Monday, December 28, 2009

NYC’s Community Air Survey Shows We Still Have Work to Do

Recently, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released the results of the first Community Air Survey, a study that tracked air quality across the five boroughs. The survey monitored Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Elemental Carbon and Sulfur Dioxide from about 150 monitors located throughout New York City.

The Community Air Survey found (not surprisingly) the worst air quality in the areas with the highest level of car and truck traffic. These maps (taken from the Community Air Survey) show pollution levels (top/left) and traffic density (bottom/right) in New York City. See how the darker areas compare – poor air quality and traffic density correlate.

These maps show just how essential your clean-air travel choices are – before you get in the car and turn the key, think. Is there a better way to get from point A to point B?

It’s also important to note that this study was conducted in the winter – a time when many may think that air quality is not an issue, because the ozone season is over. But, poor air quality is still a problem in the colder months. It may be less ideal to walk, but mass transit and carpools are still a good and warm option. Visit to plan your alternative commute.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from Clean Air NY

The holiday season is here, bringing parties and shopping trips in abundance. It’s no secret that the holiday season also brings traffic. This year, the New York City Department of Transportation declared seven Gridlock Alert Days in December alone. The 2009 holiday traffic plan can be found here.

But remember – more traffic = more air pollution. Roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by cars and trucks, but the extra travel required in December does not mean air quality has to suffer. We’ve put together some special holiday tips to help you keep the air clean, even during a high-traffic season:

-Take Mass Transit. Traffic congestion in New York is an issue during winter. Beat the holiday rush and take mass transit. Taking mass transit reduces carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming by more than seven million tons a year.
-Share a Ride. When traveling to holiday parties, share a ride by carpooling or vanpooling to your destination. To find a carpool partner or vanpool, visit or .
-Combine Trips. Vehicles are more fuel efficient when they are warmed up. You could end up saving twice as much on gas consumption by taking one multipurpose trip instead of many short trips. Combine your errands into one trip and you’ll make your holidays less hectic, while helping keep New York’s air clean.
-Cut Back On Idling. Whenever possible, don’t let your car idle. For example, go into a fast-food restaurant to pick up food rather than waiting in the drive-through lane.
-Work from Home. Avoid weather hazards and spend more time with your family while working from home. If just one in 10 commuters in the New York metro area worked from home just once a week, emissions of ozone precursors would be reduced by about 5,100 tons each week – that’s the weight equivalent of 720 elephants.

You can click here to download our print-ready holiday tip poster to display around your workplace, school, community center, etc. to help educate others on the simple steps we can all take to improve New York's air quality.

Our Facebook page also has some great pre-made badges and Facebook profile pictures to help you spread the Clean Air NY holiday cheer! Check them out here.

Happy Holidays from Clean Air NY!

Monday, December 14, 2009

106.7 Lite FM and Clean Air NY's Skating in Central Park

This past weekend, Clean Air NY and 106.7LiteFM, together with its radio personalities, Delilah and Christine Nagy, helped educate the public on smart everyday travel choices to make our air cleaner and healthier in New York.

Remember to make the following smart travel choices this holiday season:
  • Combine shopping trips to save time and gas
  • Carpool to holiday parties and events
  • Take mass transit to beat the traffic
  • Avoid weather hazards and work from home
  • Encourage loved ones to join Clear Air NY
Add your fan photos on Clean Air NY's Facebook Page: if you were at the event!

For more info on Clean Air NY, become a fan on FB: or visit

Friday, November 13, 2009

Clean Air NY Skating in Central Park - Give the Gift of Cleaner Air this Holiday Season. Win FREE TICKETS!

This holiday season, Clean Air NY is partnering with 106.7 Lite FM to educate New Yorkers on simple steps that help improve New York’s air quality. As a special treat, you are invited to participate in the Skating in Central Park event, to be held at Wollman Rink on Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13. The first 1,000 people to enter the rink each day will get in FREE! Clean Air NY and its lovable character, FRESH, will be there spreading the word and encouraging everyone to care for cleaner air. Be sure to take mass transit, walk or carpool to the rink!

Get 4 free tickets to Skating in Central Park! Upload a photo of yourself doing one of our clean air actions-- biking, walking, taking mass transit, carpooling/vanpooling, telecommuting, or car sharing and be entered to win 4 free tickets to our Skating in Central Park event. Please upload your pictures on or before Monday, November 30th. Winners will be drawn on Tuesday, December 1st and announced on our Facebook page accordingly.

Remember that taking action to improve air quality is important year round. Here are some things you can do before and after Skating in Central Park to beat traffic congestion and help create cleaner, healthier air:

· Combine shopping trips to save time and gas

· Carpool to holiday parties and events

· Take mass transit to beat the traffic

· Avoid weather hazards and work from home

· Encourage loved ones to join Clear Air NY

To receive real-time Air Quality Action Day updates, text AIR to 42269 or visit For traffic, travel and transit information, call 511 or visit

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall into Cleaner Air

October is International Walk to School Month!

Many U.S. celebrations focused on Walk to School Day on Oct. 7, but it's not too late to organize a celebration at your child's school. Visit for tips to plan a quick Walk to School Day, starting with the principal's approval. It's just a few short steps from there to a fun community event promoting a healthier lifestyle for everyone. Whether you're able to get a celebration in place this October or not, mark your calendar for next year: Walk to School Day 2010 is scheduled for Oct. 6.

A Busy Parent's Best Friend: Carpooling

You know the drill: trumpet lesson, ballet class, art workshop, class project, soccer game, repeat. Feel like you spend more time in your car than your home lately? Save time, gas and stress by organizing or joining a carpool with other parents in the area.

Some carpool tips for parents:

  • Determine how many seats you have to offer, especially if your other kids are in the car with you. It's not the number of seats in the car but the number available that counts.
  • Set ground rules for child and parent behavior. No talking on the cell phone or texting while driving. Wear seat belts at all times. Decide how stragglers will be handled.
  • Exchange cell phone numbers with all of the parents involved. You never know when you may need to contact someone at a moment's notice.

Kristen Gantos, Clean Air NY Outreach and Marketing Coordinator.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Yorkers Commit to Cleaner Air!

