The Boise area air quality has steadily deteriorated over the past 10 years or so. 2007 will almost certainly be the year when we exceed the maximum number of "yellow or worse" air-quality days. (Which will almost certainly result in lawsuits being filed, and our federal asphalt-expansion funding being jeopardized.) (Frankly, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.)
Most people seem willing to ignore the problem, or blame everybody else as they drive on, day after day, in their single-occupant vehicles.
Gary Multanen isn't one of those people.
I'd never heard of Gary until I read his piece in the Idaho Statesman this morning. (Click HERE to link.)
"Changing a habit can do a lot for Valley air quality"
Gary owns a small business, Best Bath Systems. (They deserve our patronage.)
He describes his "moment of clarity" as he pondered his commuting habits - "I was struck that I was the prototype of the worst kind of thoughtless polluter, plopping into my car to drive to and from work every day. Just like every other solo commuter. Our bad habit to commute alone has made cars by far the biggest contributor to deteriorating air quality. So last year, I began riding my bike to work. I feel great. People ask me if I've lost weight."
Ah... I love it when somebody sees the light!
But Gary went beyond his personal behavior... he rewards his employees who bike-commute, or carpool, or use public transit with a $50 savings bond. (If they use alternative transportation at least 6 months of the year.)
Gary: "Our experience here at Best Bath has made it crystal clear for me that free thinkers, free enterprisers, and individuals willing to make a simple step to change their lives can make a significant difference in our community's quality of life. ... But if we change nothing in our personal habits to help, we've got our head so far down the ostrich hole we'll never pull it out. So, hop on your bike and pedal to work. Take a nice morning walk to the bus stop. Carpool with a friend. Once you do, you'll be surprised how many of the people who used to take you for granted suddenly think of you as a bit of a hero."
Amen, Gary!!! (You're my hero! I wish all employers were as proactive as you are.)