Utah researchers are using data collected from Google cars, which are used to photograph Street Views for Google Maps, to track air pollution in Salt Lake City. Oakland started a similar street-level collection of air pollution data in 2015 also using Google Street View cars. Since then, Houston and London have joined the effort to measure air quality.
John Lin, professor at the U. of U. department of Atmospheric Sciences, said that as the Google cars travel around the city, snapping photos of neighborhood streets, they are also collecting data on air quality. The cars, which started collecting data in April and will until the end of the year, will be traversing the streets eight hours a day, five days per week, and may drive down the same street as many as 40 times.
Lin says Salt Lake City is one of the best-measured cities in the world for air quality.
This is important because it gives us real-time, real-life data on air quality. So you can see how traffic and the inversion are affecting the air. We will also be able to see if the no-idling zones in the city are having an impact.
So the more data the better to help clean up the dirty air, right? Yes, of course, but people take political sides on environmental issues. They divide when there should be no division.
Why can’t we come together to agree on clean air and water? Make the Earth cleaner. Who’s not for that?
How about also uniting on conservation of animal species. No other place in the universe do these species exits, and when they’re gone, that means forever. Who could possibly be against efforts to conserve threatened or endangered animal and plant species? Who wants to wipe them off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again?
According to the United Nations’ first report on biodiversity, more than 1 million species of plants and animals are facing extinction. The rates of extinction are accelerating at tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past, according to the report. It’s more important than ever to come to an agreement on safeguarding endangered species.
And last, let’s come together on independence on renewable energy. Who’s for being dependent on another country for the fossil-fuel needs of the United States? No one, but why can’t we unite for a big push on renewable energy to bolster America’s energy self-reliance? We can debate how we want to achieve these goals, but we must come to an agreement first. And it doesn’t have to damage the economy, either.
For example, take this news item: Houthis rebels in Yemen recently said they used drones to attack a Saudi oil pipeline, two days after a pair of the kingdom’s tankers were sabotaged.
So, I don’t want to be reliant on anyone else for fossil fuels for me. We shouldn’t be reliant on the idea that oil will keep bubbling out of the Earth. It can’t last. We can set goals of self-sufficiency for ourselves, but we can’t set a self-reliance objective as a nation or as a state. Really?
If we can agree on these issues, we can be in the right place for solving the bigger problems. But somehow, we can’t because we have to take sides. When it comes to a cleaner planet, no sides allowed.
What conservative or liberal would be against clean air, clean water, animal conservation, and energy independence?
But we get caught up in these never-ending debates about whether or not climate change is caused by mankind? Who cares? It does not matter.
We can do things now, that if the harm to the planet is caused by man, we can do something about it and all benefit in the short- and the long-run. Who on Earth could be against that?
Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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