Why Air Quality Matters:

In 2013 and 2014, Envision Utah conducted a series of values studies to identify (1) what factors Utahns view as affecting their quality of life the most and
(2) the underlying emotions and values tied to those factors.


The relative importance of air quality to Utahns contrasted with their perception of Utah’s performance on the topic.

According to the 2014 values study, poor air quality is now the primary factor that negatively affects Utahns’ quality of life. Its relative importance to Utahns stands in stark contrast to their perception of how well Utah is addressing the issue. Utahns care about air quality because dirty air is a health hazard that impinges on Utahns’ primary value: having a safe and secure environment for families. The health impacts of poor air quality cause stress and worry and ultimately a lack of security and well-being.

A similar 2013 study delved more specifically into the values linked to air quality. In addition to the primary concern of negative health effects, Utahns also said that good air quality leads to a healthy, active lifestyle. It encourages them to spend more time outdoors doing what they love, whether it is hiking, skiing, boating, or just simply enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. Good air quality allows Utahns to enjoy these activities while spending quality time with their families and friends, which in turn creates a sense of personal happiness. Conversely, when the air quality is poor, people feel forced to stay indoors and are unable to do the things they really want. This makes Utahns feel restricted, confined, and that they’ve lost their personal freedom.

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