Habits from 1912 Mean Cleaner Air for 2012

On Feb. 14, 1912, President William Howard Taft signed the proclamation making Arizona a state. With only 294,353 residents, the Arizona of 1912 looked very different from what it looks like today. Population growth, advances in technology and a changing climate have all contributed to the Arizona of 2012—and with those changes came a decrease in air quality. However, did you know that you can help make the air healthier to breathe by employing some of the same tactics as our forefathers from 100 years ago? As we celebrate the Arizona Centennial, we encourage you to do some things the “old-fashioned way,” and start becoming part of the solution to our pollution challenges. 

  • Ditch the leaf blower, or use a rake and broom instead—
    While the leaf blower might be faster, using a rake and broom does the job just as effectively. Burn a few extra calories while raking, and imagine what your yard would have looked like in 1912.
  • Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags—
    Arizonans were never asked the question, “paper or plastic?” when shopping for groceries in 1912. Grocery stores today have a lot more to offer than they did back then, so take advantage of the expanded selection and carry your groceries home in a more durable, reusable bag. Some grocery stores even offer discounts for bringing your own bags.
  • Plant low water deciduous trees around your home to provide cooling shade in the summer—
    If there’s one thing we enjoy more of now than we did in 1912, it’s cool air. The advent of the air conditioning unit is something Arizonans will forever treasure, but give the environment and your electric bill a break by getting creative with your landscaping.
  • Park your car and go inside instead of waiting in a long fast food restaurant or bank drive-thru lines—
    The convenience of fast food and ATMs are a couple of the luxuries we enjoy today that were not around in 1912.  Had they been around back then, drive-thru certainly wasn’t an option. Instead of idling (and emitting more pollution into the air) in a drive-thru line, park your car and walk up to the ATM or go inside the restaurant.
  • Wash clothes with cold or warm water only and dry clothes on a line instead of in a dryer—
    Whether the year is 1912 or 2012, Arizonans have always had the right to brag about more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Take advantage of that natural source of heat! Your water heater won’t have to do as much work and your clothes will have the fresh smell of the outdoors.

In 1912, Arizonans had high hopes for the future of the newest state in the Union. In 2012, we have even higher hopes for the next 100 years. Perhaps in 2112, clean air efforts will be an every day practice for all. Help us reach that goal by becoming a Clean Air Champion, beginning with the tips above. Want to do more? Make the Clean Air Commitment today!