Blog
  • December 28, 2011

    The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect, ponder and relax.  Well, at Air Aware we have no time to slow down. It's all hands on deck, full speed ahead. Running on momentum and positive energy we are zooming into the next year with so many things on the go we are just able to slow down enough for Santa, then we're back at it. We wouldn't be in this great position without the support of our numerous partners and collaborators.

    As 2011 comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada for their commitment to improving respiratory health in Canada.

    Without that commitment the National Lung Health Framework (NLHF) and successful programs like Air Aware would not be in place working to improve lung health in Canada today. Clean Air Champions’ Air Aware program is possible thanks to a generous contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada which ends on March 31, 2012. 

    Did you know?

    • It is estimated that over eight million people are living with respiratory illness in Canada.
    • The World Health Organization anticipates that lung disease will soon be the third leading cause of death in the world.
    • Canada currently has one of the highest rates of asthma, and tuberculosis rates among Aboriginal people are more than 25 times higher than those of other people living in Canada.

    These trends cannot be ignored. Indeed, efforts must be made to slow and if possible, reverse these numbers. This is why we believe so strongly in the work we are doing with the Air Aware program and the very important messages we convey with the help of our Champions. It all comes down to being aware. Aware of how we are feeling. Aware of what we are breathing. Aware that we have options and that our actions can make a difference.

    The National Lung Health Framework, developed with support of the Federal Government and through extensive consultation with the respiratory health community, has been a critical catalyst for increased awareness of the issues, collaboration of efforts and focused action necessary to address this often preventable threat to our economic, social and physical well being.

    We have been working diligently since February 2011 to build a comprehensive, national program called Air Aware to deliver a critical message on air quality and lung health to youth across Canada.

    Air Aware bridges multiple sectors of public, involves multiple federal and provincial governments and agencies, aligns key messaging related to air quality and lung health, and maximizes results via our collaborative approach to programming.  Among our federal department supporters are Sport Canada and Environment Canada via the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).  The AQHI is an instrumental element of the Air Aware program and vital tool that Canadians can learn to use in order to easily protect their health.

    Air Aware is the only program of its kind in Canada and targets tens of thousands of Canadians, primarily youth, between the ages of 10 and 18 in both the school and sport/recreation (sport/rec) sectors. With this program just launching in 2011-2012 it has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of coaches, youth, parents and sport administrators in successive years of implementation.  

    Air Aware is fortunate to have excellent partners and supporters who have been instrumental in building a multi-sector based, national program. The list of current partners includes: Asthma Society of Canada, AllerGen (NCE), Anaphylaxis Canada, Canadian Network for Respiratory Care, Coaching Association of Canada, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Athletes CAN, National Coaching Institute, True Sport, Sport Matters, GreenLearning, Ontario Physical Health Education Association and multiple scientists and researchers affiliated with AllerGen NCE.

    We are proud to report that the Air Aware program is being incredibly well received across the country. We thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for recognizing the importance of Air Aware and its support to make this program possible. We are more confident than ever that this is a much needed program and one that all Canadians should have access to.

    Cheers!

    The Air Aware Team

     

    Posted In: Air Aware
  • December 9, 2011

    Clean Air Champions' partner, Green Cricket, released their most recent Green Cricket Report this week with a focus on healthy environments for schools and daycares.  Green Cricket is an online, Canadian owned, Toronto-based retailer of quality environmental products.

     

    The Green Cricket Report showcases their own EcoLogo Certified Foaming Hand Wash which is free from harmful sodium laurel sulfates (SLS) and artificial fragrances.  A special highlight for Clean Air Champions (CAC) is that Green Cricket will donate 5% of all purchases of their Green Cricket EcoLogo certified Foaming Hand Wash directly to schools or organizations participating in CAC programs until December 31st, 2011. Do not miss out on this great opportunity!  Interested schools should call 1-800-GRN-CRKT and will receive a 5% rebate after purchase.

     

    To view the full Green Cricket Report, which speaks about the importance of natural cleaning products and highlights the partnership with CAC (on page 3), please visit http://www.cleanairchampions.ca/database/files/library/GreenCricket_Report_Vol.1.pdf.

     

    In addition, during this holiday season, think about responsible and environmentally friendly gift giving.  Green Cricket is a smart solution, so be sure to check out their website to view their full list of products which are grouped into categories like Home Life, Baby, Spa, Outdoor & Pets, Personal Care, Yoga and Apparel.  www.greencricket.ca

    Posted In: Health
  • December 1, 2011

    On November 28, 2011, The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P., Minister of the Environment, announced renewed funding for the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. The Government will invest $600.8 million over the next 5 years in a continued effort for Clean Air.

    Clean Air Champions would like to congratulate and thank the Government for this decision, as clean air is our most precious resource! Funding for clean air initiatives cannot stop here. The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda will help reduce future air pollution, but there needs to be ongoing support for initiatives that address the health impacts of air pollution on the millions of Canadians living with or affected by respiratory illnesses.  

    Current funding for the National Lung Health Framework (NLHF) will end on March 31, 2012. We recognize and thank this government for its past commitment to the NLHF and its commitment to lung health in Canada. Without that commitment the NLHF and successful initiatives like ours that aim to improve lung health in Canada would not be in place. We encourage the government to keep supporting the NLHF so that this momentum can continue. In our case, we have been working diligently since February 2011 to build a comprehensive, national program called Air Aware to deliver a critical message on air quality, active living and respiratory health to youth across Canada. It typically takes several years to build a national program and develop the strategic partnerships needed to support the ongoing success of a program. We are proud to report that Air Aware is being incredibly well received.

