Monday, November 28, 2011

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Holiday Shopping

Shopping Mallimage by kevinspencer used under Creative Commons license

Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Here are some helpful tips that will help you reduce air pollution and improve air quality while you’re shopping this holiday season, but they can be used any time of the year to make a difference to our environment!

Vehicle travel is a primary source of air pollution in the New York metro area, accounting for roughly one-third of all pollution in our air. This means driving less is one of the easiest ways to improve air quality; shop online for your holiday gifts instead of driving to the store for an excellent alternative that will help reduce air pollution.

For people who are committed to shopping locally, there are ways to optimize your trips to minimize the impact they have on air quality. Plan ahead and combine, as much as possible, all of your shopping tasks into one trip and do any other errands while you’re out. This eliminates excess driving and helps keep your engine warm so that it operates more efficiently, saving money on gas!

Finding parking spaces near a store entrance often can be difficult. This leads many drivers to circle the parking lot looking for a space, with their vehicles unnecessarily emitting harmful pollution into the air the entire time. Rather than circling the lot looking for a closer space, just park in the first open spot you see and walk the short distance to the entrance. More people likely would get inside faster if they park in the first open spot they find.

Lastly, if you have to stop for gas while you’re out, remember not to top off your gas tank — stop at the click. It may surprise you to know that topping off your tank causes harmful gasoline fumes to escape into the air. The gas pump is equipped with a sensor that stops it from pumping when there is just enough extra space in the gas tank to hold these fumes. If you continue pumping gas into the tank after the pump stops itself, there is nowhere for these fumes to go except out of the tank and into the air.

Follow these easy tips and you can help give the gift of cleaner air to New Yorkers everywhere this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Clean Air NY Has Plenty to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinnerimage by Helga's Lobster Stew used under Creative Commons license

Thanksgiving is a time for New Yorkers and Americans everywhere to leave our busy schedules to be with family and friends and to reflect on all we have to be grateful for in our lives. Here at Clean Air NY, we have plenty to be thankful for, both this year and years past. Most of all, we’re thankful for the tremendous support we get from the New Yorkers in our network. While we work hard to spread the message about improving air quality in the New York metro area, you are the ones going out and taking action. Our sincerest gratitude goes out to all of you for your effort and persistence in reducing air pollution here in New York!

Here are some other things for which Clean Air NY is thankful:

22,000 Facebook fans. This year we’ve added nearly 7,000 new “Likes” on our Facebook page, to exceed 22,000 in total. The outpouring of support for Clean Air NY on Facebook keeps growing and we couldn’t be happier. If you haven’t done so already, “Like” our page on Facebook now!

More than 8 million vehicle miles reduced each week. In 2009, a Clean Air NY survey tracked the impact of our outreach campaign. We found that, in 2009, Clean Air NY helped to reduce vehicle miles traveled in the New York metro area by approximately 8,414,523 each week! Our network of individual partners and allies (employers, colleges, community partners and Champions) has grown considerably in the past two years as well, so that number could be even larger now!

Fewer high air pollution days. The American Lung Association’s 2010 State of the Air report indicated that the New York metro area averages 26.5 fewer days with unhealthy levels of air pollution when compared to levels from the mid-1990s. The peak period for Air Quality Action Days has passed for this year; we have had just 13 so far. In 2010, there were 14 such days. It appears we’re moving in the right direction to reduce the number of days that air pollution reaches unhealthy levels.

Happy Thanksgiving from Clean Air NY!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skating in Central Park is Back Again this Holiday Season!

Wollman Rink Skaters

In what is becoming a holiday tradition, Clean Air NY and our mascot, Fresh, will once again be attending this year’s Skating in Central Park. The first 1,000 guests get free admission and a free ice skate rental, so make sure you come early!

When: Dec. 10 and 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Wollman Rink (Click for Google Map)

We also will be running several contests during both days of the event to give you the opportunity to win cool prizes from us. Make sure you RSVP to our event on Facebook, too.

Few things put us New Yorkers in the holiday spirit more than ice skating with our loved ones outside on a crisp winter afternoon, sharing a hot chocolate and a warm pretzel in between laps around the rink. So gather your family and friends and head down to Wollman Rink on Dec. 10-11. We'll see you there and be sure to take mass transit or carpool to the rink!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vote for Cleaner Air with Your Actions

I Voted! Stickerimage by Mortimer62 used under Creative Commons license

We can all cast a vote for cleaner air with our actions, because pollution affects every New Yorker. Reducing air pollution doesn’t need to be inconvenient, either. Simple actions and small changes to your transportation habits are all it takes to make a difference in air quality. Here are a few ways to show you care about cleaner air:

Eat Lunch at Work: Many people think of “brown bagging” as a way to save money. Not as many realize that it’s also a great way to reduce air pollution. If you bring your lunch to work and eat it there, or if your office has a cafeteria and that’s where you buy lunch, you will reduce vehicle emissions by not driving to dine out or to pick something up. It may not seem like much, but if you work in the suburban metro area and typically drive 10 miles round trip for lunch, five days a week, eating at your office instead on those days would eliminate about 100 pounds of air pollution every week!

Take Mass Transit: The New York metro area has one of the most extensive mass transit systems in the country, which makes it easy to get around without a car and to reduce your carbon footprint. In 2008, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) joined the Climate Registry, a nonprofit that provides standards for measuring greenhouse gas emissions. It determined that for every unit of carbon emitted by New York’s mass transit system, more than eight units are saved because of reduced driving by transit riders. This is the equivalent of every person who takes transit driving a car that gets 100 miles per gallon!

Combine Multiple Errands into One Trip: Combining multiple errands into a single trip is a simple habit you can develop to reduce air pollution. First, doing all of your errands at once reduces the number of miles you drive because you don’t make multiple trips down the same road. Combining your errands also keeps your engine warm, which allows it to operate better and improves fuel efficiency. Not only does combining errands lead to improved air quality, it saves you time and money on gas, too!