Back in June, Clean Air NY launched our summer Commit to Cleaner Air campaign. Check out this slidshow which highlights New Yorkers in the downstate region commiting to Cleaner Air!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Clean Air Campus in the Spotlight: Bard College’s Electric Bike-Sharing Program

Walking around the Bard College Campus in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, you’ll see plenty of hurried college students and racks filled with the bicycles many of them use to get to class. Look closer and you’ll find some of these bikes are electric. Bard, a Clean Air Campus, recently started a bike-sharing program available to the entire college community. Bard is in a relatively rural area, but it is no stranger to the transportation problems that can affect college campuses and fast-developing communities. Bard operates its own shuttle between campus and the two closest towns, but many of the student parking lots nevertheless now regularly run out of spaces as car traffic increases. This new bike program helps solve this problem; students, faculty and staff can sign out the bikes for an entire day. In addition, there are several bikes available exclusively for use by staff for on-campus travel.

As an alternative to motor vehicle travel, the electric bike is perfect for short distances. It has no direct emissions and is easy to use even for those of us with little biking experience. The electricity is run with the push of a button, so the user can peddle as much or as little as wanted. Hopefully, the electric bike also opens the user up to the world of biking itself, to develop a habit of biking and to realize the benefits - personal health, cleaner air and a better environment - that biking offers. This one program will not solve all the transportation and pollution problems that Bard has, but it is nonetheless a step forward and is part of how we ultimately hope to improve transportation at Bard and in the local community. The program foreshadows a cleaner and healthier future, filled with smaller and emptier parking lots. The only way that can happen is through our own individual steps to start the processes by which such change arrives. At Bard College, the electric bike program is an opportunity to do just that.

Guest Blog by Bartek Starodaj, Bard College, a Clean Air Campus, Class of 2011.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Climbing on Board a Vanpool is Easy, Convenient and Fun!

Traffic, congestion and stress in the metro New York region are abundant. So where do we turn to reduce this traffic, congestion and stress all while helping the environment? Vanpooling with Easy Street or VPSI! Two companies that provide vanpool services in the New York Downstate Metro Region.

Clean Air NY’s goal is to get single-occupancy vehicles off the road – vanpools make that goal possible by getting commuters who are going to and from the same place out of their own cars so they can travel together. Vanpools save time, money and gas and improve the environment. Plus, they’re a fun way to get to work!

The best way people can hop on the vanpooling bandwagon is by talking to a few co-workers who may live near you. You only need six people who are willing to join the program to be qualified for the minivan. There are no contracts associated with Easy Street or VPSI. If a person decides to leave the vanpool, that person is allowed to stop at anytime. After that, the others in the van have three months to find a person to take that spot at no penalty. The cost for the empty seat will be paid for by your local Transportation Management Association (TMA).

The next step to climbing on board a vanpool is to visit!

Guest Blog by Fred Wolf, Clean Air NY/LITM summer intern.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Clean Air NY at City of Water Day on Governor’s Island

Clean Air NY stepped outside the usual confines of New York City for an event on Governor’s Island a few weeks ago. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, City of Water Day celebrated the beauty and possibilities of New York City’s shoreline. Waterfront groups, green organizations and over 10,000 attendees enjoyed a gorgeous day of sun, water and environmental education. The event gave New Yorkers a chance to join in some waterfront protection initiatives and provided valuable opportunities for environmental groups to collaborate.

Clean Air NY spoke to hundreds of individuals about our program and how they could get involved. In addition to working with CommuterLink to provide mass transit directions and biking maps, Clean Air NY shared green tips and health information with people who stopped by. Attendees were eager to learn how to improve our air, and many of the families we met hoped to protect their children from high ozone levels on Air Quality Action Days.
A day spent on Governor’s Island really illuminated the beautiful waterfront that surrounds New York City. Time spent at City of Water Day highlighted the potential of our environment and the many ways we can interact with it. What better way to inspire New Yorkers to protect the outdoors and the air we breathe?

For more information on City of Water Day or the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, visit

To learn more about how you can improve New York’s air quality, see some tips at

Sarah Tansey, Clean Air NY/CommuterLink summer intern.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Recap of Eastchester’s Green Day Expo

“Hello!” I greet cheerily from behind the friendly and inviting Clean Air NY table at the Eastchester’s Green Day Expo. Amidst the increasingly cloudy grey sky, I receive a hurried glance as the person picks up a Clean Air NY Travel Choice Guide and tip pen. I’m confident that even though he did not stop to chat, he will at least read the informative brochure and learn a thing or two from the tip pen about how he can improve NY’s air quality.

“Hello!” I greet once again, this time aiming my hello a mother of two, casually browsing the vendor tables.

She slows down, makes eye contact, and responds as the first rain drops start to come down, “Hello. Clean Air NY? What are you guys about?”

Yes! Finally a potential Clean Air NY individual partner.

“Well, I’m glad you asked! Clean Air NY is an initiative of the New York State Department of Transportation that works to improve the air quality in the region. We are here to provide you with tips on how you can improve the air quality in the area. We’d also like to sign you up for our Air Quality Action Day Updates. We will send you an e-mail or text message the day before the air quality is predicted to be particularly poor and provide you with some tips on things you can do to help improve the air quality such as taking public transit, carpooling or refueling after dark.”

Intrigued, the concerned mom responds, “Why not? I like clean air and my children have asthma, so it’s definitely an important thing to know. Where do I sign up?” After she signs up, she mentions to me that her family walked to the Green Day Expo since they lived close by. I thanked her for doing her part to improve NY’s air quality.

And thus we have successfully added another name to our growing list of concerned citizens making the commitment to clean air. And it is a win – win – win situation. The new individual partner can leave with a more interesting story to tell her husband about her day involving her heroic attempts to save the world, her children have proof that moms are really superheroes and Clean Air NY get support to continue on our mission to single handedly reverse the negative affects of car emissions – or at the very least to reduce the vehicle miles travelled by single passenger cars in New York.

This very chain of results is why being able to help out with the Clean Air NY program will definitely remain one of my most positive internship experiences. I am left with the genuine feeling that I have made some contribution, however small it may be, to improving the quality of life on this planet. Also, it’s inspiring to see people who are willing to help out where they can, even in the rain, because they realize that in the end it is not about being a citizen of one specific area; it’s about being a world citizen, participating in a movement to reverse the damage that careless use of new technologies has created.

