Sophia AQI chart

The AQI Chart

Hi Friends,

My name is Sophia and I’m Scooter’s friend. I’m excited to finally meet you all. Now that Spare The Air season is here, Scooter and I want to help you understand our most important tool that helps you know when air pollution is especially bad, and when you should avoid any strenuous outdoor activities. This tool is called the Air Quality Index, or AQI for short.

The AQI has six categories:

Hazardous is 301 to 500. The entire population is more likely to experience serious health effects and should avoid all outdoor exertion.

Very Unhealthy is 201 to 300. Everyone may experience more serious health effects and should avoid all outdoor exertion.

Unhealthy is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects and should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Members of the sensitive groups should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups is 101 to 150. People with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk and should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

Moderate is 51 to 100. People who have a unique sensitivity to air pollution should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

Good is 0 to 50. No health impacts are expected when air quality is in this range. When the AQI is at this level, it means you can do a happy dance! You can play outside all day without having to worry about air pollution. My and Scooter’s favorite days are when the AQI chart is in the GREEN range!

On a Spare The Air day, it’s up to us to remind our parents of ways to help reduce air pollution, such as reducing their driving (or not driving at all), carpooling or taking public transit. People with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk and should limit outdoor activities.

For more air quality information, browse my website. And, don’t forget to ask your parents to download the FREE Sacramento Region Air Quality app. They can use the app to check the daily air quality forecast and get current conditions at the air monitoring sites in our region: http://www.aqmdscooter.com/index.php/videos/%E2%80%8E.

You can also check Scooter’s calendar to see where he will be visiting next.

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Sophia

Sophia and Scooter STA kick off

STA Season is Here!

Hi Friends,

The 24th Spare The Air season is here.

CLEAN AIR IS UP TO US! Between now and Halloween, we all need to help and do our part to reduce air pollution, especially smog. Together we can Spare The Air and make a big difference!

Air pollution can cause health problems for everyone, but it’s even worse for kids! You see, children just like you are at a greater risk from air pollution because your lungs are still developing and you breathe more rapidly than adults, which increases your exposure.

When air pollution reaches a certain level, a Spare The Air alert is sent out to let people know that air quality is going to be bad, so we can plan ahead. When you hear a Spare The Air alert, try to stay inside and avoid any strenuous outdoor activities, especially those that require a lot of running or those that make you feel really tired.

My friend Sophia and I want to help all of our friends, and share some of our favorite ways to reduce air pollution this Spare The Air season:

  • Walk, bike or carpool to school and after school activities

Sophia and scooter bike

  • Use public transportation, like the bus or train

  • Have your parents download the FREE Sacramento Region Air Quality app

  • Encourage your family to buy locally grown fruits and veggies

For more air quality information, browse my website. You can also check my event calendar to see where I’ll be visiting next.

Remember, clean air is up to us!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter Earth Day 2018

Hi, friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Earth Day! Earth Day is special because we get to celebrate our beautiful, amazing planet. We only have one Earth and it’s important to take care of it by making green choices. Green isn’t just a pretty color, it’s a way of life. I want to teach you about some ways you can help reduce air pollution and make green choices – on Earth Day and every other day of the year. So, make sure to practice the following tips, and pass them along to your friends and family:

1. Walk or bike to school and after school activities: This is a great way to help keep the air clean and to get exercise.

 

2. Carpool to school, work and other activities: Share a ride with your friends. It’s fun and a great way to reduce air pollution.

 

3. Recycle: Always recycle when you can. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help protect our planet Earth. Ask your parents to learn more by visiting calrecycle.ca.gov.

 

4. Turn off the lights: Save energy by using only what you need, and remember to turn off all the lights when you leave your house.

Green bulb

 

5. Don’t waste water: Always turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth to help save water.

 

I hope you all had a wonderful and “green” Earth Day. I had a great time celebrating at the Placer County Earth Day event in Roseville, and the ECOS Earth Day event in Sacramento. To find out where I’ll be next, visit my event calendar.

Until next time!

Your pal,

Scooter

Scooter stay warm

Chapter 2: Scooter’s options for staying warm without burning wood

Hi Friends!

In the previous blog, we learned why Check Before You Burn is important and where you can check to see if it’s okay for you to burn. This month I’m going to share with you some easy ways you can stay warm, and warm up your house, WITHOUT burning wood.

Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Your fan usually moves in a counter-clockwise direction which creates cool air. However, switching your ceiling fans to a clockwise direction pushes the warm air from your ceiling back down toward your floor, making you feel warmer!

Use draft guards. Roll up a towel or blanket and place one at the bottom of each door that leads outside. This will help keep cold air from sneaking into your home. If you don’t want to use a blanket, there are plenty of fun draft guards available in the shapes of dogs, cats and even snowmen.

