Every Breath We Take

We all value the air we breathe. Edmonton is a quickly growing city, and with this growth comes the added pressure of maintaining healthy air quality. Individuals, communities, organizations and industries all contribute to air quality, and so we can all be part of the solution. While the City of Edmonton is taking air quality issues seriously and is collaborating with regional partners to develop and implement a response plan, there are steps that we can all take right now to help improve our air quality.

As a communications practicum student at the City this summer, I am determined to find out what is being done in our city every day to help improve air quality. I want to see what people in our city are doing to reduce their carbon footprint and in turn, better the air we breathe.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard from Edmontonians so far:

  • “I take public transit to work every day,” says Jen, a mother of two and communications student at MacEwan University, “I also have two young daughters and try to teach them the importance and ease of recycling.”
  • Cara works downtown near the Legislature and takes the Capital Line LRT to work every day. She is a self-proclaimed makeup addict who makes sure to recycle all of the packaging and containers. She mentioned that certain makeup companies even have recycling rewards programs.
  • “I like to think that I can have a direct effect on the air I breathe,” says Mitchell, an Edmonton construction worker, “I used to be a speeder… but since I learned how much speeding and idling can increase emissions from a car, I’ve stopped. It really makes little to no difference in the amount of time it takes me to get places. Plus it’s safer for me and others too!”
  • “I don’t use drive through windows, ” says Jamie, a teacher at a local elementary school. “I prefer to walk inside to pick up my food or coffee.  It lets me get a bit of exercise plus not idling my car saves me money. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine.”
  • Sandra is a stay at home mom and says she likes to walk her kids to school and avoid the headache of trying to find a vehicle drop-off or parking spot.

These Edmontonians are taking action.  So, how can you improve the air quality in Edmonton? There are many choices you can make in your everyday life, such as:

  • Bike or walk to work
  • Choose higher efficiency appliances for your home
  • Change your home’s insulation, windows and doors to be more efficient
  • Stop speeding and unnecessary acceleration
  • Change your commute  to avoid high traffic times
  • Carpool
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Turn off your car if you are idling for 10 seconds or longer
  • Use cold water instead of hot when you can
  • Take public transit

Reducing the electricity and fuel we use helps to reduce fine particulate matter in our air. If you take the time to make one or two of these changes you’ll be making a contribution to improving Edmonton’s air quality.

Bus

You can make or renew these commitments on Clean Air Day on June 3rd.

The City of Edmonton has decided to have some fun with our Clean Air Day initiatives this year. If you’re downtown, come check out our mossy art installations.

The moss art installations can be found at:

1) City Hall/Churchill square (by the LRT station entrance)

2) Jasper and 104 Street

3) Jasper and 107 Street

Bettering our air quality can be fun and together we can make a big difference!

For more information visit:

www.edmonton.ca/cleanairday  

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About the Author
Alexa Steiner
Alexa Steiner is a Communications Technician in the Sustainable Development Department at the City of Edmonton
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