All this hot air about clean air.
We've had clean-air panel discussions. Clean-air rallies. Clean-air statements from politicians and churches. Clean-air rants on Facebook and Twitter. And yes, plenty of clean-air stories in the media -- including (speaking of hot air) this column.
So, seriously, enough is enough.
Sure, it's important to have a serious dialogue about cleaning up our befouled air. But at some point -- and sooner rather than later, I fear -- we'll be in danger of talking the problem to death without ever actually doing something.
It's like that old saying: "After all is said and done, there's a lot more said than done."
Well, it's time for some doing.
We can't all be expected to buy electric vehicles, or quit our current jobs and find something closer to home, or even sell our homes and move closer to our places of employment. But there are less dramatic things we can all do that, taken together, can at least begin to make a difference. Things like:
* If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace, stop it. Really.
* Drive less. No one's asking you to live without your vehicle, just cut back wherever you can. Is it close enough you could walk or bike there? Or even skip the trip altogether? How about the possibility of telecommuting, or switching to four-day work weeks?
And speaking of vehicles ...
* Keep yours in good working order. Regular maintenance will help it run more efficiently, thus saving money and the environment.
And speaking of speaking of vehicles ...
* QUIT IDLING YOUR CAR!!! Look, I know that's all-caps and three exclamation points -- a no-no in serious journalistic circles -- but this practice is getting ridiculous. I can't tell you how many times, upon seeing an unattended vehicle idling for five or 10 minutes, I've had to fight the urge to ever-so-stealthily open the driver's side door, reach over the steering wheel and turn the key to shut off the engine. (And if I were mean-spirited, I might inadvertently hit the door lock after performing this little act of civil disobedience.)
You've got to hand it to Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. That guy seems to be putting his legs where his mouth is, pledging to bike to work each day in 2014. I thought briefly about biking to work myself, but since I live in Farmington -- and have the athletic prowess of tapioca -- I'd leave for work on Monday morning and get there sometime Wednesday afternoon. (Which, by the way, would be just in time to turn around and head back home if I hoped to make it by the weekend.)
I did recently manage to live without a vehicle for an entire year, riding the bus to work each day. But my current job requires access to a vehicle at work, so mass transit is out right now.
However, there is something I may be able to do to help clean the air: On Mondays and Fridays, I spend the lion's share of those days writing this column. Most of it can be done from virtually anywhere, often with just a piece of paper and a crayon.
So that's my pledge for 2014: Pending my editors approval, I will work from home one day a week.
Scoff if you will, but that's one less vehicle on the road, one day a week. It's not much, but it's a start.
Now, what are you going to do about our dirty air?
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/mark.saal.