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Earth Friendly: November is month for giving thanks

By By Kate Garcia
Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:07 a.m.

Kate Garcia

There is a trend going around on Facebook these days that every day in November you write about one thing in which you are thankful.

If Earth Friendly were on Facebook, I would start the first day of November off with posting, "I am thankful that at the official end of ozone season, Victoria did not have a single Ozone Action day."

Victoria's ozone season lasts from May 1 to Oct. 31. During this time, you may have seen or heard some of our advertising. I'd like to take a minute to recap this year's messages in one small article.

"Good up high, bad nearby" - This ad co-starred Victoria's chief meteorologist, Bill Alexander. He helped me tell the difference between good ozone, which is up high in the atmosphere that protects us from the sun's rays, and bad ozone, which we create down on Earth's surface that is harmful to us.

"Out on a limb" - Donald Reese, city of Victoria's public works assistant director, reminds me that trimming limbs for the city's collection service is convenient, no hassle and earth-friendly but to call the Environmental Services office first before trimming those limbs. That number is 361-485-3220.

"Carpool" - This all-star commercial, featuring many wonderful city employees, and one very friendly Keep Victoria Beautiful executive director, help Laramie realize that while swimming pools in cars may sound like a really cool idea, actual carpools with friends most mornings can be just as much of a blast. We encourage everyone to try as often as possible to carpool. After all, the less on-road traffic the less ozone pollutants in the air.

"Mow after 5 p.m." - On a leisurely bike ride through the park, I come upon Jason Patillo lounging on his riding lawn mower in the early afternoon before 5 p.m. After seeing the confusion on my face, Jason reminds me that it's not 5 p.m. yet when the sun starts to go down, and that ozone pollutants from engines, like the one in his lawnmower, are most likely to combine and create harmful ozone when the sun is at its brightest. So what else can you do while you wait for the sun to begin to go down besides spread out a beach towel and sip on some ice cold fruit juice?

"Pack it in" - Environmental Services Director Darryl Lesak sits with a woman on the steps of the library after riding their bikes from their nearby offices to meet each other for a tasty sack lunch. Packing a lunch at least once a week is another wonderful way to keep our air clean.

"Green Guardian and the Orange Avenger" - Victoria has some new superheroes. Green Guardian reminds everyone to do what they can to keep our air quality in "code green." Orange Avenger is his awesome air quality sidekick, warning everyone about the dangers of "code orange" Ozone Action Days.

I believe it's safe to say that all of Victoria has pulled together to keep us out of the dangers of having a single "code orange" Ozone Action day by practicing all the useful tips and tricks offered in this year's campaign. Living in a city where the citizens care and are aware is something to truly be grateful for.

Kate Garcia is the programs coordinator for the city of Victoria, Environmental Services.

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