It’s January and many of us have made some New Year’s resolutions for 2019. But the questions is: how many of us have made resolutions to improve the quality of the air we breathe?
Using modern technologies, your current air quality could be better. If you care about what you and your loved ones breathe in for 2019, there are quite a few things you can do.
Here are some ideas to help you started, running the whole gamut from home air pollution monitors and air quality measurement devices to help sort out air impurities, to general lifehacks and good practices that can really make a difference.
New Year’s Resolution for Your Lungs
1. Filter out VOCs with Devil’s Ivy
What’s better than greening your home by literally just having a plant, and letting it do its thing cleaning your air? That’s what a new genetically modified plant, Pothos Ivy, does. This house plant, also known as Devil’s Ivy, has had a detoxifying transgene activated with some high tech genetic processes, allowing the plant to process and clean benzene and chloroform from the air. Benzene is one of the biggest VOC pollutants in the atmosphere today, and having this plant at your patio will go a long way in reducing the VOC levels of your home.
This plant will soon be available in Canada and scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle are looking to make it available in Florida.
2. Safer cycling with clean air routes
While it’s a no-brainer to go cycling instead of taking the car when you want to save fossil fuels and help the environment, there may be more benefits to it than even walking. A study from Dr. James Tate from the Institute for Transport Studies looked into the toxicology exposure of commuters, pedestrians and cyclists, and found that people who go on bicycles are exposed to the lowest inhaled dose of pollutants during a 4km commute.
People on a bus were exposed to higher levels, followed by people in private vehicles. The highest exposure actually was for pedestrians, who were exposed to the air the longest, while the cyclist whizzed by on cycle lanes with minimal traffic.
According to experts, you can lower your exposure by up to 50% just by taking a less busy route to your destination. Avoid the crowds and high vehicle traffic, and you’re on the way to better air. Some cities such as London have clean air route finders like the Cross River Partnership clean air route finder. These can help you decongest even further, it’s possible your local city may have a similar service available.
3. Go the way of Fair Trade
Farmers have been taking note of the negative effects of climate change on the environment. Many farmers have embraced Fairtrade, and doing so means they have to meet certain standards in their farming practices to improve soil, water, and air quality, avoid the use of chemicals, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We can each do our part supporting Fairtrade products, and thus supporting the Fairtrade practices that reduce the pollutants in the atmosphere. Whether by growing trees and crops together, avoiding the use of harmful agrochemicals, the support of Fairtrade Carbon Credits, or using Green Energy Cells, it’s a movement that makes a difference. Look for the Fairtrade sticker and log when shopping and doing your groceries.
4. Corning DuraTrap GC Filter for your Car
Vehicle emissions are a big deal in the commitment to cleaner air. Did you know that the company that creates the glass screen for your smartphone is also making a big difference in the air you breathe? Corning, the company that makes Corning Gorilla Glass, has introduced a filter that traps the particulate matter from your engine and converts them into harmless gases and water vapor. This reduces the soot emissions by 99%.
The Corning DuraTrap filter is available for gasoline and diesel engines, and can make a huge difference in the quality of air in your garage and around your vehicle, keeping your lungs clear when you get home, get out in the parking lot, or anytime you use your vehicle.
5. Go Solar for your next Barbecue
Cooking emissions are surprisingly one of the biggest sources of air pollutants for the home. Today, you can get solar ovens for a wide variety of applications, and they’re not just for campers who are away from the electric socket or the propane tank. You can now find a whole range of ovens from manufacturers like GoSun for backyard grills, remote applications or for use in an RV.
Solar ovens have zero emissions and work without using any fossil fuels. There are no added air pollutants from the cooking process, which is a big bonus for anyone looking to breathe cleaner air. The typical solar oven can cook up to 350°F and some can even go higher, which is enough to cook most meals.
6. Quit Smoking with the Quitter’s Circle
Having trouble quitting smoking? If you’ve tried several methods but never really got to stick with it, consider asking help from an app.
Quitter’s Circle is an app that helps you with a quit plan, utilizing the all-pervasive nature of smartphones to help you focus on your goal with reminders for doctor’s appointments, gamification of goals and milestones, and access to inspiring stories and content that can keep you focused on your goal, and become part of a community that wants to help you succeed.
