of Californians live with air that threatens their health.
years of your life may be lost due to living with unhealthy air.
You have the power to help improve air quality. Even small lifestyle changes can add up to a big difference.
Cookin’ with gas
Avoid using lighter fluid to start your barbecue. Cleaner, less-expensive alternatives are available, such as metal chimneys or electric probes. Even better are barbecues powered by propane or natural gas. Grilling with gas produces much less particle air pollution than burning wood or charcoal briquettes.
The grass is always greener
Avoid using gas-powered gardening equipment. Push mowers and even electric mowers are better than ones that run on gasoline. An average gasoline lawnmower pollutes as much as 40 cars. Use rakes and brooms instead of leaf blowers, and ask your gardener to do the same. You'll reduce both air and noise pollution in your neighborhood.
The heat is on
As the weather warms up, use a fan instead of air conditioning. If you must use AC, set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. and turn it off when you leave home.
Many of the products we use to clean our homes actually pollute our air and harm the health of our families. Look for environmentally safe products at the store, or make your own cleaners at home! Natural products such as baking soda and vinegar work well. Find out how to make a non-toxic cleaning kit.
In with the new
As you prepare for lawn-care season, trade in your polluting, gas-powered lawn mower with an electric one. To make it easier on your wallet, many local air districts offer trade-in incentives and exchange events starting in the spring.
A fresh coat
Standard paint products emit toxic chemicals that harm your health and contribute to smog. If you’re painting your house or other items this year, look for zero- or low-VOC paints at the store; or check out Greenopia’s 5 Best No-VOC and Low-VOC Paints Available Now.
Set an example for the kids
With school back in session, parents everywhere are faced with the early morning challenge of getting the kids to school. Teach your kids about sustainable transportation by setting up a carpooling network with other parents. The adults can interact with each other, and kids can socialize on the way to school, all while reducing the impact of having multiple cars on the road.
To maximize the benefit of carpooling, combine trips to work and school: drop off the kids on your way to work so you don’t have to stop off at home.
Houseplants can help clean your indoor air. Putting even just one plant in every room can significantly improve the quality of the air you breathe. As the weather cools off and you spend more time inside, consider the benefits of breathing cleaner air: less respiratory irritation, lower likelihood of sickness and better overall health.
Spider plants, Peace Lilies and Pothos are some of the best choices.
When you think of all the food on the shelves at your local supermarket, do you ever stop to consider how far it has traveled to get there? Tomatoes from Chile or apples from Washington must travel by train, truck or airplane to reach your table, contributing to the release of hundreds of tons of CO2. If the produce is grown out of season, extra resources must be used to heat or cool greenhouses.
This fall, try shopping at farmers’ markets for locally grown, seasonal produce. Find a farmers market in your neighborhood.
Feeding the family
Try using a slow cooker; it makes an entire meal for less than 10 cents in energy costs. In the oven, glass or ceramic pans are typically better than metal—you can turn down the temperature about 25°F and cook foods just as quickly.
Light up the holidays
Use LED light strings, which consume less power and last longer than traditional incandescent ones. Save even more energy by running your outdoor lights on a pre-set timer for a specific duration of time.
Give more, Waste Less
Gift packaging and wrapping contribute to a 25% jump in trash during the holidays. Choose gifts with minimal packaging, and wrap in reusable gift bags or recycled wrapping paper. Check out Planet Green’s 12 Easy Green Alternatives to Wasteful Gift Wrap.