Saving the world is a big job, but I mean someone has to pull out their umbrellas, stick it out and do it, right?

You can sign-up to receive Air Quality Action Day Updates at

Thea Charles, Clean Air NY/MetroPool summer intern.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kids Should Learn About Clean Air, Too – They’re the Drivers of the Future!

A few days ago, I came across this video. A Park Slope, Brooklyn, middle school documented what the students learned from a unit their teacher did on transportation and air pollution. I shared it with my Clean Air NY colleagues and we can’t get enough of it!

Here are the top five reasons this is a great video, and a great project:

5) The kids were able to express what they learned creatively. Some sang, some danced and others drew. By combining what they learned with their interests, they made the project more interesting and more memorable.

4) They worked to spread the word. Beyond producing this video and simply keeping it, they were able to get it onto a popular blog, Treehugger. This teaches them at an early age that when you have an important message, you need to spread the word!

3) The climate change journal is a great idea. Requiring the kids to monitor the air quality each day allows them to really notice when the air quality is poor. They’ll most likely to continue noting the quality of the air each day, simply by habit. You can stay current on air quality with our widget, located on our Web site.

2) This project was very hands-on. Instead of being told that idling releases carbon pollution into the air, they measured the pollution. Instead of being told that typical vehicle occupancy is one person, they did a survey and found out for themselves.

1) Kids don’t learn enough about the negative effect vehicles can have on air quality. Because they can’t drive yet, we assume that we don’t need to teach them. I think if people are taught clean-air actions early, they are more likely to incorporate them into their daily lives. It’s a lot easier to start off with good habits than it is to change bad ones. These students are likely to remember what they have learned from this video project once they begin driving. They know now to carpool when possible, to stop idling, etc. Hopefully, these actions will be incorporated automatically into their driving habits.

All you teachers and parents – take a lesson from this lesson. Make sure your kids know about transportation and air pollution. They are, after all, the drivers of the future.

Amanda Moss, Clean Air NY Outreach Coordinator.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Your Clean Air Actions Can Help Increase the IQ of New York Children…

Today, an interesting – and disheartening – study was released by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health. The study followed 249 pregnant New York City women and tracked the quality of the air they would breathe each day through a backpack air quality monitor. Five years later, their children were given an IQ test. The study showed that the children of mothers who were exposed to a higher level of air pollution scored significantly lower than those whose mothers were exposed to less air pollution.

Don’t worry – according to Dr. Michael Msall, a pediatrician with the University of Chicago, the study doesn’t mean that children exposed to air pollution "aren't going to learn to read and write and spell."

However, while the study may not mean that poor air quality = low IQ, it does show that it is most likely an influence of some kind.

The study points to vehicle exhaust as the primary source of the air pollution that the pregnant mothers were exposed to. This just reiterates the importance of our simple, everyday clean air actions.

It seems that we can add pregnant mothers to the list of groups that are most at-risk to the negative effects of poor air quality (already on the list: children, teens, senior citizens, people with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory issues, diabetes, or other chronic health problems). These groups should be most careful on Air Quality Action Days, and try and stay indoors whenever possible.

What else can we do? Next time you go to a fast food restaurant, go inside instead of idling your car in the drive-thru window. Take the train instead of driving. Carpool with a friend whenever you can – you’ll get to use the HOV lane and you’ll cut back on vehicle exhaust emissions.

These actions – as we now know – can help all New Yorkers – even the ones who haven’t been born yet!

Amanda Moss, Clean Air NY Marketing and Outreach Coordinator.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Get Some Relief from the Heat of High Gas Prices and Clean Our Air of Excess Pollutants: Dive into Carpooling!

Finally, summer has embraced New York's metro area! It's time for family picnics in parks, outdoor parties, relaxing in hammocks, sports and other exercise outdoors. During the warm summer days, we feel good to be outside and filling our lungs with some fresh air. However, New York's air needs to be healthier.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York's downstate region does not meet federal standards for air quality. As indicated by EPA tests, the air has harmful pollutants, a risk not only to sensitive groups, such as people with asthma or emphysema, but to those without health problems. Studies have also shown that pollutants can aggravate symptoms in people with pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.

The increasing numbers of people with respiratory problems signal that something is stirring in our air, even if some people do not think there are harmful effects.

Our cars are major contributors to air pollution. Most people believe that a single car is not going to make a difference, so they choose to drive by themselves. But each car that is on the road is releasing pollutants, and too many cars equal air pollution. How do we solve this problem? By jumping into something that some New Yorkers may be wary of - carpooling.

If more of us carpooled to work or to our summer activities, we'd experience some great benefits - fuel bills would be cut; there would be less wear and tear on our cars; there would be fewer cars on the road and, thus, less traffic; passengers would catch up on reading, e-mails or shut-eye; and our air would be healthier.

Some might think the idea of carpooling and not being in control of our own transit would feel like a nuisance. We might fear being at work, far from home and needing to get back home in case of an emergency and having no transportation. That is why your local transportation management association (TMA) offers a guaranteed ride home program that allows employees paid rides in the event that their transportation from work is unavailable. For more information, visit your appropriate TMA's Web site:
These organizations also help commuters enter the carpooling system, linking people who want to carpool with others in their area. To find a carpool partner or vanpool in your area, visit

When comparing carpooling to driving alone, carpooling is the more environmentally friendly option. High-occupancy vehicle lanes on some major highways allow passenger cars with at least two people to travel amid less congestion. Some people may love the comfort of their own cars for various reasons, but try stepping away from your comfort zone and carpool for the greater good.

Take some relief from the heat of high gas prices and clean up the air that we breathe - it's time to dive into carpooling!

Guest blog by Jessica Wade, Clean Air NY/MetroPool summer intern.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Combine Errands – Combat Air Pollution and Climate Change

There are many terms related to “going green” that some people may not understand. However, saving energy is one concept we all comprehend, not just power or fuel, but your own personal energy.

One way to conserve your own energy is to combine your errands into one car trip. At first glance, this may seem obvious, but it is something that we often neglect to do.
For example, in the past – prior to starting my internship with Clean Air NY – if I had errands to do after work, my exhaustion would get the best of me; since I was ready to get out of my work clothes and high heels and into my yoga sweats, I would bypass the supermarket, the bank and gas station and just head home. Having a car, I could do that. Sound familiar?

