Scooter Carpool

Car Care for Cleaner Air

Hi Friends,

Cars are an important part of most daily routines. Whether your family car is new or old, big or small, there are ways to help protect the environment and improve gas mileage, which will save money.

Here are five ways to make your family’s car more eco-friendly, regardless of the make, model or year. Help it last longer, and reduce air pollution, by sharing these tips with your family:

Purchase eco-friendly tires. Many name brand tire companies have developed eco-friendly tires that can reduce carbon emissions.

Keep tires inflated. Under-inflated tires are less “round” and require more energy to begin moving and to maintain speed. Tire pressure should be checked at least monthly to get better mileage, reduce fuel costs and emissions.

Get regular tune-ups. Car maintenance helps keep it running smoothly and can help boost gas mileage, which helps your family save money on gas by not having to fill up as often.

Use the car wash. Washing your family’s car at home might seem like the greener option, but it’s actually one of the most environmentally unfriendly things you can do. Water that runs off the car can be loaded with gas, oil and residue that can be harmful to the environment. Encourage your parents to take the car to a local car wash instead. The car wash has special equipment to reduce the amount of water that’s used, and many of them recycle the water.

Carpool. Another way to make your car more eco-friendly is to share it with others by carpooling with a friend or neighbor to school or other activities.

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

Until next time!

-Scooter

Spare The Air Quiz

Scooter’s Spare The Air Quiz

Hi Friends!

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, because I’ve shared lots of awesome tips and information with you over the past couple of years. If you think you’re an air quality rock star, take my quiz to see how much you know about the Sacramento region’s Spare The Air campaign!

  1. Which of the following IS NOT a great way to Spare The Air?
  1. Bring your own lunch to work or school
  2. Carpooling
  3. Using a gas lawn mower
  4. Riding your bike to school
  1. What’s the name of the free app that your parents can download on their phones to check the daily air quality forecast and receive Spare The Air alerts?
  1. Sacramento AQI app
  2. Spare The Air AQI app
  3. Sacramento Forecast app
  4. Sacramento Region Air Quality app
  1. What do we call the PICTURE BELOW that helps us determine how much pollution is in the air?

  1. Spare The Air Chart (STAC)
  2. Air Quality Index (AQI)
  3. Air Quality Table (AQT)
  4. Scooter’s Quality Index (SQI)
  1. Except for wildfire smoke, what is the biggest cause of summertime air pollution in the Sacramento region?
  1. Trash
  2. Vehicles like cars, trucks and buses
  3. Skunks
  4. Bicycles
  1. True or False: Children are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe more rapidly than adults, which increases their exposure.
  1. True
  2. False
  1. Riding a ________ or __________ to school are great ways to help Spare The Air.
  1. Baseball
  2. Bike
  3. Blanket
  4. Walking
  5. Both B & D
  6. Both A & C
  1. The Spare The Air season starts on ___________ and ends on _____________?
  1. Starts: The first day of school/Ends: The last day of school
  2. Starts: May 1/Ends: October 31
  3. Starts: May 1/Ends: January 1
  4. Starts: January 1/Ends: May 1

 

Okay – let’s see how you did. Are you a Spare The Air expert? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to check your answers!

If you want to say hello and hang out with me, check my calendar to see where my next stop is.

Until next time!

Your pal,

-Scooter

 

Answers:

  1. C
  2. D
  3. B
  4. B
  5. A
  6. E
  7. B

 

Hot Dog Scooter

National Hot Dog Day

Did you know that Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year? That comes out to about 70 hot dogs per person each year. That’s a lot of hot dogs! Since today is National Hot Dog Day, I encourage you to eat a hot dog, or two, to celebrate. If you’re planning to join today’s festivities, here are a few tips I’d like you to remember:

Use a gas barbecue instead of a charcoal one. Using charcoal when barbecuing creates a lot of air pollution. Make sure to ask your parents to use a gas grill instead!

Buy hot dog toppings that are locally grown. Hot dog toppings are endless. If you like tomatoes, onions, pickles…try buying toppings that are locally grown. When we buy local products, we help reduce air pollution because fewer trucks have to deliver food to our area from far away.

