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CUPE’s National Environment Committee urges locals, members and others to “spare the air” for one day (at least) on Clean Air Day. All across Canada organizations and communities take action on air quality and climate change on Clean Air Day.

Fittingly, Clean Air Day is near the beginning of summer. This helps remind us that poor air quality, soaring temperatures and the accompanying negative environmental and human health effects increasingly characterize our summers.

With the environment at the front of the queue among social concerns, we all need to step up and take action. The Environment Committee suggests locals and members take these actions on Clean Air Day:

  • If you must drive, car-pool with other workers.
  • Leave your car at home. Walk, bike, roller blade or use public transit to get to work instead. This will cut your carbon dioxide emissions and reduce particulate air pollution.
  • Work from home (if this option is available to you) and avoid the trip to work entirely.
  • Enter your workplace or community in the commuter challenge.
  • Conserve electricity, turn off and unplug unnecessary appliances. Electrical power is often generated from burning fossil fuels, which dump greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants into the air.
  • Use fans rather than air conditioners to cool rooms.
  • Reduce waste. Landfill sites emit methane – among other pollutants – a serious greenhouse gas.
  • If you’re travelling long distances, use the train rather than fly. Train travel produces ten times fewer greenhouse gases than air travel per traveller.
  • Assess your environmental impact by measuring your “carbon footprint”.  

Clean Air Day is a chance to alter your habits for just one day to help improve air quality and combat climate change. Who knows, do it for one day and you might see that small changes are easier to make than you think.