Clean Air for Back to School
Back to school season is right around the corner! Ground-level ozone can often reach unhealthy levels during these hot and sunny days. Clean Air Action Day is August 3, 2022, and we’re inviting you to commit to doing one thing to help improve the air quality in North Texas. Choose your clean air actions today at www.airnorthtexas.org/cleanairactionday.
And as you make plans for the upcoming school year, we want to share some tips with you to help us keep our air clean.
Elementary - High School Students
Off to School!
Transportation is one of the leading pollutant emitters that form ground-level ozone. This year, consider walking or biking to school to reduce emissions. Make sure to get a quality bike lock (like a U-lock), flashlight, and a helmet for safety. If you live too far to bike or walk, see if your children can take the bus to school or plan a carpool with other parents. If you plan on driving your children to school, make sure to turn your engine off to prevent idling while waiting in the pickup line.
Back to School Shopping *at home*
Before you head out to the store to get the best back-to-school deals, try “shopping” around your house to see if you already have the school supplies you need. Re-using materials from last year such as binders, pencil pouches, and backpacks can save you a trip to the store, reducing unnecessary travel and emissions.
Stay Safe, Stay Indoors
Children, people with asthma, and older adults are at high-risk from ozone pollution. According to the CDC, symptoms of ozone exposure include shortness of breath, headaches, coughing, dry throat, and wheezing. Frequently check for air quality conditions by visiting airnorthtexas.org and sign up to receive ozone alerts. On ozone action days, it is important to limit your family’s outdoor activities, including outdoor sports, especially during the afternoon and early evening. Encourage teachers to start a flag program at your school to spread awareness and protect your community’s health to reduce exposure to ozone. Read here to learn more about the Air Quality Flag Program.
Drive Less, Drive Smart
Do you live in a dorm or close to campus? Make plans this semester to walk to your classes, meet up with your study groups and friends, or go to the campus bookstore to reduce your travel emissions while staying active! Many North Texas universities offer reduced transit fares for students, bike share programs, or free shuttle services that can take you wherever you need to go. Here are some available, reduced transit and alternative mobility services for college students in the area:
FREE unlimited rides with Trinity Metro services for TCC students
See if your university has alternative transportation incentive programs, bike-lending, and free or reduced transportation services available to you.
If you are a commuter student, consider carpooling with your classmates living or working similar schedules. Did you know you can earn coupons and discounts for restaurants and entertainment when you take greener trips? Check out the Try Parking It program, where you earn rewards for alternative transportation such as carpooling, biking, walking, using transit, and more.
Meal-prepping at home can help you reduce your transportation trips during lunch time, as well as save money and gas. When you don’t have time to make your own lunch or you just can’t resist the tasty meals at your go-to restaurant or coffee place, consider carpooling with your classmates or co-workers or take advantage of the short walking distance to your campus restaurant.
Going out? Save some energy!
Are you heading out to your class or work? Try cranking up the temperature of your air conditioning by 7 to 10 degrees when you leave your home and you could save up to 10 percent on your energy bill while decreasing your energy consumption. Fossil fuel power plants are a significant contributor of ozone production. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it up for when you head out to work or go to class. See if your electricity provider offers renewable energy options to further reduce ozone production and improve our air quality.
Through these tips and habits, you will be set up for success in the upcoming school year to keep our air quality in North Texas cleaner and healthier!