Clearing the air: Salt Lake man's actions support his words
"The only way you are going to be able to get around the poisonous air is through mass transit, bicycles, electric vehicles and to do the best you can to run them on solar. Let's tax vehicles according to the amount of pollution they put into the air that hurts our kiddies."
Mielke concedes even some of his colleagues who are passionate about cleaning up the air fail to understand what drastic changes that he said need to take place.
"Even the good guys don't even understand how much needs to happen to address the problem. You have to go after it at the source and at scale and nothing will work if you're fiddling around the edges."
He's critical of campaigns to "drive less" via telecommuting or carpooling and promotes the gospel of change.
"Driving less is not the answer. It's about driving differently. It is a way to feel good and accomplish nothing. You think you are doing something and you can rationalize away the problem."
He doesn't fault government or its leaders, despite his advocacy.
"We elect these people despite the damage they do," he said. "It is a lot easier to scapegoat someone and say it is the Legislature or industry. That's not true. It is really us refusing to care about ourselves and our kids' breathing."
It's easier, too, to endlessly chip away at the edges of the air pollution problem because at present the state doesn't have the incentives, the mandates or the mindset, he said.
"Nobody is talking about the degree of change that is necessary," he said. "In my perspective it is not in the conversation because it is too hard to hear at this point. We have to get off oil."
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