Mission Statement

The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department is committed to protecting, restoring, and enhancing natural resources on the Soboba Reservation for all tribal members past, present, and future.

What We Do

The Environmental Department works to raise awareness of all aspects of the environment. This includes solid waste issues, pollution prevention, water and air quality, conservation measures, household hazardous waste disposal, and many other areas. In addition to community outreach and education efforts such as participating in community events, the department also hosts an annual Tribal Earth Day event and community clean up days. We also conduct surface water quality testing on streams running through the reservation, collect and manage geographical data, and create programs to address environmental concerns.

An easy way to begin learning about the environment around you is to visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website and use MyEnvironment

 

Environmental Article of the Month

 

SUMMER AIR QUALITY & ENERGY CONSERVATION

 

AIR QUALITY

As the gloomy days pass us by and summer days begin to wake us in the mornings, we suddenly acquire the urge to spend more time outdoors, soaking up the warm summer air and sun. When we do plan outdoor activities, it is wise to be mindful of the air quality for the day because when the air quality is poor, the polluted air can have negative effects on health. According to the American Lung Association the two most common and dangerous forms of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Ozone pollution is invisible and typically at its highest level during the summer months. Though not as widespread, additional pollutant traces can be found in the air such as carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as scores of toxins such as mercury, arsenic, benzene, and formaldehyde and acid gases.

When individuals are exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants adverse health concerns such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin; wheezing; coughing; chest tightness and breathing difficulties; worsening of existing lung and heart problems, such as asthma; and an increased risk of a heart attack rises. In addition, long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Individuals most at risk by air pollution, especially particle pollution, are infants, children and teens; individuals over the age of 65; individuals with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema; heart disease or diabetes; and individuals who work or are active outdoors. (American Lung Association).

 

To check the Air Quality Index for your area or an area that you will be visiting, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website at: www3.epa.gov/enviro/myenviro or www.airnow.gov

Enter the location by name, address, city, county, or zip code and you can access the current and forecasted air quality, along with other great information about your area’s water, land, climate and health.

 

In addition to the outside air quality, we must also be aware of our indoor air quality because indoor air is actually 2 times more polluted than outdoor air, meaning that 72% of our chemical exposure comes from our homes (EPA). Considering that we spend most of our days indoors (home, office, shopping), we must take steps to ensure that we are getting the least amount of exposure to pollutants as possible. Using natural cleaning products such as soap and water or vinegar and water instead of harsh chemical cleaners, burning soy candles instead of candles with paraffin wax, not spraying air fresheners, keeping dust at a minimum, preventing indoor mold growth by repairing moisture problems and opening up windows to let in the natural air on clear air quality days are some ways to reduce the chemical pollutant exposure in your home. Finally, air pollution not only affects human health but also produces environmental effects on wildlife, acid rain, ozone depletion, crop and forest damage, and global climate change.

Studies done by NASA show that indoor plants can significantly improve indoor air quality by filtering out certain toxins and purifying the air !

 

ENERGY CONSERVATION

Now that we’re getting more sunlight later into the evening, it is the perfect time to begin taking advantage of longer light hours to conserve energy. Since the average household’s energy use is between 16% and 25% of their total energy use, here are a few tips on how to save energy during the summer months:

 

  1. Enjoy a grilled meal on the barbeque instead of cooking on the stove to save electricity and natural gas.
  2. Go for a walk or a bike ride. This is a great way to spend time with the family, too!
  3. Keep blinds or curtains closed during the daytime to keep rooms cooler.
  4. Utilize the natural light in the evenings by opening up the blinds to let light inside your home instead of turning on lamps.
  5. Use fans to cool the house for as long as possible instead of central air units to save electricity. The cost of using a fan on medium speed is 1 cent every three hours versus 36 cents per hour to run a central air unit (Florida Solar Energy Center).
  6. Even though we like coming home to a very cool home, turn your air conditioning off or set it at 78 degrees or above while you are not home.

 

 

Following these tips on air quality and energy conservation will help keep you healthier, save money and become more eco-conscious.