It is easy to get caught up in a convenient lifestyle we can enjoy. But it takes just a little extra effort to make those conscious decisions, like holding off on swapping your stilettos for your favorite flip-flops so you can complete a few errands before driving home.

The message at the very heart of Clean Air NY’s mission is that there are little things we can do in our everyday life that do not cost an arm and a leg and that, in fact, will help you save money, time and energy. By combining errands, Clean Air NY’s simplest and most popular call to action, you also can help reduce the harmful effects of climate change. (See picture above of Clean Air NY's bus ad that are running throughout the NY downstate region).

It’s so important to make smart travel choices because the emissions from millions of cars in New York affect you, your family and friends. We should all be concerned about the estimated 370,000 children (NYS Department of Health Asthma Surveillance Summary report, 2005) who can’t breathe properly on Air Quality Action Days because the air quality in the New York metro area is deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Be smart, plan ahead and combine your errands into one car trip. That’s what I’ve started to do after learning the benefits from Clean Air NY.

To find out more about simple changes to your driving habits that can help reduce the harmful effects of climate change, visit

Guest Blogger: Thea Charles, Clean Air NY/MetroPool summer intern.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why All Drivers Should Avoid Idling...

Clean Air NY encourages alternatives to driving, promoting healthier air through biking, mass transit and reduced vehicle use. But — sometimes — even the best of us give in to the convenience of a car. When driving, alone or (we hope!) in a carpool or vanpool, you can lower your vehicle’s impact. One easy way is to reduce idling.

We idle anytime we leave the engine running while the car isn’t in use. Many New Yorkers idle based on misinformation regarding fuel consumption and engine wear. We’ve heard that stopping and restarting our car wastes more gas, harms the engine and prevents the car from warming up properly.

But these false assumptions often skim over the negative effects of idling. Our vehicles, our air and our wallets feel the costs on a regular basis:
- In addition to soot and smog-forming particles, idling vehicles produce about 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
- Fuel cannot combust completely in idling vehicles, so idling engines experience increased corrosion along with general wear-and-tear.
- An idling car or truck can waste between $62 and $529 of gas each year (based on current prices).

Most idling myths don’t hold up with today’s vehicles. Allowing your car to idle for more than 10 seconds actually wastes more fuel than restarting the engine. Idling in cold weather is unnecessary: Cars actually warm up more thoroughly when driven slowly and carefully for the first few minutes. Additional engine use and increased fuel consumption far outweigh the costs of wear-and-tear from restarts.

The good news: Reducing idling is simple and translates to real environmental, health and financial benefits for drivers. Most of us idle without a second thought—in the drive-through lane, at railroad crossings or while waiting to pick up a passenger. By cutting off such habits, you can save gas and improve New York’s air quality.

So stop and think next time you’ll be stopped for a bit. Shut off the engine. Step outside and breathe in the healthier air that you’re helping create.

Interested in learning more?
Idle-Free NYC:
Environmental Defense Fund: “Idling Gets You Nowhere”

For more information on other things you can do to improve NY’s air quality, please visit:

Guest Blogger: Sarah Tansey, Clean Air NY/CommuterLink summer intern.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air Week, Day 5- Nassau County Press Conference

Check out the Clean Air NY press release with snippets of the press conference with Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi:

The American Lung Association, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County and Long Island Transportation Management were there as well and they have all committed to cleaner air and you should too, visit!

Jessica S. Horne, Clean Air NY Marketing and Outreach Associate.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air, Day 4 - Penn Station

The Clean Air NY Street Team and Cloud were planning to have a big day walking around New York City, hanging out in Central Park and visiting commuters in Penn Station. Unfortuantely because of the rainy weather, the team was only able to be in Penn Station. The fews hours spent there were very successful though, because the team was able to educate the public about New York's air quality and thank them for taking public transit.

Commit to Cleaner Air, visit

Jessica S. Horne, Clean Air NY Marketing and Outreach Associate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air Week, Day 3 – White Plains Transit Center and Northern Westchester Hospital

The Clean Air NY Cloud welcomed train and bus passengers as they departed and arrived at the White Plains Transit Center. Train and bus riders told the Clean Air NY Street Team that their morning commute on mass transit is a stress-free experience. They find themselves reading a good book, listening to their music or just closing their eyes for a relaxing nap. And today, seeing the Clean Air NY Cloud was a special treat as they Committed to Cleaner Air in New York!

The Cloud and Street Team headed to Northern Westchester Hospital, a Clean Air NY Champion to celebrate the week with Cloud Cake and a fun trivia game for the visitors and employees! The Clean Air Cloud visited Northern Westchester Hospital’s VIP parking lot for carpoolers which was full of cars (carpoolers pictured above)! In addition, more than 50 individual partners committed to cleaner air!

If you spotted the cloud, post your picture on Clean Air NY’s Facebook Page:!

Jessica S. Horne, Clean Air NY Outreach and Marketing Associate.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air Week, Day 2 - Subway Ride & Clean Air NY Champion NY Methodist Hospital Event

Day 2 of Commit to Cleaner Air Week -- the Clean Air NY Cloud (who still needs a name - e-mail ideas to rode the "B" subway from 86th Street and Central Park West downtown and transferred at Rockefeller Center to the "F" train to Park Slope, Brooklyn! A great example of how easy mass transit is!

The Clean Air NY Street Team continued to celebrate Commit to Cleaner Air Week with Clean Air NY Champion New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn! At the hospital Clean Air NY gave out blue colored cotton candy to employees and visitors in honor of Commit to Clean Air Week which was a hit. The Clean Air NY Cloud also visited the children's out patient waiting room where we gave the children coloring books about improving New York’s air quality.

Clean Air NY successfully got almost 100 Methodist employees and visitors to commit to cleaner air!

You should commit to cleaner air too! To learn more about Commit to Cleaner Air Week visit

Jessica S. Horne, Marketing and Outreach Associate of Clean Air NY.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air Week, Day 1 - NBC's Today Show and Grand Central Terminal

Clean Air NY kicked off Commit to Cleaner Air week outside of The Today Show studios in Rockefeller Center. As the camera spanned the audience outside, millions of viewers, nationally, caught a glimpse of how important it is to improve the air quality in New York State’s downstate region.

