What is your Clean Air Pledge?
Have you taken a clean air pledge this year?
October in California presents us with an interesting opportunity to re-visit our individual and collective efforts to make a difference in the air we all breathe. For decades, BREATHE has advocated for small changes to help us achieve our goal of improved air quality for healthy lungs. You can make a pledge this month at https://www.cleanairday.org/pledge/individual/BreatheCaliforniaSacramentoRegion/ and join BREATHE staff in our mission. The ways to make a difference are numerous! From taking clean transportation (light rail, bus, bike, electric vehicle), composting food scraps, planting trees to using natural cleaners in your home and replacing air filters regularly, there are many big and small changes that will make an impact. Clean Air Day on October 5, 2022 is the perfect opportunity to try a clean air activity. It just might become a (good!) habit.
Many of us are now more aware of the food scraps recycling requirements in California. Legislation went into effect this year for residences and businesses. Did you know that a similar requirement was enacted several years ago for schools? BREATHE has been partnering with school districts in the Sacramento Region to help sites implement food scraps recycling programs. These kids are some of our best air quality advocates! Seeing them understand the difference between all of those leftover items on their lunch tray and know exactly how to dispose of them is inspiring. For more information on our food scraps program, visit our website: https://sacbreathe.org/what-we-do/air-quality/food-waste-recycling-2/
Wildfire ‘season’ has become longer, placing October squarely in the zone for potentially hazardous air quality. Our largest fundraiser, the Breathe Bike Trek has had to be postponed numerous times in various northern California locations over the past two decades due to wildfire smoke. Maybe this points to poor planning, but we would also like to think that it points to a larger issue affecting our overall climate and the stress it is putting on our natural environment. While wildfires will always be a part of our landscape, we can help reduce their severity through every day choices to minimize air pollutants. Additionally, creating safe indoor spaces with easy Do-It-Yourself air purifiers can help families weather poor air quality episodes. There are many resources available online that use a box fax, packing tape and a 1-2inch air filter.
BREATHE has helped create resources for use in schools and in the community on how to protect oneself from hazardous pollutants. Most recently, we completed work with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to create a series of charts and tools to determine the level of activity appropriate for different Air Quality Index readings. These resources can be found here: https://www.airquality.org/air-quality-health/climate-change/public-outreach/wildfire-smoke-information/air-quality-action-charts These tools help school officials, employers with outdoor workers and the general public decide how safe it is to be outdoors during a wildfire smoke event.
BREATHE volunteers and staff remain committed to improving our indoor and outdoor air quality for healthier lungs. You can help us lead the way by pledging during Clean Air Day (and every day!) to make small changes for a big impact. Tag us (photos are great!) as you are doing your part for cleaner air #mycleanairpledge.