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CATA’s Clean Commute Options Program - Striving for Better Air Quality


“We focus on transportation options that are better for the environment than driving around in your car every day,” CATA’s clean commute options coordinator Chloe White says on Greening of the Great Lakes.  “We try to educate people on how their daily transportation habits really affect our community’s air quality and our public health.”

White talks about the origins of the program.  It’s a Federal Highway Administration program that provides financial support to regional transportation authorities that are located in areas with unacceptable levels of air pollution, which the EPA calls nonattainment areas.

“We define clean commuting as any mode of transportation that emits fewer emissions per person than driving alone in your car would,” adds White.

“We ramp up public education and awareness efforts between May and September, which is Ozone Action Season, a time when our air is especially susceptible to unhealthy air quality levels.”

This season’s awareness initiative is coming up on the end and is closing things out with the 3rd annual Come Clean Duathlon – a run-bike-run race in Haslett at Lake Lansing Park South on Sunday, September 11th.

Participants and volunteers are still welcome.

White says she tries to help people see clean commuting as convenient as driving in one’s own car. 

“Ultimately, we’re hoping that the public will change their transportation behaviors away from driving alone and towards modes that are better for our community’s air quality.”

White is a recent University of Michigan graduate with a degree in environmental science and minor in sustainable business.

Her advice for young people who want to follow her footsteps into the evolving and varied sustainability careers emphasizes networking.

“Make sure while you’re still in school you get some kind of hands-on experience in the area of environmental science that you’re interested in.  Because it’s such a broad field, there’s no natural transition into a job.”

White recalls her Girl Scout days in reflecting on what sustainability means to her.

“I want to leave my world better than it was for the future generations.”

Greening of the Great Lakes airs inside MSU Today Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on AM 870.

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