As we have been discussing over the past few weeks, with all the restraints put on people, money, time, access, the secret to making change may be to focus on the big stuff. So, if you only invested in one green initiative this year, what should it be? What actions make the biggest impact?
We started with energy, moved on to water and now we address the issue of air quality. Every time you get into your car and drive to work, every time you turn on your heater or air conditioner, or even clean your counter tops, you make choices that effect air quality. What kind of effects? Well there’s some good news here. According to GreenLiving’s Air Pollution Statistics:
- Americans have reduced toxic releases by more than 50 million tons since 1970.
- Currently, it would take 20 of today’s new automobiles to release the same number of emissions as a 1960s model.
- Carbon monoxide emissions (CO) have decreased by 33 percent. Forty-one fewer tons are being produced per year as a result of current efforts. Much of these emissions are from cars, trucks, buses, lawn and construction equipment.
- Dropping 14 million tons per year, volatile organic compound emissions have decreased by 42 percent. VOC emissions are a factor in the formation of the ozone layer.
So problem solved, right? Not by a long shot. Although the issue of air pollution has really come to the forefront as of late, it doesn’t mean it’s an issue that is being taken care of completely. But where does just one person start? When almost every action of daily life can affect the air in which we breathe, knowing where to begin seems a bit overwhelming.
In order to have the largest effect on air quality, let’s shift our focus on three major areas:
- What Products You Buy
- How Much Energy You Use
- What You Drive