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!