After our Today Show spotting, the Clean Air NY Street Team, along with our new Clean Air NY mascot made our way across town – carpooling of course – to Grand Central Terminal (the quintessential hub of New York public transit). At Grand Central, the Clean Air NY Cloud entertained hundreds of people commuting to and from work, while the street team spoke to dozens of people about committing to cleaner air. New Yorkers were interested in learning how to reduce their carbon footprint and Clean Air NY had just the answer! We explained to them that it is as simple as making smart travel choices – carpooling, taking public transit or biking, especially on air quality action days!

Want to learn more about Commit to Cleaner Air Week? Visit

Jessica S. Horne, Marketing and Outreach Associate of Clean Air NY.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Commit to Cleaner Air Week, June 15-19

Monday, June 15 kicks off "Commit to Cleaner Air" Week-- Spot the Cloud mascot, post your photo on Facebook, e-mail name suggestions for our mascot to, or post it on Facebook for a chance to win FREE Metrocards!

Check back throughout the week for more updates!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Understand the State of Air in New York, American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report Cites New York’s Poor Air Quality

(An interactive map, showing air quality data by county, finds 22 out of the 33 counties with air-quality monitors received failing grades).

On April 28, the American Lung Association released its 10th annual State of the Air report. According to the report, more than 12.5 million New Yorkers - a stunning 65 percent of the state’s residents - live in counties where air pollution levels endanger lives.

Applying new, stricter federal standards, the report found that New Yorkers are breathing in dangerously high levels of both particulate matter and ozone. And this is particularly troublesome for the 1.6 million New Yorkers who suffer from asthma, as ozone and particle pollution are to blame for many of these respiratory conditions. American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report Cites New York’s Poor Air Quality.

New York City ranks 17th on the top-25 list of most polluted U.S. cities by ozone; 16th on the top-25 list of cities most polluted by short-term particle pollution; and 22nd on the top-25 list of cities most polluted by year-round particle pollution.

Breathing in high levels of ozone could injure your lungs like sunburn and could lead to coughing and asthma attacks; in severe cases, high levels of ozone could send people to the emergency room or even lead to premature death.

Particle pollution, on the other hand, involves microscopic solids – such as tiny bits of dust or soot. These microscopic particles are 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair and can penetrate the body’s natural defense systems. When inhaled, these tiny particles get trapped in the lungs’ deepest parts. The effect of particle pollution is like rubbing sandpaper on the lungs’ tissue. Research proves that people with chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are at an increased risk of death when particle pollution is high.

Please spread the word to your friends and family on how everyone can help make New York’s air healthier by making simple changes to transportation habits. The American Lung Association in New York works closely with Clean Air NY to educate the public on how to improve air quality in the metro New York area. To learn more, visit

We know that air quality is not going to improve on its own, so the American Lung Association in New York, along with Clean Air NY, will continue fighting for air. Hopefully, all of New York will someday receive an A for air quality.

Guest blogger: Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications, American Lung Association in New York.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

National Bike to Work Day 15 Inspired This Commuter to Become A Biker

Do you have a bike in your garage that you've wanted to use now that the weather is warmer? Well, if you’re like me, I had been waiting for the right time and found it just recently. My company participated in National Bike to Work Day on May 15 by setting up a competition among offices to see which one could get the most people to bike to work. Some of my colleagues ride in every day, but I was new to biking and not sure I was ready for the challenge. When a colleague told me about all the reasons biking is so good for me and my surroundings, I couldn't say no. Did you know that a short, four-mile round trip by bike keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe? Even our small steps can make a big difference!

Aside from the environmental benefits, I saved money on my commute (no stops at the pump to fill up on gas!) and felt a fresh, energetic start to the day. Biking to and from work is now my mode of exercise; did you know that a 130-pound cyclist burns 402 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour? By biking to work, I found that I felt healthier, saved money and improved the air quality in my region. Grab your bike out of the garage and get on the road!

Guest Blogger, Ryan Thompson, Clean Air NY individual partner.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Clean Air NY Launches Our Clean Air NY Mascot

Clean Air NY launched our new mascot at the American Lung Association Asthma Walk in Battery Park City on Saturday, May 30. Over the next three weeks our mascot will be on a road trip around the NY Downstate Region - Lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City. Check Clean Air NY's events page on our website ( to track the mascot's road trip. If you spot the mascot, take a picture of it or with it and upload it to the Clean Air NY Facebook Events Page ( by choosing to attend the event and then click the Add Photos link to upload your pictures and enter to win a free Metrocard.
And there is one more thing... we need your help, OUR MASCOT NEEDS A NAME! Help Clean Air NY name our mascot by entering the "Name the Clean Air NY Mascot" contest. E-mail your mascot name ideas to If your name is picked by the New York State Department of Transportation, you will win a free public transportation pass around the NY metro area!

To learn more about Clean Air NY or to sign up to receive real-time Air Quality Action Day Updates visit!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Choosing Travel Options Friendly to Air Quality All the Time

Choosing travel options that are friendly to air quality is about more than our commute to and from work. It includes trips to concerts, Broadway shows, dinners, nightclubs, Yankees or Mets games and other special events.

Speaking of baseball, we recently went to a game at the new Yankee Stadium. A friend asked me where I parked and wasn't it a nightmare? In fact, we took a relaxing train ride and connected with an express subway to the Bronx. It dropped us off right outside the ball park.

All in all, we reduced our driving travel for the evening by more than 70 miles, eliminated the stress of Friday-night-game traffic, avoided the parking hassle and helped improve air quality, all with one simple travel choice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Is An Air Quality Action Day?

Air Quality Action Days are announced when air quality is predicted to be in the unhealthy range, in parts or all of the New York metropolitan area. This affects everyone, especially sensitive groups such as those with heart and lung problems or asthma, the elderly and children. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for analyzing air pollution data and forecasts whether air quality will approach or exceed unhealthy levels. Based on these forecasts, the New York State Department of Transportation issues an Air Quality Action Day and Clean Air NY sends an update to our network. On these days, all of us in the New York metro area are asked to make a special effort – such as driving less – to reduce activities that contribute to air pollution.

These are days that are all about making smart travel choices.

