A Breath of Fresh Air
Temperatures have warmed, flowers are starting to bloom, and it’s finally time to poke our heads outside and see what this spring brings. With ozone season underway, and Easter and Air Quality Awareness Week fast approaching, it’s time to refresh what we know about what we can do to help improve both the environment and our air quality. Check out these simple tips to help keep our air quality in check.
What is Air Quality Awareness Week?
Each year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), hosts a week dedicated to education and awareness of air quality and its impact on health. This year, Air Quality Awareness Week is being held from May 3 - 7, 2021. Topics will include: Wildfires & Smoke, Asthma & Your Health, Citizen Science & Sensors, Environmental Justice Communities & Air Quality, and Air Quality Around the World.
There are a lot of simple ways to conserve electricity, but the easiest way is to turn off your lights when rooms aren’t in use. Switching to longer lasting energy efficient LED, Halogen, or CLF bulbs are also another way to help reduce the amount of energy your household consumes. These bulbs are better for the environment than traditional incandescent bulbs. Turning off appliances and screens when you’re not around is also a small but helpful action in reducing usage. For more ideas on how to reduce your usage, check out the Department of Energy’s Energy Saving page here.
Another great energy saver involves changing your heating and cooling habits. With temperatures warming, it’s time to consider how much heating and cooling affects energy use, and how we can lower it. During warmer months, the suggested temperature setting for residences is 78 degrees Fahrenheit while in your home and warmer while you are away. Find out more about how changing your air conditioning habits can save energy here.
Spend Some Time Outdoors
If there ever was a time to enjoy the weather in North Texas, it’s now. Spending time outdoors before the unbearable summer heat is a great way to reduce the energy use from appliances, lights, and air conditioning. Whether you’re walking or biking on one of our many trails, gardening, or simply sitting on your porch with a book and a beverage, by spending less time on the road and in the house, you’ll be helping improve our air quality.
Monitor Your Water Usage
Check your local municipality’s water conservation page and make sure you’re following their watering guidelines, especially as we approach warmer months. This will help prevent drought shortages in the later months and help preserve our environment by preventing overwatering and lessen the amount of wastewater. Taking shorter showers and utilizing water efficient appliances can also help reduce the amount of water we use and the energy that they consume. If you’re gardening, try and plan around your environment by planting drought resistant and hardy plants.
Take Public Transit
Check out your local public transit options like DART, Trinity Metro, and DCTA when you’re thinking about making a trip or heading to work. Make sure to check CDC guidelines and local transit mandates before using public transportation. If you live within walking or biking distance of your destination those are also more eco-friendly options for transit than driving yourself. Less cars on the road means less gas usage, less vehicle emissions, and less of an impact on our air quality and environment.
Pick Up Litter
Nobody likes litter, it’s harmful to animals and humans alike, and it’s a problem. When you’re on your walk, consider taking a bag with you to pick up and dispose of litter. Making sure you dispose of your own waste properly is also an easy way to contribute to the maintaining of our environment and air quality. For more ways to get involved in local litter cleanup, check out the Keep America Beautiful campaign or the Don’t Mess With Texas campaign.
With Easter approaching, it’s time to start thinking about crafts. There are sustainable ways to make Easter an eco-friendly success. Instead of buying prepackaged treats, consider making your own. Whether they’re homemade Easter cookies or bunny pancakes for breakfast, here are some sweet treats you can make yourself. Instead of heading to the store and buying a bunch of cumbersome decorations, check out some of these environmentally friendly Easter ideas.
Taking these actions will help you contribute to a greener environment and better air quality, so make sure you’re in the know on clean air actions. Check out more of what you can do, and sign up for air pollution alerts on our website here.