Championed by Coalition for Clean Air (CCA), the fifth annual California Clean Air Day promotes collective action that leads to improvements in air quality throughout the state. Participants include both organizations and individuals who are pledging to make changes, with more than 600 organizations and 1.8 million individuals in California participating last year alone. This year many more are likely to visit the CCA website and make their own pledges before the event on October 5, 2022.
“One of the biggest challenges is that people feel overwhelmed as they consider climate change. A lot is out of their control. Clean Air Day helps people engage, by adjusting their habits and doing simple activities,” said Chris Chavez, policy director for CCA.
For example, individuals pledge to participate by planting trees, switching to environmentally friendly cleaners without volatile organic compounds, and test driving or renting an electric car. Organizational participants are not only pledging to take action, but are using the opportunity to highlight their ongoing programs and investments that support better air quality, including commitments to become carbon neutral or deploy zero-emission fleets. In this way, Clean Air Day showcases a wide array of environmental, social, and governance commitments, which raises visibility of those actions and inspires others to take action.
Pledging action does lead to progress, according to CCA’s Clean Air Day Director Brian Sheridan.
“We know that when people take the pledge, 97% of them do at least one of the things they committed to do,” he said, adding that small steps matter, even pledging to bring a box lunch rather than driving to lunch for a day.
A running list of social media posts on CCA’s homepage provides great examples of pledges, with transit agencies offering free bus rides for the day (including on zero-emission buses), schools exploring “no car idling” policies, companies hosting electric car test drives, and more. Organizations are also pledging to add EV chargers for their employees, which is increasingly important, because mid-day charging will need to expand to balance California’s grid, as we collectively work to align EV charging demand with peak solar power production. CCA’s Chavez also noted that EV owners pledging to avoid charging during peak demand (from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) will shift demand to times when there is more clean power generation online.
Learn more about Clean Air Day and support action by visiting https://www.cleanairday.org.