Regulars and Shorts

CATALYST’s Clean Air Solutions Fair

By Greta Belanger deJong

Did you know that at the rate we are tossing out garbage, our landfill will be full in 10 years? Lesha Earl, public education and outreach coordinator for the Trans-Jordan Landfill, teaches people how to improve their recycling skills. She and a colleague recently worked with U of U design students on how to create more eco-friendly, less wasteful packaging.

Earl was one of nine speakers who enlightened the 110 people who braved Friday, January 19th’s snowflurry to attend A Clean Air Affair at Trolley Square, organized by CATALYST Magazine /Common Good Press and PechaKucha a quarterly speakers series. The topic, generally speaking, was air quality. Here are a few things we learned:

Ashley Miller, program and policy director for Breathe Utah, showed us how to figure out the new smog ratings—important if you are buying a new (or used) car.

Daniel Mendoza, who studies health effects associated with acute and chronic pollutant exposure, said SLC is one of the most studied airsheds in the world, with air monitors on top of TRAX and on KSL’s helicoptors. We now see that pollution ratings can change from neighborhood to neighborhood. The west side fares the worst, with freeway traffic, the railroad and the airport, as well as older vehicles, older home construction, gas-powered lawn equipment and a dependence among some on wood heat. While many of these issues are systemic, education can help improve people’s immediate surroundings.

Somer Love brought the audience to tears as she shared the story of living her life to the fullest even with cystic fibrosis—a challenge made more extreme when red air days descend.

John Loveless, electrical engineer and hardcore energy-saving geek, reminded us that the Kill-A-Watt meter from some years back really is a great way to discover just where your electricity is going. Which is a good thing, because when you see what you’re wasting, you can fix it.

Alyssa Kay, Salt Lake Community College’s energy management program director, shared with us the stories of a handful of department graduates, who are now gainfully employed in the new green economy.


On Saturday, the Clean Air Solutions Fair was hopping the full five hours, with a Native American opening ceremony by PANDOS and a closing “bad air exorcism” with African drums by Kaz Speirs and Friends (and dancing by the CATALYST staff!).

An estimated 1,000 attendees visited the main atrium, upstairs mezzanine and several hallways lined with the following nonprofits, air quality-related businesses and presenters:

Altris Power

Ask a Scientist

Auric Solar

Bags to Beds

Blue Monkey Bikes


Chad David: Sound Bath

Charlotte Bell: yogic breathing

Mountain Bear Ink/Fred Montague

Web of Life Wellness/Austin air filters

Children’s Media Workshop

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Clever Octopus

Contact Your Local Rep

Darin Mann for Dist. 24

Democratic Socialists

Energy Institute SLCC

Unitarian Enviro. Ministry

Geo-engineering Watch

Gorilla Designs

Green Urban Lunchbox

Greenfire HVAC

Guthrie Bicycles

Hawkwatch International


JaMo Threads Air Masks

Jesus or Genome (band)

John Saves Energy

Kaz Speirs & Friends (drummers)

Leaders for Clean Air

Less Food Waste

Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance

Nate Wade Subaru

Provo Sustainability & Orem Natural Resources

Rainbow Water-Based Air Filtration

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Renewable Energy

Salt Lake City Air Protectors

SLC Green

Salt Lake Co. Bike Ambassadors

Salt Lake Co. Health Department

Salt Lake E-Bikes

Salt Lake Permaculture Guild

Seven Canyons Trust

Sierra Club Utah

Summit Realty Professionals

Sunus Solar

Sunzee Car

Tim Dahle Nissan Leaf

Torrey House Press

Transition Salt Lake Skill Sharing: (candle making, shampoo making, fermentation station, shovel sharpening, mushroom growing)

Phantom Power

U of U AQ and U

U of U Actor Training Program

UT Physicians for a Healthy Environ.

Utah Recycling Alliance

Wasatch Cooperative Market

Weber State/Sustainability Summit


Thank you to our sponsors!

Benefactor: UCAIR

Partner: O2 Today, Auric Solar, Andeavor

Associate: Creative Energies Solar, Inversion/Jamo Threads, Tim Dahle Nissan Leaf, Summit Realty, Blue Monkey Electric Bikes

In-Kind: Trolley Square, Klugonyx, Even Steven’s, Weller Book Works, PechaKucha

And a huge thank you to our organizing committee/heavy lifters: Jim French, who signed up all those booths; John deJong, who engineered everything; David Brooks, who originated the fair five years ago and is still a strong organizing force; Travis, who shepherded the great street signs around town; a/v expert Bob Abeyta; Morgan Byrne, wrangler of volunteers; Jane Lyon, who coordinated the silent auction and the entertainment; Sophie Silverstone, who organized the bar and social media; our amazing interns and friends who showed up and did what needed to be done, including our volunteer bartender Derrick; and last but not least, my PechaKucha cohort, Emily Bodily. (If I have left out someone who needs to be thanked, I will remember soon and thank you next month!

This article was originally published on January 31, 2018.