Here is a to-do list on an Air Quality Action Day:

* Stay Indoors. Seize the opportunity to catch up on the television programs you recorded, to play board games with your family or to finish that book you started months ago.
Limit Driving. Reschedule your trips and errands to another day, if possible. If you must travel, try to limit driving and engine idling; even better -- don’t drive and work from home.
* Refuel After Dark. Filling your tank in the evening prevents certain pollutants from being emitted that react with sunlight and heat to create ground-level ozone.
* Combine Trips. You can save time while you are improving the air. Instead of going home after work and then back out to the gym or to the grocery store, plan ahead and combine your errands into one trip, even on the weekends.
*Bike, Walk or Use Public Transit. Forgoing your car just one day a week for a year could save about 1,000 miles on the vehicle and $500 in total driving costs.1 You’ll not only gain extra money but all the health benefits from walking or biking as you help to reduce air pollution.
*Share a Ride. Whenever possible, share a ride by carpooling or vanpooling to your destination. To find a carpool partner or vanpool, visit

The forecast for an Air Quality Action Day typically is determined a day ahead of the actual day. Clean Air NY will alert you to an upcoming Air Quality Action Day through an Air Quality Action Day Update. The update will arrive via e-mail or text message with information on how to improve air quality and to avoid air pollution effects on the Action Day.

May usually begins the season for Air Quality Action Days, so be sure to sign up today to receive your updates from Clean Air NY by visiting or text air to 42269. We also suggest that you start trying the travel behaviors we’ve outlined now to be ready when Air Quality Action Days are announced.

Jessica Horne is Marketing and Outreach Associate of Clean Air NY.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day from Clean Air NY!

Fun Facts for Earth Day, April 22, 2009
  • Earth Day began on April 22, 1970, when then-U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., proposed a nationwide grassroots movement to raise awareness of environmental issues after an oil spill off the California coast. The first Earth Day drew 20 million American participants.
  • By the end of 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act and established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • According to Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people in 174 countries now participate in activities to celebrate Earth Day – making it the largest secular civic event in the world!
  • In many elementary schools, Earth Day is the third most commonly celebrated holiday – after Halloween and Christmas.

Check out our Latest Events page to find Clean Air NY at all kinds of great Earth Day events!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

EPA's New Report Finds that Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare

EPA has declared greenhouse gases a health threat – perhaps the first step in regulation of these pollutants. The EPA press release states that "The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant."

This will also increase the amount of Air Quality Action Days, that is why it is so important to join the Clean Air NY network and learn how you can improve the air quality and lessen the harmful effects of climate change. Join Clean Air NY by texting AIR to 42269 or visit

To learn more visit EPA's website --

Jessica Horne, Marketing and Outreach Associate, Clean Air NY.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What is the Relationship Between Climate, Weather, Air Quality and Health?

Monday, March 23rd was World Meteorological Day, and the theme was the relationship between climate, weather, air quality and health. In response, the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization put out a warning that about two million people die prematurely every year due to air pollution. The World Meteorological Organization’s Secretary-General says "For the air quality, what we are talking about is not only the sort of traditional pollutants as you could imagine them," he noted. "But, it is also many of the gases, which are the greenhouse gases that are also influencing the quality of the air when they are abundant in the lower atmosphere." To read more, please visit:

Clean Air NY is an initiative sponsored by the NY State Department of Transportation in support of regionwide air quality efforts. Clean Air NY’s network of individuals and businesses believes that every person has the power to help make New York’s air healthier and protect our community from the effects of climate change. In an effort to reduce vehicle miles traveled, Clean Air NY educates the public on simple changes to everyday travel choices and provides real-time updates on Air Quality Action Days via text messaging, e-mail and media notifications. To learn more, visit

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ozone Pollution Amplifies Risk of Fatal Respiratory Illnesses

A study was recently released by the New England Journal of Medicine showing the deadly effects of long-term exposure to ozone pollution. The study followed almost 450,000 Americans in 96 metropolitan areas and results showed that exposure to ozone pollution increases deaths from respiratory diseases.

In the USA Today Article below, Ms. Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President of National Policy and Advocacy for the American Lung Association, was quoted as saying “the study shows yet another way that air pollution can harm public health.”

This further strengthens the importance of public service initiatives such as Clean Air NY. Sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation, Clean Air NY is a network of individuals, employers, employees, and community organizations in the New York metro area committed to the idea that every person can take part in making our air cleaner and healthier.

Some of the actions that Clean Air NY is taking include:

* Sending real-time Air Quality Action Day updates via text messages and e-mail notifications on days when air quality is forecasted to be in the unhealthy range.

* Working with employers, community groups, universities, and the general public to promote alternative travel behaviors such as taking mass transit, trip chaining, carpooling, bicycling and walking, especially on Air Quality Action Days.

* Partnering with local transportation management associations and organizations to help New Yorkers find alternative, "greener" transportation options - including a free carpool matching service

For a copy of the full USA Today article, check out:

Ozone Pollution Amplifies Risk of Fatal Respiratory Illnesses
By Liz Szabo, USA Today

For a copy of the New England Journal of Medicine abstract, check out:

New York City Strengthens Anti-Idling Laws

Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation reducing the amount of time that vehicles can idle near schools and expanding the city's enforcement of idling laws. Under the new law, which does not apply to emergency service vehicles, the legal idling time is reduced from three minutes to one minute. The law also encourages greater public awareness by requiring that applicants for licenses to operate for–hire vehicles demonstrate their knowledge of idling laws.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund's August 2008 report Idling Gets You Nowhere, idling cars and trucks in New York City annually produce 760 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, the equivalent of 3,000 large trucks each driving one million miles. They also produce 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Citywide, idling also wastes on average 14,000 gallons of gasoline and 11,000 gallons of diesel each day.

Debunking 5 Myths about Idling
  1. Idling does not warm up the engine efficiently or effectively.
  2. Although idling powers heating and cooling systems, it creates harmful in–cabin pollution.
  3. Idling does not reduce engine and ignition starter wear compared with restarting.
  4. Restarting the engine does not require more fuel if the vehicle will be stopped for more than ten seconds.
  5. Running the engine will not avoid a ticket by creating the appearance that the driver is not parked or will return shortly – it is still a violation of New York City and State law.

To sign up for real-time Air Quality Action Day updates, text AIR to 42269 or visit

Clean Air NY is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation in support of regionwide air-quality efforts.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Telecommuter Appreciation Week

The American Telecommuting Association (ATA) has declared this week, March 1 - March 7, 2009, “Telecommuter Appreciation Week,” honoring Alexander Graham Bell, whose birthday is March 3.