Consume warm foods/drinks. Drink hot chocolate or apple cider, and eat lots of soup to warm up your body.

Wear a blanket. I think we all know this one, but there really isn’t a better way to stay warm than wrapping yourself up in a big cozy blanket!

It’s important to remember that the reason we don’t burn wood on NO BURN days isn’t just to protect the environment, but our health as well. According to Families for Clean Air, wood smoke contains many of the same harmful substances as cigarettes. It can make us sick with illnesses that make us cough or hurt our throats and lungs.

If you use any of these helpful tips this winter, post a picture on my Facebook page of you and your family ‘in action” and you’ll have a chance to win a FREE family winter 12-pack of Cinemark movie tickets!

Be sure to check back next month to find out what you should do when you see other people burning wood on NO BURN days.

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter No Burn

Why Scooter can’t burn wood in his fireplace

As you know, I love being outside enjoying nature and the fresh, clean air. That being said, between the months of November and February, when it gets really cold, I love to bundle up inside where it’s nice and warm! Sometimes I like to build a cozy fire in my fireplace, but did you know that if you live in Sacramento County you must Check Before You Burn? It’s the law in Sacramento County, including the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento.

Wood burning during the winter causes over 50 percent of our area’s air pollution. The purpose of Check Before You Burn is to help protect us from the harmful smoke that is created when burning wood and for our area to stay in compliance with federal air quality laws.

Smoke that comes from burning firewood is bad for our health, especially for you kids because your lungs aren’t fully grown yet. Wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals that are in cigarettes and none of them are good for us. It can cause us to get sick with illnesses that make us cough or hurt our throats and lungs.

Check Before You Burn
Scooter No Burn

To find out if we can light a fire in our fireplace or wood stove:

  • Download the FREE Sacramento Region Air Quality app, available in all three app stores
  • Call 1-877-NO-BURN-5 (1-877-662-8765)
  • Follow the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District on Twitter @AQMD
  • Visit AirQuality.org
  • Read The Sacramento Bee’s weather page

Be sure to check back next month to find out my favorite ways to stay warm WITHOUT burning wood!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter Halloween 2017

Eco-Friendly Halloween

Hi Friends,

When you think of Halloween, you probably think of the colors orange and black. This year, I want you to think of the color GREEN! Many Halloween products can produce a scary amount of waste that can haunt our environment way beyond the spooky shadows of Halloween night.

Scooter_Darth

Help me Spare The Air this Halloween by following these environmentally friendly tips:

  • Chose an eco-friendly costume made of natural fabrics, rather than a costume that’s made of materials that can’t be recycled. If you aren’t planning to use last year’s Halloween costume, you can donate it to someone else so they can enjoy trick-or-treating as much as you! For other costume options, talk to your friends and see if they want to make a trade this year.
  • Make your Halloween decorations out of recycled materials instead of buying them from a store. Decorations are fun to make and making your own out of recycled materials is a great way to reduce waste.
  • Sweep the sidewalk and driveway. If your parents are expecting lots of trick-or-treaters to stop by your house, they’ll probably want to clear away all the fall leaves on your sidewalk and driveway. Instead of using a hose or leaf blower, you can save water by using a broom instead. Best of all, you can use those leaves to add to a compost pile. Compost is a special kind of dirt you can use when you plant your garden. It has tons of yummy stuff that plants love because it helps them grow big and strong, just like you!
  • Check your face paint. Some face paints contain scary, unhealthy chemicals. Make sure to get the organic or non-toxic kind.
  • Party like an eco-star. If you’re going to have a Halloween party at your house, make sure to set out recycling bins for all your plastic cups, plates and soda cans! You can also set up a compost container for food waste and add it to your compost pile.

I hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter back to school

Back in School 101

I hope you’ve had an amazing beginning to the school year! Even though we’ve entered the fall season and the temperature is starting to drop, we can’t forget about the importance of keeping our air clean. In fact, now that we are all back in school, there are lots of things you can do this school year to help Spare The Air. Here are some of my favorite ways to Spare The Air during the school year:

  • Bringing a refillable water bottle to school every day. Using a refillable water bottle helps Spare The Air because it means we have to produce less plastic water bottles. Plus, it means less pollution from trucks because we don’t need them to transport as many of them to stores.
  • Recycling your paper, plastic and cans. Recycling is the number one way we can help protect our planet. It prevents pollution because we don’t have to take it to a landfill where it would be burned. Burning garbage is bad and illegal in California because it releases toxics into our air.

  • Walking to school. Walking to school is not only a great way to get exercise, but just like biking, skateboarding or scootering, it helps Spare The Air because you aren’t driving.

