Clean Air Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who encourage behaviours that lead to cleaner air. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.


Latest News

October 10, 2019 Health and Crime Impacts
We have known for a while now that outdoor air pollution adversely affects respiratory, cardiovascular, perinatal, and other health outcomes. Globally, such pollution is estimated to be responsible for 3.3 million premature deaths annually. One new study looked at the impact at children specifically. It found evidence of an association between short-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 and the exacerbation of psychiatric disorders (e.g. anxiety and suicidal thoughts) in children as indicated by increases in psychiatric ED visits. Another new study also found that breathing polluted air is linked to aggressive behaviour and assaults. It estimated that that a 10% reduction in daily PM2.5 and ozone could save $1.4 billion in crime costs per year, a previously overlooked cost associated with pollution

Most Recent Clean Air Case Studies

Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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Landmark Case Study Capitol Hill In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

Capitol Hill In Motion is a recent evolution of the individualized marketing approach used by King County, Washington State, USA. It illustrates how to further engage communities where most trips are already not drive-alone. With remarkably high signup rates, this campaign also delivered a solid 16% average reduction in drive-alone trips (surpassing the campaign goal and King County’s overall goal of a 10% reduction).  Designated in 2017. 

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Landmark Case Study Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and use bike share more frequently, while driving alone less often. Compared with past Individualized Marketing efforts in other cities, the Go Programs have pushed the envelope of inclusive, accessible programming that serves a very broad range of Chicago neighborhoods - and the very high participation rates and positive post-program stakeholder input show that this effort paid off. Because of these successes, the Go Program can serve as a model for other communities looking to integrate equity and diversity in Transportation Demand Management programs. On average, 65% of post-program survey respondents report increased walking, biking, or transit usage because of the program. The program’s behavior-changing results led the City of Chicago to designate funding for additional neighborhoods in the future. Designated in 2017. 

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Clean Air at Home  EnvironmentHealth

"Clean Air at Home: Small Steps Make a Big Difference" is a targeted, community-based social marketing campaign that reduces young families’ exposures to environmental contaminants at home such as mould, dust, fumes from toxic cleaners and tobacco smoke. Almost three in four participants changed some of their behaviors and almost one half reported performing all five of the behaviors being promoted.

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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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The Clean Air Commute  EnvironmentHealth

Pollution Probe hosts an annual, month-long Clean Air Campaign to raise awareness about smog, vehicle emissions and related respiratory problems. The main event of this campaign is The Clean Air Commute, a one-day event in which employees pledge to carry out cleaner commuting practices. In 1996 a pilot was conducted to build on the one-day event and measure the resulting changes over a period of three months.

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Landmark Case Study Go Boulder  EnvironmentHealth

To promote a shift from single-occupant vehicle use to more sustainable modes of transportation, the City of Boulder uses several synergistic approaches. It offers transit passes to entire workplaces, schools and neighbourhoods, with guaranteed rides home for workplace pass holders needing to stay late at work or in case of an emergency. The city has continually improved its physical system to be more supportive of alternative transportation methods, with high-profile monthly reminders and opportunities to try these alternative methods.

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Ozone Action Program  EnvironmentHealth

In Southeast Michigan, the Clean Air Coalition runs a program to help reduce the formation of ground level ozone, which is a threat to environmental and human health and is one of the primary contributors to smog. The Ozone Action Program educates households and businesses, and encourages participation in voluntary ozone reduction activities. A key component of the program involves Ozone Action alerts which are issued when ozone levels are expected to exceed federal standards the following day.

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Spare the Air  EnvironmentHealth

When air pollution concentrations approach unhealthy levels, people living and working within the San Francisco Bay Area are notified, and encouraged to avoid activities that pollute the air. Partnerships with local businesses and public agencies allow the program to target commuters at work, and offer information, incentives and services to help them choose less polluting alternatives.

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Ottawa's Commuter Challenge  EnvironmentHealth

Ottawa's Commuter Challenge is a week long event that encourages people of legal driving age (16+) to reduce air pollution by using active or sustainable transportation to get to and from work or school. People are asked to walk, cycle, take the bus, telework, carpool, or a combination of those, instead of driving alone.

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Oregon's Air Quality Public Education and Incentive Program  EnvironmentHealth

This ongoing program educates the public and provides incentives to improve air quality in Portland. It uses non-regulatory approaches that target vehicles, lawnmowers, paints and certain consumer products - to reduce emissions from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

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Commuter Challenge: Environment Canada's Participation  EnvironmentHealth

This case study illustrates the successful engagement of a large organization (Environment Canada) in a broad-scale staff participation program. That program, the Commuter Challenge, is a Canada-wide NGO-led event that challenges commuters to reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles during a specific time frame. It is used as an awareness raising initiative and to promote trial of an activity, not as a scientific auditing or survey tool.

