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To protect the planet, we can all do our part
April 19, 2022

Young women and men hold up trash and plastics, showing what they have picked up to recycle.
Students pick up non-biodegradable plastics from the Saint Monica University Campus, Cameroon. (Photo courtesy Gabila Franklin Neba.)

Did you know small changes in your daily routines can make a huge difference to your health, the health of your neighbors and the future of the planet? Choose from among these simple steps and start today.

Learn how to get involved at: https://yali.state.gov/climate/.

When you run errands or travel …

• Walk or ride a bike.
• Take public transportation.
• Organize errands into one trip.
• When driving, accelerate gradually and drive at lower speeds.
• Drive less, particularly on days with unhealthy air.

When you are at home …

What we do at home makes a big impact on air quality. Consuming less energy helps reduce air pollution, as does choosing sustainable, recyclable products. Limit use of chemicals that contribute to smog.
Did you know that detergents, cleaning compounds, glues, polishes and even cosmetics, perfume and deodorants contribute to smog? Such items contain volatile chemicals that evaporate readily. When the sun shines, they combine with other pollutants to form ozone, a primary component of smog that is bad for our health.
• Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
• Replace energy-hungry incandescent lights with energy-saving CFLs or LEDs.
• If alternative energy sources such as solar or wind are available, use them.
• Recycle paper, plastic and organic materials.
• Use nonpolluting stoves. Avoid using kerosene to cook, heat or provide light.
• Choose products made from recycled materials or sustainable sources such as bamboo, hemp and coconut fiber.
• Use durable, reusable shopping bags, not disposable plastic bags.
• Paint with a brush instead of a sprayer.
• Store all solvents in airtight containers.
• Eliminate use of toxic chemicals at home; opt for natural substitutes.
• Plant a tree to help purify the air.

When you are at work …

• Use natural light during the day.
• Work from home if possible.
• If you work in an office, start a recycling program. Print and photocopy on both sides of paper, and only print when necessary.
• Turn off office equipment (i.e., computers, printers and fax machines) after hours.

When you are in your community …

• Support efforts to “green” the neighborhood.
• Start an environmental program yourself.
• Let your elected representatives know you support action for cleaner air.

Adapted from the California Air Resources Board’s “Simple Solutions to Help Reduce Air Pollution.”