April 30 - May 4 marks Air Quality Awareness Week in Georgia. The state has made great strides in the past decade on improving ambient air quality. But with half of all smog-forming emissions coming from the tailpipes of cars and trucks, there is more work to be done.
Learn more about the science behind the air we breathe and get a big-picture perspective about smog challenges in Georgia. For tips on how you can reduce air pollution, at home, at work or on the go, click here. You can also take part in a fun competition on The Clean Air Campaign's Facebook page that kicks off later today called "Caption for Cleaner Air."
Does this job make me look fat?
In the past 50 years, much of the American workforce has shifted from agricultural and manufacturing jobs to the more sedentary office job. Because fewer than 20% of jobs require moderate physical activity, the average American worker is burning 100 calories less per workday than they did 50 years ago, equaling 25-35,000 fewer calories a year. Additionally, we are walking less in our everyday lives and walk the least amount of any other industrialized country. Americans spend more time in our cars than anywhere else in the world; more time spent driving means less time spent on activities that provide health benefits.
How does Georgia compare?
One of the biggest reasons people are walking less is that we live farther from the places we need to go. WalkScore.com measures the walkability of cities based on proximity to nearby amenities. Georgia cities have an average Walk Score of 35 out of 100, which is unfortunately not too great. However, there are some walkable cities within the state, the best including Decatur, North Druid Hills and North Atlanta. Among Georgia’s least walkable cities, and labeled as “car-dependent” are Evans, Union City and Sugar Hill.
If you live in an area where it is difficult to walk to work or run your errands, there are still ways to get some walking into your day.
- Divide your lunch so you eat half the time and take a walk for the other half
- Get up and move during commercial breaks
- Use stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or emailing them
- Make it a habit – whenever you need a break at work or start to feel tired, take a quick stroll around the office
Walking is shown to drastically improve lives by lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and decreasing your chance of diabetes. So, try taking some small steps to walking more.
Hope you had a terrific Earth Week! The celebration of environmental conservation, protection and sustainability couldn’t possibly fit into just one solitary day anymore. And the parade of innovative ways to green the globe has truly gone …well, global. In fact, when it comes to improving the quality of the air we all breathe, clever ideas are springing up all over the world. So, to celebrate Earth Week, The Clean Air Campaign scoured the Earth to bring you these success stories from afar:
London: Pollution Glue Traps Fine Particles
With particle pollution emissions creating health challenges, London has found itself in a sticky situation as the city prepares to host the Olympic Games in a few short months. But engineers have developed a winning solution you won’t believe: applying a special “pollution glue” to road surfaces has helped trap fine particles, preventing them from going airborne. Studies indicate repeated applications on select thoroughfares have reduced particle pollution by 10% over a 24-hour period.
Manila: Smog-Eating Paint Artfully Covers City Walls
Smog in the city of Manila doesn’t stand a chance, thanks to a new idea that could forever alter the meaning of the phrase, “paint the town.” Artists are painting giant murals on the sides of buildings using a special smog-eating blend of catalytic paint that filters out nitrogen oxides. The manufacturer claims that coating 11 square feet of a surface with this special paint filters the same amount of air pollution as one full-grown tree.
Spain: Building Transit Ridership through e-Book Offers
QR codes are springing up everywhere. And in one district in Spain, a transit operator has found a creative way to tackle pollution and literacy at the same time. Train riders in Catalonia can scan QR codes on wall posters hung inside the cars to download the first chapter of select novels onto their mobile devices for some fun diversion on the commute. Truly a progressive idea. Imagine having this opportunity on a GRTA Xpress bus or a MARTA line.
When it comes to doing the right things for the planet, we’re all in it together. That makes Earth Week a terrific occasion to think and act green no matter where you are. Tell The Clean Air Campaign about other unique ideas you’ve found out there to help improve the air we all breathe. And be sure to mark your calendars next week for Air Quality Awareness Week in Georgia, taking place April 30-May 4.
With the changing of seasons each year, Georgia commuters see a roller coaster rise and fall of gas prices. We have waved goodbye to winter gas prices that seemed like a bargain when they were $3 a gallon, and are approaching the peak gas price season of the year: the summer, which brings a higher demand for gasoline where families take advantage of the warm weather and school breaks to get on the road.
Gas prices outside of Georgia
Even though we are currently seeing prices as high as $4.09 per gallon in some areas of the state, Georgia gas prices are significantly lower than other parts of the country and well below most developed countries around the world. While gasoline costs roughly the same to make no matter where in the world it is produced, the difference in retail costs is due to the fact that some governments subsidize gas while others tax it heavily.
Less demand, higher prices
Overall, the United States has seen some behavior changes over the past couple of years regarding Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Since 2007, the average VMT in the southeast has generally been declining. While it seems the demand for gasoline has slowly and steadily been dropping, the retail prices continue to rise. Georgians are currently paying $0.10 more per gallon than where we were at this same time last year. Do you think this is ominous of what is to come?
What can you do about rising gas prices?
The most immediate thing anyone can do to get relief from volatile gas prices is simply driving less. More than 400,000 commuters in the Atlanta region alone are using alternative commute methods such as carpooling or vanpooling in order to share the costs of gas, or riding transit, walking, or bicycling to work, or even teleworking to avoid the commute altogether. When will rising gas prices motivate you to get off the roller coaster and try something different on your daily commute?
Learn more about commute alternatives and ways for you to save money this summer at www.CleanAirCampaign.org.