The key to remember is that even small lifestyle changes can help improve the quality of our air. Here are a few ideas that you can commit to doing right now that will help get rid of that heavy grey layer of smog that we all dislike.
Try New Forms of Transportation
- Carpool: Instead of taking many car trips a day by yourself, try carpooling with your friends, family, or coworkers. This reduces the number of cars on the road, as well as creates time for you to connect with the people you like most each day.
- Public Transit: Switch out your car commute for a ride on the FrontRunner, Trax, or local bus system. Utah’s public transportation network is improving every year, giving you more options on how to get to work, school, or leisure activities. Ask your employer or school about discounted fare cards and check out where the “Free Fare Zones” are on UTA’s website. Public transit is a great option that can be easy on your wallet and the air we breathe. BONUS: You won’t have to search high and low for a parking space!
- Active transportation: Sometimes your final destination is just down the street. Instead of getting in your car, try walking past it and making your way to your destination by foot or bicycle. Your friends will likely be impressed with you, and you’ll feel great from the added exercise. (This option is really good for preventing pollution, but should be avoided on really poor air quality days.)
- Don’t “warm up” your car: It can be tempting on very cold mornings to let your car “warm up” a little before you get it. Resist the temptation. This adds unnecessary emissions into the air that you will eventually have to breathe. Try other ways of “warming up”. Make sure to always have an extra hat, scarf, and pair of gloves in the car that you can slip on at the beginning of your drive and slip off once your car is toasty warm.
- Try not to idle: Sometimes idling is unavoidable, but there are many situations where actually turning off your car is an easy option. For example, try turning off your car when you’re waiting to pick up your kids from after school activities. During warmer months, just roll down the window to catch a breeze and during colder months, put on your extra hat, scarf, and gloves mentioned above.
- Lower your thermostat: A lot of harmful emissions actually come from your house. A simple way to reduce household emissions is to lower your thermostat—even if it is just a few degrees. Slip on a sweater and delight in your efforts to improve your air quality.
Last but not least, encourage your friends and family to make changes that will impact Utah’s air quality in a positive way. You can challenge each other to start small—carpool once a week—and then take bigger steps as your good air quality activities become habits. The result will be cleaner air, and we all can support that.