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Breathing Stories

Breathing Stories


Utahns ranging from 10 years old to 70 voice their concerns for the state's air quality through stories, essays, and poems. This chapbook brings vivid attention to how Utah's air affects the lives of individuals, families, and communities, as a call to action for air quality improvement.


On red air days in Salt Lake City, the dense smog blurs the Wasatch Mountains, making us lose our sense of direction and rootedness in place. The air tastes and smells toxic. Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable. Too many young kids are getting asthma. Too many elderly people go to the hospital from pollution related illnesses. Too many people who live nearest to the refineries and highways—mostly people of color and low income populations—experience disproportionate harm. Our pollution problem is not only a public health crisis, it is rampant environmental injustice. And air quality is not just a problem for the Wasatch Front. Ozone levels reach such unhealthy levels in Uintah County that the increase in miscarriage rates has been correlated with poor air. Our national parks—our sanctuaries from pollution—are even threatened by regional haze from the increase in oil and gas extraction. Poor air quality threatens our entire state.

  • Description

    In coordination with local clean air groups, Torrey House Press delivered this soft-bound chapbook, Breathing Stories: Utah Voices for Clean Air, to every state legislator as well as to many city, county, and tribal councils across Utah. Stories from individuals across the state give more than the typical statistics—they make Utah's poor air quality personal. This chapbook aims to inspire others to speak up, to share their air story, and demand a clean future.


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