BD employees step it up in the Clear the Air Challenge
Anyone who has driven down from one of Salt Lake City’s many ski resorts in January or February has most likely gotten a really good look at an unfortunate phenomenon: weather inversions. Because SLC is caught in a geographic bowl between the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains, our pollution tends to get caught in the middle. In the winter, this compounds when warm air sinks onto cold air trapped in the valley, effectively sandwiching Salt Lake’s entire pollution into a disgusting grey pillow of filth. During these times, the Salt Lake Valley—ranging from Provo to Logan—has the worst air quality in the country… by a landslide.
Knowing that air pollution is becoming more and more of an issue, a challenge has been issued to Utah residents. The Clear the Air Website (www.cleartheairchallenge.org) explains, “The Clear the Air Challenge, issued by Governor Huntsman, Mayor Becker and Mayor Corroon, is all about driving less and driving smarter to help reduce vehicle emissions and improve Utah’s air quality for us and for future generations.” The website allows members to easily track all the different ways they have reduced or improved their driving habits during the course of the challenge (June 1 – July 10) and also awards weekly prizes for those doing an exceptional job.
For Black Diamond employees, a challenge like this one is a no brainer. Apart from the fact that a contingent of cyclists commute to work every day regardless of whether a challenge has been issued, participating in this kind of activity rings true for all BD employees. None of us are in Utah for the liberal selection of libations or the nightlife – we live here because of the mountains. We are a company of active participants and tend to take action when those spaces we love are in jeopardy. Our most recent building remodel is LEED certified and utilizes high tech energy saving devices such as lighting that automatically adjusts to the ambient light level, tons of skylights with reflectors that rotate to follow the sun, and super efficient heating and cooling systems. It also includes showers and changing rooms for those mornings that we arrive sweaty from skiing, climbing or riding into work.
There is increasing evidence that the ski season is affected by climate change and this is something we take seriously at BD. It cuts deeper than just influencing our business; it starts to affect what we love to do. Riding our bikes, carpooling or simply reducing the amount we drive means we’re doing what we can to ensure our kids have the same opportunities to enjoy 500” of Utah powder, a well formed frozen waterfall in Joe’s Valley, or a clear, crisp day of climbing in Little Cottonwood.
Since the June 1st kick-off, Black Diamond employees have stepped it up. Collectively, we have eliminated 1421 trips and close to 10,000 miles. This has saved an estimated 15,996 pounds of emissions. Employees such as Dave Finch have individually eliminated 196 trips and 1,793 miles by car pooling and riding his bike. Jason Horne has managed to save 1,470 miles in 67 trips. Although they had a difficult time making up that kind of mileage, some employees have made a more permanent commitment by choosing to live close to work. Roch Horton, Catherine Mataisz, and Andy & Holly Merriman all live within a mile or so of BD and benefit from a very easy and air-friendly commute. Overall, 30 employees participated and their efforts kept Black Diamond within the top ten teams in Utah throughout the challenge.