7. Pack a Linky Folding Skateboard
We’ve gone through the perils of pedestrian exposure to air pollutants, and the key factor to higher exposure is the length of time it takes to get to your destination. Speeding up your transit time lowers your exposure, and that’s where handy little gadgets like the Linky Folding Skateboard come in.
Similar to the popular Segway, the Linky is a personal electronic transportation device, but unlike a scooter, the Linky has a much smaller footprint and is easier to pack and bring along on your day. The skateboard folds down to a 15” x 11” package and fits neatly into a backpack, and weighs just 12 pounds. It charges up to 85% in just 30 minutes off any regular wall socket, and can hit a top speed of 18.6 miles per hour. It is convenience and portability to help you get to your destination faster, saving your lungs from long exposure to urban air.
8. Keep it cool with Solar Vehicle Ventilators
Heat pollution is a concern, and adverse temperature conditions can have an effect on your respiration and wellness. This is especially true inside vehicles, where temperatures can reach a blazing 160°F inside a car even on just a moderately sunny day. These temperature can be lethal for children and pets inside cars.
Solar ventilation takes care of the problem in an intelligent way, using the same heat from the sun that is warming up your car and using that to power a rotary fan to blow out the warm air. It is a simple solution, but these devices can lower your car’s interior temperature by up to 15°F, which can make a big difference in comfort and safety. It’s also a lot easier on the environment, requiring no fuel emissions, and it’s always on.
9. Go Cooperative with your Online Orders
Online ordering is a huge convenience, and having the package arrive at your doorstep is a great, satisfying feeling. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes before that package arrives. To get to your door, it was brought to you in the mail through a delivery truck. If you ordered anything from another country, that package went through shipping by sea, or even by air freight. Did you know that sixteen freighters at sea create more air pollution than all the cars in the world combined? And there are an estimated 100,000 freighters at sea today bringing goods from one country to another.
To help minimize our impact, try talking with friends and organize a co-op to combine your online purchases into one shipping order, in order to help save on shipping emissions. The next time you order from Amazon or your favorite online retailer, see if you have any friends or neighbors ordering the same, and make it a group order. It sounds like a small thing, but it all adds up and makes a difference to the air we breathe.
10. When Freshly-Mowed Lawn is Fresh
Mowing the lawn is something anyone with a yard has to do, but most people are still using gas-powered lawn mowers. When your freshly-mowed lawn smells like gasoline and engine oil, you’re missing out. There’s nothing like breathing in a clean, grassy scent after mowing the lawn, and that’s where electric lawn mowers come in.
Today’s electric mowers already go head to head with gas models when it comes to efficiency and performance in clearing your lawn. Further, you save more in the long run as you save on fuel costs, and it also reduces your carbon footprint significantly. Battery-powered electric lawn mowers should be part of your resolution if you have a yard.
11. Get your Home Smelling Great with Essential Oil Diffusers
What’s better than making your home smell great with scented candles? Why, doing the same with essential oil diffusers, of course. Scented candles are warm and cozy, but the combustion does release pollutants we are better off without. To create the same ambience without the pollutants, essential oil diffusers are king, and there’s a great variety of them available in 2019 with four to six hour operating times and automatic shutdown when done.
And it’s not just about removing candles; a study on essential oils show that they have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic effects, working as natural microbial trapping agents to reduce airborne bacteria, dust particles, allergens, and more.
12. Clean the Room with a WiFi Robot
Keeping the house clean is important, as it helps reduce particulate matter in the air. And one of the best, effortless and high-tech ways to do it is to use a robot vacuum cleaner. Devices like the iRobot Roomba 690 go around cleaning your home, especially your carpets, which are notorious for being dust traps. It responds to commands through Google Assistant or Alexa, and has great suction for really sucking the dirt out of your rugs. You can really breathe easy and rest easy with an automated cleaning aid like this.
Good Air is a Basic Necessity
There are things we shouldn’t compromise on in life, and when it comes to the air we breathe, you shouldn’t cut corners. There are a lot of things you can do in 2019 to keep your lungs healthy, and with cleaner air you can lead a healthy life for yourself and your family. Take these ideas as a great starting point for 2019, there’s surely more that can be done as we develop newer technologies to improve the quality of our lives.