If your parents decide that cooking just isn’t in the plans tonight, but you still want a hot dog – deals for National Hot Dog Day are happening all around. Ask your parents to take you out to a restaurant where you can get a hot dog!

Walk, ride the bus or carpool to the store. If you are taking a trip to the store to purchase hot dogs to make at home, or you simply want to take advantage of the deals happening at local restaurants, try to get there using public transit or sharing a ride with a friend. The less we drive, the less we pollute the air!

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 current air quality conditions in the area.

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

Until next time!

Your Pal,
-Scooter

Scooter Summer Time

School’s Out: Spare The Air Tips for Summer Vacation

Hi Friends!

Summer is here! School is out and many of you will go on vacation, head to summer camp or enjoy other outdoor activities that don’t require you to travel far. Despite all of the fun you’re going to have, it’s important to remember that CLEAN AIR IS UP TO US! Don’t forget to pay attention to air pollution levels and the Air Quality Index (AQI). Remember from my earlier post – the AQI is a chart that tells us if we can enjoy the outdoors as usual or if we should avoid any strenuous outdoor activities due to pollution levels being harmful to our health.

Whatever your plans are this summer, remember to be respectful of the air. Practice all of the different ways we can help reduce air pollution, both at home and during our travels. Here are some Spare The Air tips:

  • Pack reusable items. Instead of buying travel size shampoo or conditioner switch to reusable containers for those things.
  • Turn off the lights. Even if you’re staying at a hotel, turn off the lights and electronics when you aren’t using them. Even on vacation it’s important to save energy.
  • Use reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles are a great way to help the environment. Most places will have a FREE faucet or water fountain that you can use to refill your water bottle, so there’s no reason to go buy one at the store.
  • Walk or bike. Cars release pollution into the air. Once you get to your destination – walk, bike or use the local public transit system to get around town.

  • Recycle. Remember to toss your cans and bottles in the recycling bin, rather than the garbage bin. If you aren’t sure whether you should recycle a container or box, check the package for a recycling symbol.

  • Don’t litter! Hold onto garbage until you find a trash can! You can do your part to save the environment by not throwing trash on the ground.

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.

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

Until next time!

Your pal,
Scooter

Gardening Tips Blog

“Green” Gardening Tips

Hi Friends!

Now that school is out for the summer, I know that many of you will be spending lots of time outside. Personally, this is my favorite time of year because I love spending time outdoors. One of my favorite hobbies is gardening with my family. We plant trees whenever we have a chance and water all of our plants only when necessary (that helps save water!), which keeps them nice and healthy. Plants are important for the environment and provide clean air for us to breathe. As you may know, there are many “green” gardening tips and Earth-friendly ways to help Spare The Air in your neighborhood, and around your home and garden. Here are some of the ways my family and I help Spare The Air!

  • Plant a tree. Trees provide us with clean air. Planting a tree is really easy. This tutorial will help you through the process.

  • Start a compost pile. Compost is made when you take kitchen scraps, such as leftover fruits and vegetables you don’t finish from your meals, and put them in a pile or compost container in your yard. It then becomes nutrient-rich food for your soil and can be a great way to help your garden grow naturally! 
  • Water smartly. When you water your plants, try to be as efficient as possible. Water your plants and garden during the coolest part of the day, so most of the water has a chance to soak into the ground before it evaporates. Focus on each individual plant and give it a nice soak around the base. This will help the roots grow stronger – plus, more efficient watering means more water conservation, and that helps our planet too!
  • Avoid using oil-based pesticides. If you’re currently using these chemicals, replace them with a water-based solution because it will contribute less to smog than an oil-based pesticide.
  • Use electric instead of gas-powered tools. Switch to an electric mower or weed-whacker to help prevent pollution in the air. You’ll be making a positive impact on the environment and the air quality in your community.

Scooter Mo Lawn

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. For help downloading the app, click here to watch a short video.

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

Remember, CLEAN AIR IS UP TO US!

Your pal,

-Scooter

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 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 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 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