Green Notes from our Sustainability Committee

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    Stanley's Sustainability Committee presents Green Notes - Bulldog Edition

    Our Pollution, Our Habits, Our Remedies

    By David Hildebrand for the Sustainability Committee

    Denver: A Top 10 Smoggiest City!

    I was astounded to read, a few weeks ago, about a new report which listed Denver as one of the top 10 smoggiest metro areas. With our view of the mountains, blue skies and sunshine, it feels inconceivable! Yet a report by the Frontier Group and the Environment America Research & Policy Center released April 11, 2017, gives the dirty details.

    The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area was 6th on the list with 176 days of “elevated smog pollution.” 21 of those days were classified as “unhealthy” days for “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (children and older adults) and 153 days were categorized as “moderate” or “acceptable.” The report explains that even minimal exposure to ozone pollution can damage health, and “extended periods of exposure to smog creates a compound effect” — this means that the 153 days of “moderate” pollution can produce an aggregate affect with create health issues. Children and active, outdoors-oriented adults are most at risk.

    Smog and Health

    What are the health effects of smog (ground-level ozone) and fine-particulate pollution? As the Frontier report explains, smog (ground-level ozone) can cause: 

    • coughing
    • wheezing
    • throat irritation
    • a raised risk of infection
    • permanent damage to lung tissue, especially in children

    Fine particulate matter causes:

    • similar respiratory harms
    • cardiovascular issues (heart attacks, strokes and congestive heart failure)
    • developmental and neurological damage. 

    For children, particulate pollution is linked to: 

    • premature birth
    • higher risk of developing autism
    • stunted lung development

    For older people, breathing fine particulates also increases the risk of dementia.

    Causes

    What causes smog and pollution? As you might expect, these are “the byproducts of burning coal, gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels” and so the basic aims for reducing pollution would include energy sources that are based not on fossil fuels but upon clean, renewable sources like wind and solar energy.

    One Simple Change We Can Do: Stop Idling our Cars

    Since most of us do not operate power plants or write energy legislation, we have little direct influence over how our energy is generated. One simple way we can be effective — and this goes for many things related to sustainability — is examine our day-to-day habits. In this arena, we all have the power to make a real change.

    Idling our cars is one habit we can reconsider — and reform. “Idling” is when ... (continue)

    Archives: 

    Volume 6 May 4, 2017: Our Polution, Our Habits, Our Remedies

    Volume 5 February 2, 2017: Low-impact Lunches

    Volume 4 January 26, 2017: Did you Know: Dryer Sheets

    Volume 3 January 12, 2017: Did you Know: Composting & Recycling

    Volume 2 December 8, 2016: Holidays & Environmental Sustainability

    Volume 1 November 10, 2016: What You Should Know about This Year's Sustainability Program

    Thanks to the parents on Stanley’s All-volunteer Sustainability Committee! For more information, or to participate, contact the Office of Community Engagement at communityengagement@stanleypbps.org.