S3E1: Motivating Utahns to Clear the Air With UCAIR’s Thom Carter


Welcome to Season Three of Make the Podcast Bigger. We’re proud to kick this season off with Thom Carter, Executive Director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR).  In this episode, Marc Stryker (VP, Channel Management) and Justin Smart (Chief Strategy Officer) talk to Thom about all things air quality in Utah – the challenges, the opportunities and how being a first-time father has impacted the way he sees air quality issues.  We discuss the challenges and opportunities in motivating Utahns to change long-standing behaviors and what it really takes to move the needle long-term. If you want to #ShowUCAIR and find out how you can help clear Utah’s air, be sure to visit UCAIR.ORG. We hope you enjoy this episode. 

Key Points from the Episode

  • While industry and businesses can have a significant impact on our air quality, vehicles and homes are the biggest contributors to bad air.
  • According to research, Utahns now understand that they are the problem and therefore, need to be part of the solution.
  • Air quality is a critical issue for Utahns. In every public opinion for the past five years, air quality has ranked first, second or third in everyone’s mind.
  • Progress is being made. Opinions and actions have really begun to change in the past five to six years.
  • 60% of people believed point sources (industry) was the No. 1 cause of emissions in 2015
  • 55% of people in 2019 said mobile sources are the No. 1 cause, which is correct and we’re starting to better understand the issue
  • The legislature allocated 29 million dollars for air quality in 2019
  • The legislature allocated just 1 million dollars for air quality in 2018
  • When an issue becomes personal, that is when long-term behavior change cements


“In the past, we got the black lung and that was just part of life. Now, we want to safeguard everyone’s health.”
– Thom Carter [20:01]

“In Utah, you can’t grab everybody and shake them. You can in other markets. That’s just how you communicate in New Jersey.”
– Thom Carter [30:58]

“If you’ve ever had a baby during winter inversion season, you’re a UCAIR advocate.”
– Marc Stryker [53:21]

“I’m 41, which makes me the oldest first-time Dad in the history of Salt Lake County.”
– Thom Carter [55:33]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: 

UCAIR — https://www.ucair.org/

Thom Carter — https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomcarter/

UCAIR Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/UCAIR

UCAIR Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/showucair/

UCAIR Twitter — https://twitter.com/ucair_ut

Utah Division of Air Quality — https://deq.utah.gov/division-air-quality

Utah Department of Environmental Quality — https://deq.utah.gov/

Utah Air Quality Current Conditions — https://air.utah.gov/

Penna Powers — https://pennapowers.com