No Idle Matter: the consequences of idling

Whenever we find ourselves stuck in traffic, crawling through a restaurant drive-thru, or waiting for passengers, our vehicles’ engines idle and spew harmful pollutants into the atmosphere – pollutants that eventually make their way into our air, water and soil.

We generally don’t give idling much thought, but its cost to the environment, our communities, our health and our pocketbooks cannot be understated.

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Putting the “MOVES” on Summer

Summer is in full swing, and Albertans are making the most of it. It’s time for fun in the sun, drinks on patios, trips to lakes and pools, and barbeques. Even so, everyday decisions have impacts on the environment and affect the quality of the air we breathe. We all share responsibility for clean air and ensuring healthy communities and ecosystems. Luckily, there are many things you can do to move with the air in mind this summer, whether out on a road trip or enjoying a staycation!

Move yourself using human-powered transportation.

Move smart using fuel efficient practices when driving.

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Air Quality and Your Health

Whenever the air is hazy, or the smell of engine exhaust or smoke from a forest fire lingers, many Albertans wonder what effects poor air quality is having on their health.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a tool that helps inform people about the present quality of outdoor air, and helps them decide how to manage their outdoor activities so they are not injured by air pollution.

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Have Your CAAQS and Understand Them Too

In the summer months it is not unusual to notice that the sky is a little hazier and the smell of smoke lingers in the air. Forest fires are a common occurrence during the Western Canadian summer and degrade air quality throughout our province. Smoke and ash from 2016’s Fort McMurray fire reached thousands of kilometres away – even as far as the U.K. and Spain.

While a devastating fire can make the far-reaching impact of pollution obvious, consistent emissions from our homes, cars, and industry regularly affect air quality here at home. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive system in place to monitor and address these emissions so air quality is maintained at an acceptable standard.

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Join the 30-day challenge to MOVE with the air in mind

We all have to move to get to work and wherever we recreate. Why not move in ways that improve health, promote safety, save money and maintain air quality?

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Starting June 7, Albertans are encouraged to move with the air in mind once a day for 30 days. It could be as simple as walking to the library and borrowing a book on air or reducing idling time by parking and going inside instead of using a drive-thru. When these daily activities become habits and lots of people do them, everyone benefits. You can move on your own or with your family, coworkers, friends or teammates on your way to work, play, home or on a road trip.

Move yourself using human-powered transportation.

Move smart using fuel efficient practices when driving.

Check back daily or follow us on Twitter. We will be adding challenges each day for the next 30 days!


July 6 – Challenge #30

Mend your fuelish ways!

Keep your speed as steady as possible and avoid unnecessary fuel consumption and safety risks.
http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/transportation/cars-light-trucks/fuel-efficient-driving-techniques/7507

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Celebrate our vast, complex, interconnected, beautiful environment

For the past 45 years, Canadians have marked the week of June 5 as Environment Week and taken the opportunity to talk about being green – but why do we do it?

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Our environment isn’t just the air we breathe and the water we drink, it’s the plankton that provide oxygen, it’s the bats that reduce pest species, and it’s the worms that make the soil more fertile. It’s a complex web of relationships between all the life with which we share the planet Continue reading

Making our brownfields green

Picture4Some problems we think are buried don’t stay buried; in fact they can grow over time if not addressed.

This is sometimes the case when industry does not properly address harmful substances underground and the substance spreads into the soil and groundwater in the area. Over time, sites like this can become apparent when vegetation does not grow; these areas are called brownfields. Continue reading

Attack of the Killer Goldfish!

Okay, well goldfish may not kill you, but they can certainly kill our ecosystems if they are let loose in Alberta’s waters! Goldfish are showing up all over the province – and not just in pet stores or your aquarium at home.

Infestations have been found in storm water ponds at alarming rates over the last few years. How did they get there? People have been releasing their unwanted pets into the neighbourhood ponds behind their homes thinking this is more humane than other alternatives. Continue reading

Alberta’s watersheds – going right to the source

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Albertans don’t always think about the water they drink, play in and rely on every day – it is often taken for granted. So where does that clean water that flows out of the tap when you turn it on come from? It depends entirely on where you live in the province! Continue reading

Pining for recovery

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Ancient limber pine tree

When most people think about species at risk in Alberta, wildlife like bull trout, caribou, or burrowing owls probably come to mind. What people usually forget is that Alberta has many plant species at risk too – mostly in the prairies. Alberta has two endangered tree species: whitebark pine and limber pine. Both of these species grow in the Rocky Mountains and limber pine also grows in the adjacent foothills, so working with these endangered species always involves spectacular scenery, starring these gnarled spreading trees, and hiking or helicopter access. Continue reading