Call it a sneak attack – a sneak carbon-footprint-reduction attack. Or perhaps call it a brilliant strategy to race ahead in a game that unofficially started around midnight, January 1st. Somebody of a less suspicious mind might simply think that 3form’s director of IT simply went ahead and did the right thing, while rebates were ripe, and while another notorious, clinging inversion held chokehold on Salt Lake City’s airshed. Those of us that work with Jon, though, we know better; as do most of you who work with ‘those IT Department people’ – those calculating minds whose tactical skills are constantly being honed sharp by video gaming, digital necromancy, software tweaks, or whatever it is they actually do behind that mysterious veil they call “a firewall.”
So when, on January 2nd, my return from the holidays was met with Jon’s victorious smile beaming with pride and the want to show off his new all-electric Nissan Leaf, I knew the proverbial gauntlet glove was on the table, err… keyboard?
You see, only late last month, during a preview of my 2014 environmental initiatives as Director of Sustainability, I announced as part of 3form’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral , we would be striving to reduce employees’ collective commuting impacts. While my personal driving habits have long included using natural gas, efficient diesel or biodiesel, or other ‘efficient types’ of autos that match my needs, I have been aware that I also need to improve my footprint, by simply driving less. It is apparently clear, with intentional irony in my word choice, that we in Salt Lake are killing ourselves slowly with pollution. And we are far from alone. Airsheds around the globe are rapidly degrading in basic breathability terms, from our own emissions, which then also contribute to dangerous global climate change.
It is time to take action. If for selfish reasons like breathing, then a-okay; if for less selfish reasons, like allowing kids, animals, plants, and other life forms a chance at a future, then great. Reasons aside, I need to take action, everyone does. Which leads us back to an IT director getting “the jump” on this Director of Sustainability – by switching to an electric vehicle, Jon’s emissions from commuting dropped tremendously – yet even more important is the commitment required to rethink how he drives; when one is limited to a range of 60+/- miles before recharging, one must plan ‘miles spending’ with care, similar to a financial budget. And the world would be a much safer place to breathe in if we all operated within a planned carbon-conscious mileage budget.
So what is my next move? While being passed in a race is never a favorite feeling, I am certainly happy to accept this challenge, more quickly and more fervently than I had expected. Chalk up my points already for a couple days of ride-sharing this week, and for my house thermostat settings in the mid-to-high-40’s (thankful to have my warm clothes!). Next week, more improvements. Game on, Mr. Jon.
As an appropriate epilogue, I am very happy to report that many others here at 3form have also told me of their actions to protect air quality and climate livability. As it turns out, I am not the only one whose thermostat is lowered to the point of wearing warm clothing inside, during winter (I know, crazy right? warm clothes in winter?). And we have cycle commuters. And we have a Chevy Volt owner here, along with others that might go electric, or car-free. And a populist movement is growing here, to secure a natural gas powered vanpool, from light rail stations, to public transit a viable option. With these and more actions and ideas, I am optimistic that 3formers will be a part of the solution to the problem that we should all admit: that roughly half of our air pollution comes from our tail pipes – and therefore, it is up to us to individually make the change we all seem to want. This race is underway, when will you catch up?