Thursday, March 4, 2010

time out for civic activism

Today, Eden and I took a little field trip to the Utah State Capitol.
[his hair really was combed when we left the house]

Utah has a part-time legislature that is in session for 6 weeks every year beginning in mid-January and running through mid-March. It's a hectic time where all the bills for the whole year are debated and passed in one frantic, harried gauntlet. During the session, I send lots of emails to Utah representatives and senators, weighing in on the issues and bills important to us. I also try to take Eden up at least once during the session to get a glimpse of the democratic process in action.

Today, we volunteered to represent an issue close to our hearts (and lungs!) — Clean Air! Utah has a long-standing air pollution problem and I've been involved in one way or another with the cause for several years now. Here's a picture from January 2008 of Eden (4) and I boarding the bus to go testify against a new Nevada coal plant that would have affected Utah's air quality. We're holding posters we helped organize a bunch of local moms and kids to make so we could bring them to the hearing.
[Photo credit goes to Jim Westwater]

Here's our table at the Capitol today with one of the cause's #1 activists.

Eden thought the table needed just a little more targeted take on his position regarding clean air, so he worked for a while...

...And drew this poster to add to our display:
There's a lot going on in Eden's poster. The top half is dominated by a large coal plant sending lots of smog into the air. The coal plant is covered in Xs and there's a NO! Burning Coal admonition written below. To the right there are cars and trucks with Xs through them as well. On the left is a person walking and a person biking with checkmarks ticked on top. The bottom half of the poster is the "solution" part of the poster. It's a house with solar panels on top, powering some hanging lights and a computer for a person sitting up in the attic.

Eden was disappointed that more people didn't come to talk with us. He's really a skilled a charming advocate for causes he feels strongly about.

For me, community building and civic action are so closely related to shelter-building, sustainability, responsibility, and so many other values and projects I talk about here. Although this day was a bit different in character (and wardrobe!) from our typical days, it's all of a piece serving a greater whole.

I'd love to hear how you are participating in the democratic process or advocating for an issue you care about in your corner of the world. Please post in the comments!


  1. on behalf of those of us who live down in the mucky inversions...cough cough...thanks for all that you do, reluctant h.

    Do you know if are there any indoor air filters that can effectively take out the most dangerous particulates?

    and...i think the most important thing right now is to fight the Utah Lake bridge. At the public meeting one of the presenters said that they anticipate the West side of Utah lake to become more densely populated than the Salt Lake Valley. Which would be devastating to our already horrible air. Does Utah Mom's know anything about that?


  2. I donated to! Thanks Travis for sharing that website! I also keep the faith that mankind is capable of wonderful ideas and great leaps of progress. An indoor air purifier with a great track record is the AirSource. Check out