Occasionally we hear about Homeland Security raising or lowering the perceived “threat level” in the U.S. – by changing the color from green to red, or yellow to orange. When I go to the beach, there are different coded days to let us know whether it’s safe to swim.

A new code in my life, here in DC, is the code to desribe our air quality. Aka: exactly how much smog is entering our respiratory systems each time we take a breath as we move through the streets on hazy, hot and humid days.

I know this is used in many cities, and isn’t new, but here the code is often orange, or red. When it is orange or above, all of the buses are free (which is pretty sweet!). But… the high level of toxins in DC is definitely alarming, and smog doesn’t just look and feel bad – it is full of ground level ozone and hydrocarbons which are very detrimental to our health. No wonder Congress goes on recess so much………..

With such great public transportation, there is really little need to take a personal car anywhere in this city. that being said, Saturday September 22 (I think) will be declared “Car Free DC Day” and some of my friends are organizing some big events to get folks to leave their cars at home and move around the city in a greener way.