This post is in partnership with Ozone Action Days. All opinions are my own.
Okay, y’all, let’s talk ozone! Not exactly the sexiest of subjects, I know, but with a hot Arkansas summer fast approaching, it’s time to get serious about reducing our ground-level ozone emissions. So, what exactly is ozone? According to the super-knowledgable EPA, it’s a “highly reactive gas” that is “both natural and man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and lower atmosphere (source).” Basically, the higher the concentration of ozone levels, the poorer and more dangerous the air quality, which isn’t good for anyone.
I’m partnering with Ozone Action Days and their Ditch The Keys initiative to share ways you can help reduce ground-level ozone emissions in your daily life, including using alternate forms of transportation and lowering ozone emissions at home.
First, let’s talk about how often we use our cars. After we count traveling to work at least five days a week, grocery shopping, going out to dinner, errand running, and road trips, we use our cars a lot. When it comes to driving to work, the easiest way to reduce emissions is carpooling with your coworkers. Even an alternating carpool a couple times a week will help lower emissions, save gas mileage on your car, and save you money on gas.
Take The Bus
While some of us have no choice but to use our cars to get to work, we can use reduce our driving during our off-duty time. Using alternate forms of transportation for a day in Little Rock is super easy, affordable and accessible. The Rock Region Metro offers so many ways to travel, including their metro bus that has 22 routes and 1,600 stops, a bike and ride program, and an METROtrack app for scheduling rides.
You may need to check bus routes due to temporary changes, and always adhere to social distancing measures.
Take A Scooter Ride
The city of Little Rock has an ongoing partnership with the electric scooter company Lime. If you’ve even driven through Little Rock and North Little Rock during the past year, you’ll have noticed these bright green scooters are literally everywhere. All you have to do is download the Lime app on your phone and ride! Rides start at $1 and the scooters are super easy to use for a day of shopping in the River Market or sightseeing downtown.
Lime scooters are temporarily paused in Little Rock for safety measures, but they’re something to consider for later!
Take The Streetcar
Probably my favorite way to get around Little Rock is the streetcar. The beautiful yellow and red streetcars run two routes through Little Rock and North Little Rock seven days a week. It’s such a fun and unique experience for sight-seeing, shopping, and moving throughout the city without using your car.
The streetcar service is temporarily paused in Little Rock for safety measures, but it’s something to consider for later!
Take A Bike Ride
While I love the streetcar, Colton will take any opportunity to bike his way through the city. It’s an easy option that’s healthier for you and the environment.
Transportation and being mindful of the way you get around is only a small part of what you can do to help lower ozone emissions during the summer. Here’s a few way you can lower emissions at home and in your daily life:
Take fewer car trips.
Consolidate errands and plan your route so you can take the shortest trip possible.
Get gas in your car during cooler hours of the day.
Fuel up in the morning or evening to prevent gas fumes from heating up and producing ozone.
Keep your car well-maintained.
If you’re in the market for a new car, consider a hybrid or electric option.
Most cities have electric charge stations in parking lots specifically for electric cars so you can charge while you shop, eat, and explore. This one is in the Clinton Presidential Library parking lot.
Mow your lawn during the cooler hours of the day.
Do your yard work in the morning or evening to prevent gas fumes from heating up and producing ozone. This will also help you stay healthier and cooler during the hot summer months!
Use electric and hand-powered lawn tools.
Just like switching to an electric car or bicycle, using electric and hand-powered lawn tools instead of gas eliminates ozone emissions.
Reduce indoor air pollution with house plants rich in foliage.
House plants naturally filter the air. Bonus points for their Insta-worthy aesthetic!
Plant more plants in your yard and garden.
Be considerate of how often you use power in your home.
Turn off lights when you leave a room (I used to be the worst at this!), and regulate your use of the air conditioning unit and gas appliances.
Use low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints in your home.
VOC paints release unstable gases into the air that can be harmful to both people (that “new paint smell” that gives you a headache) and the environment.
Check out the Ozone Action Days website for more detailed information on ozone and the environmental importance of reducing emissions. Follow Ditch The Keys on Facebook to join the movement and learn more ways to reduce emissions in your daily life.
How are you planning to lower ozone emissions this summer? Let me know in a comment here or over on my Instagram!