Here are some ideas on how you can help support clean, wood smoke-free air in your community.
Advocacy matters. When a few people start speaking up, it makes it easier for others to speak up as well. Policymakers become aware that this is something important to constituents.
Simply stated, an advocate is someone who publicly supports a particular cause.
You do not have to be an air quality expert or a health professional to be an advocate for wood smoke-free air.
Learn the basic facts about wood smoke pollution (our Quick Facts page can get you started), and share these facts with family, friends, and others in your community.
When some people start talking about wood smoke pollution, others start to feel more comfortable talking about it too.
Share your own wood smoke story with us and with others.
Is there an agency in your community that accepts complaints about wood smoke or has an air quality tip line? You might consider filing complaints when it is appropriate to do so. There may be no follow-up or results (there often isn’t), but this lets regulatory agencies know that wood smoke-free air matters to people in the community. There will be a record of your complaint. It can help to show that this is a problem where you live, and that a growing number of people are affected enough to complain about it.
Is an air quality agency or public health group in your community promoting a wood-to-wood exchange program? Let them know that there are serious problems with certified wood stoves, and that wood stove to wood stove changeouts are not a solution.
Do you have an air quality agency that holds public meetings? Are wood smoke issues ever on the agenda? Consider attending a meeting and submitting a comment.
Policy comments should be relatively short, to the point, and polite. If relevant and if you feel comfortable doing so, you might also briefly describe your own wood smoke story and explain why the topic is important to you.
Keep in mind that comments made to public agencies and regulatory authorities will become part of the public record and may be posted online.
Letters to the editor can be on any topic, but they are most likely to be published when they are in response to a recent news item.
Has there been a recent article about wood burning that seemed biased with an industry-friendly slant? Or has there been an article lately on a topic that could be tied in to wood smoke pollution in some way, such as on wildfire smoke, air pollution more generally, or on climate emissions?
Or has there been an article on a health topic, such as risk factors for asthma, heart attacks, or dementia that left out wood smoke pollution?
There are many opportunities to speak out for clean, wood smoke-free air.
Letters to the editor should be brief and follow the word limit guidelines of the publication you are submitting your letter to.
These are just a few ideas for advocating for wood smoke-free air.
Wood burning remains socially acceptable in part because there is still a critical lack of awareness of the harm it causes. As with cigarette smoke, the more we all talk about wood smoke, the more awareness there will be.