    Air Aware is the only program of its kind in Canada and targets tens of thousands of Canadians, primarily youth between the ages of 10 and 18 in both the school and sport/recreation (sport/rec) sectors. With this program just launching in 2011-2012 it has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of coaches, youth, parents and sport administrators in successive years of implementation. The research, undertaken in Air Aware Phase I, was instrumental in revealing that at present there are no resources, guidelines or protocols in the school or sport/rec sectors that address the issues of air quality and lung health.

    So please, let this funding for cleaner air continue. Clean Air Champions encourages the continued support of the National Lung Health Framework and the commitment to clean air!

    Cheers!

    Posted In: Health, Air Aware
  • November 11, 2011

    Do you have an ultimate goal in life? How will you achieve it?

    After recently completing my 6th full marathon, I discovered something about myself that I never knew.... I can set a lofty goal, work towards it religiously and accomplish it! All of those kilometers to discover that?! Well not totally. See there was a time when I stopped playing competitive sports and thought to myself “I’m glad I don’t have to stick to a schedule or commit lengths of time to traveling to some place where I probably wouldn’t otherwise go”. But soon (maybe the week after I stopped) I realized that I truly missed the travel, schedule, and most of all, the friendships that were formed. Without many of my teammates I wouldn’t have become who I am today. Without them I wouldn’t have the confidence in myself to be creative, disciplined and responsible for my actions. My team was more like an extension of my family. I also needed a goal, an end to some set period of time, which is why I chose to start running marathons. It was simple, sign up for the marathon and train as much as possible until that date arrived. Then what? Well the only logical thing to do was sign up for another marathon and start over again!

    What is the point of telling you my progression of participating in sports? Because I feel that active living and sports, when introduced at an early age, build a foundation for all of us to become successful in whatever we decide to direct our energy towards in the future (i.e. jobs, family life, professional sports, and so on). It also gives us a sense to be human beings at the basic levels of our existence. We often drive to the store instead of biking, drive to the gym instead of running or walking, and often choose to drive alone rather than carpooling and getting to know others. These were probably actions built into our brains by observing our parents or friends. Our population’s health has seemed to decline even though many people say they are active. We need to consider our health when performing every day actions in our lives.

    Also, the environment is almost always an afterthought in our daily activities. There has to be a better way to take care of the environment that we so desperately need! Running every day, outside has made me realize the amount of cars on the road on average is high and increasing. Try it some time. Take a walk to the local store and see how many cars are on the road. The amount of cars, noise and smell of exhaust will most likely make you feel sick, both literally and figuratively.

    We set goals in life and often don’t realize what we need do to get to that goal. We also try to take on accomplishing those goals alone. Without others helping you achieve a goal through support or achieving it with you, goals often become set aside or even abandoned. Support to travel a more sustainable and active way can really grow and mature with the help of others. We need to support each other in finding ways to improve and preserve our environment.

    Please consider the following every day:

    • Your health and the environment before leaving the house!
    • Being an active role model for our youth!
    • Being an active role model for adults!
  • October 25, 2011

    What makes you inspired to make a difference?  For me, inspiration come from positive messages and gaining knowledge about issues that makes me feel empowered that I can make a difference.

     

    The concept of Sustainable Happiness exudes positivity and inspirational messaging.  Sustainable Happiness is happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global well-being and does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations.  Just reading the definition motivates me to want to make a difference for myself, my family and our environment.

     

    At Clean Air Champions, we work every day to motivate and inspire people.  We thrive on empowering others to take action to improve the environment and their own personal health.  I truly appreciate the message at Clean Air Champions that every step counts.  We believe that little actions add up to make a big difference.   The concept of sustainable happiness is a perfect fit with our vision.

     

    I have begun my sustainable happiness journey by participating in the Sustainable Happiness course.  Happy people are inspired easily – they are content within their soul and can reach out to others to make a difference.  I read a phrase from Dr. Catherine O’Brien, one of the creators of the course, that happiness is ‘doing things that make our heart sing’.  That phrase sound so magical to me – I want to do things that make my heart sing. 

     

    So what have I learned on my journey so far?  I have learned to set intentions every day – not a goal but a behaviour.  We can all set intentions for how we want to contribute to improving our environment: decide to compost every day, bike to the park with our kids instead of taking the car or being conscious of our water usage. 

     

    One sustainable happiness concept that really stands out to me is accountability. Happy people do not place blame.  They think about how they can make a situation better and what they can do to feel better.  They hold themselves accountable for all of their actions.  Therefore, even though they may face barriers in life, they realize they are accountable for how they react to that barrier.  We all face barriers to improving our environment.  We may feel we have no time to walk to instead of taking the car, or that we cannot change the way we heat our homes.  But in truth, we can be accountable for this and take action like making the time to walk instead of drive, or keeping the house temperature low and only turning on the heat when you need it.

     

    We all make hundreds of choices every day.  We all face barriers and obstacles.  Individuals who have achieved sustainable happiness take control of these choices and knock down those barriers and focus on making the world a better place to live.  I am continuing my journey of achieving sustainable happiness with the inspiration that little steps do add up - and with the intention of doing things that make my heart sing.

    Posted In: Health, Happiness
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