Clean Air NY is celebrating “Telecommuter Appreciation Week” by saluting all the telecommuters in the New York metro area. Since their only commute is from room to room, they are improving New York’s air quality by reducing vehicle miles traveled.

The ATA listed the three main benefits of telecommuting. Clean Air NY especially appreciates #3:

1. The individual and family benefit from saved time, lower commuting expenses, reduced stress, more scheduling flexibility, greater satisfaction regarding work and the pleasure in spending more time together.
2. The employer benefits from greater productivity, loyalty and job satisfaction, a stronger focus on job performance, better recruiting and longer retention of the most productive employees and reduced overhead and facility expenses.
3. Society as a whole benefits from reduced traffic congestion, minimized air pollution, lower requirements for (and strain on) transportation infrastructure and decreased demand for scarce and nonrenewable resources, such as fossil fuels.

CA, Inc. of Islandia, NY, one of the world's largest IT management software providers based in New York, recently implemented its “Flexible Workplace Program.” Long Island Transportation Management Inc. (LITM) assisted CA in establishing this program, which enables qualified employees to forego commuting to work and allows them to work from home. Clean Air NY recognized CA’s telecommuting initiative and honored it as a 2008 Clean Air NY Champion. CA's Joe Archila, vice president of human resources programs, said, “We feel strongly about offering our employees air quality-friendly and healthy commute options. It not only helps to improve our air quality, but it also helps our company attract and retain top talent while enhancing productivity.”

Andrea Vera, operations manager of CommuterLink offered this advice: “Telecommuting is not suitable to every job, person or situation. The decision has to be mutually agreed upon between the employer and employee, the job has to be conducive to working remotely and the home office must have the appropriate equipment (computer, phone, fax, printer, copier, etc.)” Check out the telecommute section of CommuterLink’s Web site for more telecommuting tips.

Another suggestion? A company could allow telecommuting specifically on air quality action days, when ground-level ozone levels are at their highest. On those days, it is crucial to drive less to avoid worsening the already poor air quality. To find out more about air quality action days and to receive updates when they occur, please visit

If you would like to use the momentum of Telecommute Appreciation Week to establish a telecommute program at your company or would like to propose this idea to your human resources department, please reference MetroPool’s telecommute resources.

For more information on telecommuting in:

· Long Island, contact LITM.
· Lower Hudson Valley, contact MetroPool.
· New York City, contact CommuterLink.

Happy Telecommuter Appreciation Week!

Jessica Horne is Marketing and Outreach Associate of Clean Air NY.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Where in New York has Clean Air NY been spreading the word?

Despite the cold outside, we can still do our part to clean our air! During January and February, Clean Air NY has promoted smart travel choices that everyone can make to improve New York’s air quality. We’ve been carpooling or taking public transit (always practicing what we preach – see page 3 of Clean Air Connections) to events, meetings and presentations all over the New York metro area.

Since air quality affects everyone, Clean Air NY’s outreach is aimed at educating all sectors of society. We’ve been really busy doing just that! The following activity highlights will show what Clean Air NY has been up to in these past several weeks:

· January 23 – Attended the Queens Green Business Summit. After speaking with representatives from various Queens-based businesses, we learned many people are choosing smarter, greener ways to commute, but more outreach is needed. Therefore, we signed up 25 companies and 30 individuals to join the Clean Air NY Network. These environmentally conscious businesses have committed to assist Clean Air NY in telling their co-workers, friends and family members that simple changes in their commuting habits can improve our air quality.

· January 28 – Presented to the Riverhead Town Energy Advisory Committee. They were intrigued to learn during our “We Can All Make a Difference” presentation that driving one mile in your car releases the equivalent of a one-pound brick of carbon dioxide into the air and it takes one tree one month to turn that one-pound brick of carbon dioxide into oxygen.

· January 31 – Attended the Bedford Environmental Summit (where we saw journalist Bob Woodruff and actor Chevy Chase!). We told many of the 1,000 attendees to avoid topping off their gas tanks because that simple act would improve their air quality. To learn more simple steps to achieve cleaner air, check out Clean Air NY: Everyday Choices Make a Difference.

· February 4 – Participated in four area colleges’ National Teach-In on Global Warming; they included Bard College, Marist College, Purchase College and Queens College. Roger Drew, New York Public Interest Research Group Project Coordinator at Purchase College, said: "The participation of Clean Air NY and MetroPool really enhanced our Sustainability Fair. The Fair was part of the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions and Clean Air NY and MetroPool's presence allowed dozens of students to stop by and learn about steps they can take to lead a more environmentally sustainable life by making smart travel choices."

· February 17 – Presented at the Rockland Business Association’s (RBA) Green Council Meeting. Clean Air NY launched our Clean Air NY Champion initiative to dozens of businesses in Rockland County. More about the Clean Air NY Champion initiative is here.

These activities resulted in 250 new individuals and 50 new businesses joining the Clean Air NY Network. So can you! To join the Clean Air NY Network and to receive real-time air-quality action day updates, visit or text AIR to 42269.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Helping Our Loved Ones by Reducing Air Pollution

Air quality in the New York area really hits home for me. I’ve lived here my entire life. I had my first bout with asthma when I was 12 years old. Now I have a son who is 5 years old. He had his first bout with asthma when he was 2. My daughter just turned 2 years old, and I’m really worried about her. As you can see, I’m a concerned parent.

This past summer, I was in Atlanta and heard a fascinating story about the health effects of air quality. In 1996, in preparation for the Summer Olympics, Atlanta planners banned single-occupancy vehicles (cars traveling with just a driver and no passengers) from traveling on the roads around the Olympic village. Only people taking transit, carpooling, biking or walking were allowed into the area. As a result, during the weeks of the Olympic games pediatric asthma-related hospital admissions dropped by more than 40 percent. Fewer cars likely led to healthier children.

If we all make small changes to our daily travel routines, it could make a big difference in our air quality and the air that our loved ones breathe. Instead of driving alone, we encourage you to carpool, ride a bike, take the train or a bus and combine your daily errands. Every little bit helps.