  • Riding the school bus, or sharing a ride to school with a neighbor or friend. Riding the bus or carpooling to school is another awesome way to Spare The Air because it means less cars on the road!

It’s important to help Spare The Air for our health, and for our environment. When you’re a kid, your lungs are still developing, and breathing poor air quality can damage them. Have a grown-up download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app on their phone to receive notifications when the air quality is poor, so you can avoid the harmful effects of air pollution. Tell your teachers what you’ve learned from Scooter’s World and share some awesome Spare The Air games and activities with them by clicking here: http://www.aqmdscooter.com/index.php/activities/.

If you want to hang out with me when I’m out and about, check my calendar to see where I will be visiting next!

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter furry friends

STA Tips for our Furry Friends!

Hi Friends,

Believe it or not, bad air quality affects your pets just as much as it affects you! Animals have smaller, more sensitive lungs than humans do, which actually makes it harder for us animals to breathe than it is for you when air quality is poor. In fact, when the air is really smoggy, especially on Spare The Air days, your pets can feel up to 10 times worse than humans do.

You can help protect your furry friends from air pollution by following these tips:

  • Plan indoor activities
  • Have your parents download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app to check the air quality forecast on a daily basis and receive Spare the Air alerts. This way, you can plan ahead and help protect your pets when the air quality is forecast to be yucky

  • If you are attending an outdoor event, make sure it’s safe for your pet to go with you
  • Never leave your pet in the car – it gets really hot in there, really fast
  • Make sure your pets have lots of water
  • Let your pet play outside in the early morning or late evening, when air quality is better
  • Plan indoor play dates with your pet’s friends

  • Let your pet take a dip in the pool, or use a hose to help them cool off

If you want to hang out with me when I’m out and about, check my calendar to see where I’ll be visiting next!

 

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter Youtube

Scooter, the YouTube sensation!

Hi Friends,

By now you know that my job is to teach everyone about the dangers of air pollution and all the ways we can fight it. But, did you also know that I’m a YouTube sensation?! When I’m not out and about in the community, stopping by schools, parks and other awesome events, I like to use my talents to create awesome videos that teach you ways you can help Spare The Air. If you haven’t visited my videos page, I recommend you do! I worked very hard and I’m extremely proud of them. My videos page can be found at the bottom of the Scooter’s World home page, or by clicking on the image below.

Below are individual links to my videos posted on YouTube, so you can share them easily with your family and friends!

If you want to hang out with me when I’m out and about, check my calendar to see where I will be visiting next!

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Scooter

Scooter gardening

Gardening Gone Green

Hi Friends,

The temperature is getting hotter and the sun is staying out longer. I love being outside, so this is my favorite time of year. One of my favorite hobbies is gardening. Plants help make clean air for us to breathe, so I always like to water my plants and even plant trees whenever I have the chance. Here are some of my favorite gardening tips that will help make sure you are gardening “green” and help Spare The Air in your neighborhood, and around your home!

  • Make your own compost. Instead of buying expensive soil and fertilizer (plant food), make your own at home by using compost. Compost is created by recycling the remaining fruits and vegetables you don’t finish from your meals. For more on how to compost, click here.
  • Use electric instead of gaspowered tools. Using gas-powered lawnmowers or weed-whackers cancels out all the good stuff we’re doing because now we are polluting the air while we do it. Always use electric or hand tools!

Scooter Electric lawn mower

  • Avoid using pesticides. Pesticides are chemicals used to get rid of bugs that harm plants. While that sounds like a good thing, pesticides actually pose a major threat to our health and also contribute to air pollution. If your family must use pesticides, use one that is a water-based solution because it’ll contribute less to smog than an oil-based pesticide.
  • Water smart. When you water your plants, try to be as efficient as possible. Focus on each individual plant and give it a nice soaking around its base. If you water lightly all over the place, the plant will train its roots to stay near the surface of the soil which makes the plant weaker. Plus, more efficient watering means more water conservation, and that helps our planet too!
  • Plant “native” plants. “Native” plants are plants that grow naturally near where we live. They usually need less water and plant food because they’re used to growing well here. Native plants are easy to find, and it means we don’t have to drive far to buy them or their seeds to plant. The less time we have to spend driving around to find plants, the less pollution we put out from our cars, and the more we reduce our carbon footprint!

For more air quality information, check out my website, and don’t forget to ask your parents to download the FREE Sacramento Region Air Quality app. They can use the app to check the daily air quality forecast and get current conditions at the air monitoring sites in our region: http://www.aqmdscooter.com/index.php/videos/%E2%80%8E.

You can also check my calendar to see where I will be visiting next.

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Scooter