Ahhh, fresh air, *cough, cough* — or not. It seems that finding fresh air is becoming an uphill battle — literally. You have to often go up a mountain to find that fresh air that is becoming all too elusive. Between the smog, car fumes, energy plant run-off, manure stink, and general pollutants in the air, breathing fresh air has been taxing, and it’s becoming even more so.

If you’re sick of it, there are a few things you can do to cut down on these nasty particles floating around in our atmosphere. Share these tips with your friends and family members to spread the word. Most of these are incredibly easy, and yes, some we’ve been hearing for quite some time, but it all demands reiteration. The simplest things can make a difference if everyone worked together to bring about change. It takes a movement. Do you know where movements start? With you! You have the power to influence others and make a difference for our world, for our animal’s world, and for our children’s’ world. Let’s get started!


1. Switch from Aerosol Cans to Pump Sprays or Roll-Ons

The use of aerosol cans of hairspray and deodorant have been around for decades now, and we wonder why our air quality has gotten worse with time. We’ve heard time and time again to cut down on the use of these products, but still, some refuse. Seriously? There are plenty of aerosol-free bottles of hairsprays lining the shelves at our local store just ripe for the choosing, deodorants that are roll-on, sticks or gels and air fresheners that you can make on your stove top, mix up in a spray bottle or put in a fancy case and just set out on the coffee table. It may take just a few more minutes for that roll-on to dry, but in that time, you can check out delicious recipes on OGP and find other cool environmentally friendly tips.

2. Bike or Walk Instead of Hopping in the Car

We’re all rather busy lately, aren’t we? We’d rather hop in the car to run to the market a mile away rather than bike it or hoof it down there. I’ll admit I was all too guilty of this when living in suburban Los Angeles. That seems to be the way, isn’t it? If you’re in a city, you’ve got quite a few more options surrounding you, but in the ‘burbs, there are shopping centers where everything is clustered together. Do you know what else they have there? Bike racks. If you’re not up to walking, take the bike and enjoy an afternoon ride to the store, grab your faves, toss them in a canvas bag or in a backpack, then pedal home at your leisure to make your afternoon snack. Enjoy the experience! Turn a boring chore into an afternoon adventure.

3. Carpool to Cut Down on Nasty Car Fumes

Have you ever noticed the difference in the air quality in the city and in the country? Or if you’ve ever been to LA, you probably noticed the giant cloud of brown smog hanging over the entire basin? Yeah, you probably have. It’s hard to miss. Cut down on this by carpooling to work! Chances are, you know someone who works in the same area you do and they usually work the same schedule, or close to it. Even if it’s an hour’s difference, consider carpooling with them. Cut the cost of the commute and who cares if you’re an hour early, people usually aren’t fired for showing initiative. Or you can sit on a bench, have a cup of tea or an awesome smoothie and take that hour before work to find some peace before the stress rolls in. Make some time for yourself! You can even consider asking your boss to alter your schedule so it’s more in tune with the carpooling schedule.  Not to mention, it will save you so much time in the carpool lane rather than that bumper to bumper headache.

4. Watch What You Toss; It Can Probably Be Recycled/Reused

Our garbage output is just ridiculous. Everything comes in plastic clam packaging, cardboard, layers upon layers of plastic encased in some sort of box, not to mention our food and pet waste. Most of these things can be recycled in some way. Turn your old toilet paper and paper towel rolls into art or musical instruments, separate recycling, check out some other ways to repurpose your trash into beautiful and creative treasures. Composting is also a great way to take what you would normally toss and use it for some good.


5. Quell the Demands of Factory Farms

Factory farming is responsible for the expulsion of more than 400 different gas types into our environment. The farms are the leading producers of noxious substances including nitrous oxide and ammonia. Furthermore, the animals (particularly cows) are force fed grains which they cannot digest thus creating a higher count of methane, which the EPA estimated, rose by at least 26 percent between 1990 and 2004 due to larger and more concentrated dairy cow and swine facilities.  Help cut down on the demand for factory farmed meat and consider cutting it out of your diet significantly, if not completely, to cut down on the air pollutants resulting from our demands.

6. Put Your Lights on Timers

I don’t know about you, but about once a month, I forget to switch off the porch light. I wake up, walk onto my porch with my tea and do a face-palm right there in front of everyone (my neighbors).  I end up kicking myself about it and trying to conserve energy for the next few days to make up for the eight or more hours of use I accumulated. Instead of letting this self-induced guilt trend continue, consider putting timers on your outdoor lights. If you arrive home late from work, it may slip your mind but you can rest easy knowing it’ll be off in an hour and you’ll have to find some other way to entertain your neighbors since the morning face-palm won’t be making an appearance.


7. Switch to an EPA-Certified Wood Burner

If you’re using a wood burner for a fireplace, consider switching to an EPA-certified model and cutting down on the emissions created in this space. There are tons of tips found on the US EPA website about wood burning and they’ve got some excellent tips for you. Whether you’re using them to warm up in the winter or cook some s’mores in the summer, these burners are a thing of beauty for our homes and the air we breathe.

8. Turn Off Those Appliances

Okay, so refrigerators are kind of essential at this point, but is it really necessary to run the air conditioner non-stop in the summer? What about constantly having your laptop plugged in and charging? That plug in air-freshener is probably doing more harm than good. Consider cutting down on the use of non-essential electricity. We’ve gotten so accustomed to having everything on all of the time. Your electricity is most likely coming from a non-renewable source. Cut down on the usage, encourage others to do the same, and help save some of our resources for the next generation. You can even help circumvent this by investing in some solar panels or nifty solar-energy chargers!


Image source: ProfDEH/Wikimedia Commons