pick 5

How Do You Check Your Local Air Quality?

Hey Pick 5’ers, it’s time again for you to share what you’ve done and how you did it.  If you haven’t done it yet, Pick 5 for the Environment and then come back to comment. Today we cover action #6: how do you check your local air quality? Please share your stories as comments below.

Local air quality affects how you live and breathe. It’s like the weather; it can change from day to day. When I purchased my home years ago I really was thinking about the money I would save by heating with the wood burning fireplace. I never thought about the air quality in and around my home. When I had my chimney cleaned, the tech asked if I ever had a carbon monoxide detector. When I told him no, he suggested that I invest in one. It had never crossed my mind, but I purchased one the next week, and was surprised how inexpensive it was. The detector, which simply plugs into an electrical outlet on the wall, helps me monitor carbon monoxide levels in my home.

By making changes in my daily routine, I’ve also started to help keep the air clean. I no longer warm my car in the morning, since the extra emissions contribute to unhealthy air quality. When I cleaned my garage this summer, I properly disposed of some household paints, solvents and pesticides; the materials I kept I now store in airtight containers so that they don’t leak any fumes. Fumes from these items can cause unhealthy air.
Now it’s your turn: How do you check your local air quality? If you’re not sure what you can do, learn more on our site.

Don’t hesitate to share your other Pick 5 tips on how you save water, commute without polluting save electricity , reduce, reuse, recycle , and test your home for radon.

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Test Your Home for Radon!

Hey Pick 5’ers, it’s time again for you to share what you’ve done, how you did it, etc.  If you haven’t done it yet, Pick 5 for the Environment and then come back to comment. Today we cover action #5: Test your home for radon! Please share your stories as comments below.

I never really thought that radon would ever become an issue in my home. Radon is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert. Unless you test for it, there is no way of telling how much is present in your home. According to EPA estimates, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. I’m a non-smoker and I needed to know if radon is present in my home.

So on my day off, I decided to visit my county health department to get a free radon test. I received the test. It was easy to set up. So I did the testing for three days. I then sent the kit back to the manufacturer for my results. Later I went on line and used my serial number from my test and got my results. I was really happy to know that my home was radon-free.

EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month.  Please get your home tested; radon is serious.

Now it’s your turn: how do you test your home for radon? If you’re not sure what you can do, learn more on our site.

You can also still share how you save water, commute without polluting, save electricity, and reduce, reuse, recycle.

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Pick 5: Save Electricity!

Hey Pick 5ers,  it’s time again for you to share what you’ve done, how you did it, etc.  Today we cover action #3: save electricity. Please share your stories as comments below.  If you haven’t done it yet, Pick 5 for the Environment and then come back to comment. You can also still share how you save water! and how you commute without polluting.
When I needed a new refrigerator, I looked for an Energy Star label before making my final decision because it will help me save on electricity.

My electric company suggests that using electricity during off peak hours (9:00 pm- 6:00am weekdays and anytime on weekends) is much cheaper. I am now doing laundry during the off peak hours; this is also a way to help save electricity.

I’ve also changed my light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.  Not only am I going to save on my electric bill, but I’m also saving the environment. It has cost me a little more, but in the long run they will last longer.

I no longer leave my outside lights on: I’ve replaced them with solar lights. I’ve also unplugged items not being used throughout my home, along with turning off unused items.

Can’t wait to receive next month’s electric bill to see how much I have saved!

Now it’s your turn: How do you save electricity? If you’re not sure how, learn more on EPA’s site. http://www.epa.gov/Energy/electricity.html

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Pick5ers, Speak Up!

Go to Pick 5 for the EnvironmentIf you’ve Picked 5 for the Environment, this is your chance to share your stories and exchange tips with others to help you achieve your environmental goals. If you haven’t, head over there now, commit to at least 5 actions out of the 10, and come back to share (we’ll add you to our mailing list so you’ll get advance notice, too).

This is the first time we’re “opening up the lines,” but we’ll post regular items like this to help Pick 5 community members talk to each other.

Thanks for committing to helping protect the environment!

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements in our comment policy. But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Celebrate Earth Day 2009

About the author: Lisa Jackson is the EPA Administrator

image of Administrator Jackspon standing next to a child on a bikeToday, we’re celebrating the biggest Earth Day in history. One billion people – almost one in every six people on the planet – will stand up to show that protecting the Earth and those who live on it is our responsibility. How amazing is that?

This Earth Day, EPA is on the job, and working hard to protect human health and the environment. But we need your help.

Our web folks have updated our EPA page with a special Earth Day Pick 5 for the Environment Project. We provide 10 activities. You pick 5 and commit to doing them.

Once you get started on your Pick 5, you can share your stories in Facebook, photos on Flickr, and videos on YouTube. We’ll also have special blog posts here in Greenversations where you can talk about how you’re doing and help each other.

This is a defining moment. Some of the best opportunities we’ll ever have to make a change and save our planet are happening right now. The actions we take – or don’t take – are going to affect what happens today and for generations to come. That is our reality right now. But, there is plenty we can do.

We really can show that environmental protection and economic growth work hand in hand. We don’t have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment, we just have to be smart enough to work for both. That will open the way to millions of green jobs in a low-carbon economy.

We really can lead the world in clean, homegrown energy sources, cutting emissions in the air, lowering energy costs for families, businesses and government, and ending, once and for all, our dependence on foreign oil. It’s a way to make the world not only cleaner but safer.

And we really can stop the rapid advance of climate change. We should be responsible enough to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. But it takes a commitment from all of us.

Grow the economy. Strengthen our national security. Save our planet in the bargain. It sounds ambitious – because it is. But it’s a future that’s within our sights.  All we have to do is help each other to get there.

Okay I have to plug our project one more time. Visit http://www.epa.gov/pick5 to join our Pick 5 for the Environment Project and be part of the one billion people taking action this Earth Day.

We can do more to protect our communities and our planet than ever before. It’s up to you.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.