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Århus Bike Bus'ters  EnvironmentHealth

Over a one-year period more than 150 people in the City of Århus, Denmark were actively encouraged to use bicycles or public transit for their daily commute. One of the goals of Bike Busters was to assess the extent to which motorists would switch to sustainable means of transportation.

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Calgary Commuter Challenge  EnvironmentHealth

The Calgary Commuter Challenge is an annual, weeklong event designed to encourage commuters to use cleaner and healthier forms of transportation. Participating organizations compete with each other for the highest rates of employee participation. The city of Calgary also competes against other Canadian cities in the nation-wide Commuter Challenge.

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Landmark Case Study GCC EcoDriver Program  Environment

Green Communities Canada’s EcoDriver program promotes fuel-saving behaviours in three core areas: fuel-efficient driving, purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, and driving less. Participants attend driver-to-driver-format workshops, indicate the specific changes in driving habits they will make and the number of people they will tell about what they learned, and attend special events such as tire clinics where they are given free pressure gauges and can learn to test their tire pressure.  This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2011. A webinar on the program will be held in February 2011. About half a year later, this case study will be updated and the webinar recording, transcript and handouts will be posted. 

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Most Recent Clean Air Resources

Talking About Taking Airplanes  Environment

This guide outlines research and tips on talking about airplane trips and climate change.

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Engaging Teachers to Communicate Scientific Consensus on Climate Change and Other Topics  EnvironmentHealthSafety

When consensus about a risk or mitigating behavior is newly developed and/or not clearly understood, communicating that consensus through teachers / instructors can be critical. While this blog entry focuses on climate change, it may also apply to new understandings in many topic areas.

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Global Burden of Disease  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A comprehensive picture of what disables and kills people across countries, time, age, and sex. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) provides a tool to quantify health loss from hundreds of diseases, injuries, and risk factors, so that health systems can be improved and disparities can be eliminated.Collected and analyzed by a consortium of more than 2,300 researchers, the data capture premature death and disability from more than 300 diseases and injuries in 195 countries

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Fuel Efficient Automobiles  Environment

Promoting and Sustaining Consumer Demand for Highly Fuel Efficient Automobiles. Canadian consumer segmentation, barrier analysis and strategy suggestions regarding the purchase of highly efficient vehicles. Download PDF

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A free, searchable online registry of systematic reviews on the effectiveness of public health and health promotion interventions. The content has been quality rated. Bilingual (English and French).

Topics include: AIDS, environmental health, fitness, injury prevention, nutrition, safety, cycling, walking, water quality

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CDC Public Health Image Library  EnvironmentHealth

Provides photographs, illustrations and multimedia files, with image collections for environmental health, natural disasters, anatomy, biological sciences, heart health, nutrition, chemicals and drugs, diseases (including AIDS) and organisms.

Most of the images in the collection are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions.

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Program Impact Attribution  Environment

This document looks at the some options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Framing Environmental Health  EnvironmentHealth

The toolkit models how to use the FrameWorks Institute's evidence-based recommendations for communicating with average Americans about these issues in ways that build public understanding and support.

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Program Evaluation Methods; Measurement and Attribution of Program Results  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A good, detailed, freely accessible overview of program evaluation and attribution methods.

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Factors Influencing Health Behaviours in response to the Air Quality Health Index  EnvironmentHealth

This research looked at the predictors, motivators and barriers at the individual level, of following and acting on advice provided through the Air Quality Health Index program. Read More »

Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption  Environment

Why are men less likely than women to embrace environmentally friendly products and behaviors? Building on prior findings that men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance, this article argues that this green-feminine stereotype may motivate men to avoid green behaviors in order to preserve a macho image. It also shows that men's inhibitions about engaging in green behavior can be mitigated through masculine affirmation and masculine branding.

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The impact of comics vs photographs on knowledge, attitude and behavioural intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This study compares two modes of visually presenting information  – one using photographs and the other using cartoons – on audience’s knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Creative Gallery on Sustainability Communications  EnvironmentHealth

Covers a wide range of sustainability topics. Includes on-line, print and videos

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Fostering a Sustainable Future  Environment

Includes a guide to community-based social marketing, and sections with articles, brief case studies, graphic examples, and an archived listserv.

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National Center for Safe Routes to School  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This site helps community leaders, parents and schools develop programs and strategies that encourage and enable more children to safely walk and bike to school. It offers news, state contacts, a 'how-to' manual, and extensive resources for marketing, engineering, education, evaluation, enforcement, training and program development. Publisher: National Center for Safe Routes to School within the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

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