Cherise Udell thinks her children have the right to breathe clean air.
Six years ago, the mother of two started an organization with that basic premise.
Today, as the head of Utah Moms for Clean Air, Udell continues to operate an organization with only one ax to grind: cleaning up the air.
Despite the frequency of inversions during the winter, she can see progress.
"I have seen a huge uptick in public awareness. I've also seen a huge uptick in media coverage. The governor has to take it seriously now. He has to show he is addressing it," Udell said.
Udell does not define herself as an environmentalist, and she hasn't let Utah Moms for Clean Air become a fundraising organization, but she said there is momentum on the issue.
She notes that, six years ago, her organization asked to meet with officials at Kennecott to address clean air. In talking about pollution caused by the idling of big rigs, Udell said a light went on for a local official, who noted they were being charged for the time the machines were on. Changes were implemented.
Now the issue of idling has progressed to being a political issue. Salt Lake City has implemented rules on idling, and Syracuse city has initiated a measure that would restrict idling city vehicles.
It is a small step, but the Yale graduate said each step matters. "Tailpipe emissions account for about half of our air pollution. A lot of those vehicles come from industry."
Udell drives a car with zero emission technology built in, which she hopes will someday be something more universal in vehicles, but she admits that is still only a small step.
"Conversations about idling six or seven years ago didn't exist. I see the signs now in Salt Lake. There is definitely a will to move that forward. I idled my car before I started Utah Moms," said the Salt Lake City resident.
Utah's unique geography makes the target of cleaning the state's air a moving one, Udell said, and often results in a reliance on weather patterns to determine how long the dirty air will linger, when it will be pushed elsewhere.
She has a graphic way of describing what inversions and the abundance of polluted air is like for people living along the Wasatch Front: "We all live in this big toilet bowl that everyone is using, that no one can flush."
Utah Moms for Clean Air is not the only organization pushing the issue. Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment has addressed the issue from a health standpoint, and locally, the Davis County Community Coalition is actively pushing the clean air agenda.
The efforts have not gone unnoticed.
State lawmakers created an air quality task force, which Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, claims will translate into new legislation this coming session.
Gov. Gary Herbert has also launched an initiative called the Utah Clean Air Partnerships in an effort to raise awareness and set achievable goals.
Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, says the matter of cleaning the air has to include business and individuals at all levels, not just government.
"Truthfully, some action must be taken by us as individuals," she said.
"As a state we're probably not too keen on legislating those changes (forced carpooling, for example) like we've seen in other locations across the country. Voluntary behavioral changes would make a difference if we all participated."