The New Year is all about change. There is an exciting energy around healthier, greener ways of living that is rapidly growing in Southcentral PA! Reducing your carbon footprint is as simple as using less energy, but if we all take it a step further and take advantage of the changes that are already happening in our own communities, it would benefit everyone while also helping to reach our personal goals.
Communities with cleaner air are those that encourage alternate methods of transportation, emphasizing more walking and bicycling among their residents. Less cars on the road makes traveling safer and frees up parking in congested areas. More people on the streets is shown to improve the flow of businesses and strengthen the local economy. The Air Quality Partnership of the Susquehanna Valley (AQPSV) challenges you to make lifestyle changes that will improve the air we breathe and create more dynamic, lively communities.
This year, the AQPSV is supporting local efforts and offering its own programs to make communities more bicycle-friendly and to engage schools in teaching children how to do their share for cleaner air.
In partnership with Dream Ride Projects, LiveWell Lancaster and the Lancaster League of American Bicyclists, the AQPSV will help to identify, recognize and provide support to local businesses that wish to apply for a Bicycle Friendly Business designation from the National League of American Bicyclists. This national recognition is the ideal way to encourage bicycling among employees and create a workplace that is more accommodating to bicyclists in the community. The City of Lancaster has already received an honorable mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) and with all of the bicycling activity happening in the county, their goal is to achieve a designation in the near future!
Schools are an integral piece to helping improve air quality by educating students on how to care for the Earth and encouraging families to reduce emissions near the school. Children, as well as the elderly, are more vulnerable to air pollution and experience significantly more adverse reactions and asthma issues than adults. The AQPSV’s Clean Air Schools program aims to improve air quality and the overall health of students with the help of local schools. Schools can be recognized as a Clean Air School by utilizing the free, educational resources on the AQPSV website, celebrating air-friendly events throughout the year such as Earth Day, Walk-to-School Day and Bike Month or working with the Partnership to bring emissions-reducing programs or policies into play around the school.
Whatever personal resolutions you may have this year, we can all play a role in cleaner air! Please follow the AQPSV on Facebook or Twitter (@CleanAirPA) to stay up-to-date with our initiatives for 2014!