Thursday, June 07, 2018

Reducing Air Pollutants Inside Your Home

(We have noted for many years that the answer to outdoor air pollution is not to stay inside. That remains true today: the best way to deal with air pollution is to reduce or eliminate harmful emissions.  As for indoor air, dirty air from the outside can enter your home.  And, as our friend Emily Folk notes below, there are other inside air issues to consider as well. Please note: going forward, Clean Air Watch will no longer accept guest posts. Many thanks to the many folks who have offered.)     

Your home may seem clean to you, but there’s a good chance that it’s not nearly as clean as you think. In fact, the EPA states that indoor air quality may be significantly worse than the air outside. That’s a serious problem, especially if you’re someone who suffers from allergies or if you spend a lot of time indoors. And let’s face it, pretty much everyone does.

Friday, May 04, 2018

How to Teach Children About Sustainability and Climate Change

[While debate on various environmental topics rages on in our nation's capital, a new generation is out there that -- we all hope -- can bring positive change.  Emily Folk takes a look at how to teach children about sustainability and climate change.]

If you teach a child about the importance of sustaining the planet for the long term from the time they are young, then worries about climate change will lessen. Greenhouse gas levels are higher than they've been in 800,000 years
Whether this is from natural causes, human impact, or a combination of both remains debatable.  [Editor’s note: The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that climate change ‘is largely caused by human activities.” ]

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

10 Tips to Start Your Eco-Friendly Way of Living

(If you are looking for make a positive personal impact on the environment -- especially with the U.S. EPA under its current management -- you might enjoy these ideas from Lily Kaligian.)

While climate change and environmental degradation may seem like issues that we can’t make a huge difference to as individuals, every choice we make can have an impact, no matter how small it might seem. Making more sustainable choices is an important part of having a more eco-friendly lifestyle and by just changing a few habits we can do our part for the environment. Here are ten tips to start living more a more eco-friendly life.

Monday, April 16, 2018

How the Food Industry is Contributing to Climate Change

(There is an old saying, "You Are What You Eat."  It might be worth recalling as you read this thought-provoking piece by Emily Folk.)

The food industry is a massive beast, despite there being food deserts, shortages and famines all over the globe. And that fact isn’t going to change any time soon. There are various aspects to the food industry that are contributing to climate change, and although not all of them stem directly from the industry’s rules and regulations, they do stem from the way we view food, especially in developed countries.

No matter which way you look at it, the food industry is impacting climate change. Everyone from small farmers to international fast-food chains is creating an uneven supply and demand that changes the way we view food, the way we eat it, and the impact it has on our lives. Worldwide, the agriculture industry produces about a third of our greenhouse gases. There are other ways to eat. Start by thinking about your food habits, and move forward from there. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NEWS FLASH! Important Comments from Our Friends at NRDC on EPA's Latest Rollback

New EPA Guidelines Will Worsen Air Pollution Across the U.S.

WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt today issued a memorandum that will allow industrial polluters to significantly increase air pollution that threatens public health nationwide.

Friday, March 09, 2018

5 Fantastic Careers to Consider If You Care About Clean Air

(We often hear from young people who want career advice.  Sarah Davies has some interesting suggestions in this post.)

Clean water and clean air are vital if we want the next generation of people to be able to truly live. These goals cannot be easily achieved without the passion and dedication of the people who work in the fields that make them possible. 
If you’re ready to change careers and find a position that engages your environmental concerns, consider working in clean air. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

7 Critical Air Quality Tips for Travelers

(With spring and summer seemingly just around the corner, we thought this piece by Kate Thora to be very timely.)

When you’re getting ready to head to a new destination, one of the last things that many people think of is whether or not they will get sick from simply breathing. If you live in the industrialized world, you probably think that under-developed places don’t have the same issues with pollutants and poor air quality that you would find closer to home, but you would likely be mistaken. Most industrialized countries have been aware of the dangers of pollutants for decades and have enacted policies to combat them. 
On the other hand, many common travel destinations are significantly less likely to have put in place caps on pollution emissions, and you’ll often find that the air quality is significantly worse than you expected. In some large cities around the world, it can be truly dangerous to be outdoors somedays. If you’re headed someplace new, you should do a bit of research into the air quality issues at your destination before you depart and take steps to protect your health if necessary. Here are some tips for dealing with poor air quality while traveling.

Friday, February 09, 2018

How Can We Capitalize on the Effects Plants Have on the Atmosphere?

(Here is the latest interesting piece from our regular contributor, Emily Folk)

Plants rule our planet almost as much as humans do. From the giant redwoods of California to the ancient bristlewood pines to the microscopic phytoplankton in the oceans, plants sculpt our world. They are the main reason we have the atmosphere we do, since their ability to photosynthesize draws large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and replaces it with oxygen. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

Bitcoin and Solar Energy: When Does It Make Sense?

(One of the fascinating stories in recent months has been the Bitcoin craze: Is this cryptocurrency a sign of the future -- or simply a modern version of Tulipmania?  And now people are starting to understand it can take a lot of energy to run those whiring computers.  Could solar energy play a big role here? Pat Dowling of PowerScout takes a look.)

2017 was a big year for Bitcoin. The digital currency’s growth surged from about $1,000 at the beginning of the year all the way up to to a staggering $19,000 at one point in December. Even through its peaks and valleys, Bitcoin fully got the attention of pretty much everyone in and outside of the financial world.

One of the major problems with Bitcoin is the massive amount of electricity it takes to mine the coins. Specialized mining computers require a lot of power as they search for the correct hash keys to actually make Bitcoin.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Top 6 Vacations Spots to Take a Breath of Fresh Air

(In the middle of this challenging stretch of weather, we thought a story about a clean-air getaway might just be the thing.  Emily Folk has some excellent ideas below.  And before you go, whoa! -- some of these places sound cold, just note that it is warmer today in Iceland, Sweden and Ireland than it is in Washington, D.C.)

Imagine you're preparing yourself for the vacation of a lifetime. You readily pack a week's worth of your favorite outfits into your suitcase, load up your car, and get ready to hit the road as you excitedly make your way to the airport. You board the plane and after a few hours of relaxed travel make your way toward the exit door. You take your first few steps into this new land, stretch out your arms and take in a deep breath of fresh air.

Except, the air isn't quite so fresh after all. Your eyes begin to water, you feel an itchiness in your throat, and you have the unrelenting urge to cough — this is not what had you planned for.

Whether you’re traveling within the country or merely want to escape to a new land, your number priority should always be maintaining your health and wellbeing while you’re away. Journeying to another state or country is a time to explore and engage your senses to the fullest extent — smell included.