Frank Mongioi is the Clean Air NY Marketing and Outreach Manager.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Make the Most of Your Commute During Time Management Month

Did you know that February is Time Management Month? Did you also know that, on average, New Yorkers spend 312 hours each year commuting to work? With all those hours spent commuting, February is a great time to find ways to better manage your time and to get more done on your commute. Here are a few ways you can ease your commute and accomplish other tasks along the way:

  • Take public transportation to work. You can get some work done on the train before arriving at the office. By avoiding traffic, you’ll be less stressed and ready to get your day started.
  • Telecommute whenever possible. Working from home can increase productivity by eliminating your commute and your normal office distractions.
  • Carpool with co-workers. By riding to work with colleagues, you can “talk shop” in the car and perhaps avoid having another meeting in the office.

  • Combine car trips. Get more done after work by running all your errands on the way home.
  • Bike or walk to work. You’ll save time by getting your workout in while you commute. You won’t have to go to the gym before or after work.
Intrigued? Why don’t you try one or all of these ideas just a few times this month and see how much time you can save? You’ll feel less stressed and want to continue these great practices throughout the year.

Want to learn more ways to ease your commute? Visit or go to to plan your transit or carpool route.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Clean Air NY Jumps Into 2009 With Web 2.0

It’s an ever-changing world on the Internet with new social media technologies coming online every day. In late 2008, Clean Air NY took the plunge into Web 2.0, and we now have several ways for you to interact with us, including pages on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

  • Facebook: Become a fan of our Clean Air NY group and share us with your friends, discuss your favorite tips for cleaner, healthier air in New York and find out if it’s an Air Quality Action Day.

  • YouTube: Visit our Clean Air NY channel to listen to our radio ads and watch our 30-second video clip that aired on Good Morning America, as well as other videos on green topics.

  • Clean Air NY Blog: If you’re reading this, you’ve already found our blog. We’ll be posting regularly with the latest news, tips and information from Clean Air NY.

  • Twitter: Follow Clean Air NY on Twitter and receive tweets from us when there’s an Air Quality Action Day.

  • Flickr: See pictures of events attended by our Clean Air NY Outreach Team.

These platforms will provide you with lots of ways to get information from us on simple changes that you can make to improve New York’s air quality and reduce driving. They’ll also give you more ways to find out if the air quality in the New York metro area is forecast to be unhealthy.

In addition, we will be launching several new features on the Clean Air NY Web site this year. Here are just a few of the improvements:

  • Improved site organization.
  • New searh functionality.
  • Links to our blog and other social networking sites.
  • Daily tips on reducing vehicle miles and related topics.
  • Updates on Clean Air NY events.
  • Widgets to download to your desktop.

Now, why are you still sitting there looking at this blog?!? Click on any of the links above to get more involved with Clean Air NY today!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Green Your Valentine’s Day

It’s February, which means that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This holiday brings out the romantic in some and strikes fear in the hearts of others! Regardless of how you feel, it’s a great time to show your love for our planet as well as the special people in your life.

With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to have a green Valentine’s Day:

  • Take transit to meet your date. Riding the subway to meet your date may not sound romantic, but who wants to sit in traffic on Valentine’s Day? Take public transit to meet up with your date and avoid the headaches caused by backups and bad drivers. If you work on Valentine’s Day (it’s a Saturday), plan ahead of time to go directly from work to meet your date rather than stopping at home first. You’ll save time and get to see your sweetie faster.

  • Eat near home. Select a local restaurant and walk there, if possible. Valentine’s Day is a great time to eat at that little neighborhood cafĂ© that you’ve always wanted to try. And, what’s more romantic than holding hands with your sweetheart during the stroll to dinner? If you do drive, choosing a nearby location will let you spend more quality time with your Valentine and less time in the car.

  • Send an e-card or make a card. Skip a trip to the card store and send your special someone an e-card. Afraid your sweetheart won’t go for an e-card? Make him or her a card using items you have at home, like old photographs or movie stubs from past dates. Your Valentine will appreciate the effort, and you’ll save time and money.

  • Buy local flowers or plants. Many flowers used in bouquets are shipped in from far-flung locations, causing lots of air pollution along the way. In addition, most people throw away the flowers after a few days. As an alternative, either buy locally grown flowers (preferably organically grown flowers from your local farmers’ market) or give your sweetie a flowering plant that he or she can continue to enjoy throughout the year.

These are just a few ideas for making February 14 a little greener. If you have any other tips or advice, we’d love to hear about them!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Still Time to Make Green NY’s Resolutions

If you’re anything like me, then by now you may have already broken some of your New Year’s resolutions. That’s OK; it happens to the best of us. Just remind yourself that nearly an entire year still lies ahead of you, so there’s plenty of time to renew your resolutions or think of new ones that are easier to follow. If you do this, it’s the perfect time to combine your traditional resolutions with ways to be a little greener in 2009.

That’s what I’m doing. I first found some helpful tips on various Web sites, including U.S. News and World Report’s “Fresh Greens” blog—
Green New Year's Resolutions: Transportation. I then used these tips to put a green spin on my original resolutions. Here are my redefined resolutions, which are hopefully going to make me a better person in 2009 and make New York a cleaner, greener place!

  • Lose weight. I will walk and/or bike around town more. Using these modes of transportation will not only burn calories during my commute but also help the environment by taking a car off the road.

  • Save money. I will purchase a monthly MetroCard and promise to take the bus or subway whenever possible rather than spending money on a taxi cab.
  • Spend more time with family. I will see my family more this year. To get more quality time with my sister (who lives across town), I’ve decided that when we venture across the river to see our parents in the ‘burbs, we should carpool. We can spend time together and improve New York's air quality.

  • Use my time wisely. I’ll start planning ahead to get things done more efficiently. This means that when I use a Zipcar, I’ll combine all of my errands into one trip. I can save on car-sharing fees and reduce pollution.

  • Meet new people. If all else fails and I can’t ride my bike, walk or take the subway, bus or carpool, I will try to use I can share a taxi with fellow New Yorkers and meet new people.

As you can see, my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions will help me and the environment. And, if you need any more incentive to follow through on your resolutions, take a look at this recent article in The Washington Post, which says that cleaner air can lead to a longer life.

So what can you do to spruce up or renew your New Year’s resolutions to make them easier to follow and a bit greener?

Jessica Horne, a Clean Air NY marketing associate, lives and breathes in New York.