By: Mollie Simon
Wood smoke pollution is a problem facing residential communities across the country. But sometimes our concerns about a possible confrontation prevent us from taking that first step to initiate a conversation with a neighbor whose smoke is affecting us. Clean Air Council’s I See Smoke program was asked by residents to create a guide to help those impacted by wood smoke through the process of talking to our neighbors and illustrate how to take next steps if the problem continues.
You can view the guide here. Included in the guide are tips on how to begin the conversation, guidelines for how to approach your neighbor, information on how to take action when discussion isn’t working, fact sheets, and more.
Here are some of the biggest take aways:
- Make a connection to your neighbor before bringing up the problem. People are much more likely to listen to a friend than an aloof neighbor. Even though you may be angry, try to put that aside and start the conversation off on a positive note.
- Share your personal story—it may not have even crossed your neighbors mind that this is a big problem for you. Calmly explain how wood smoke is impacting your family’s health.
- Have the facts and share them. Wood smoke pollution is not a well-known danger. By sharing the I See Smoke fact sheets, you can help illustrate some of the biggest negative health impacts of burning wood.
- Be empathetic. Just as you want your neighbor to understand your perspective on wood smoke; it is important to take the time to listen to their concerns. We know that low costs or convenience should not trump health and safety, but it is important to know that wood burning could be seen by the neighbor as cost-effective option.
Starting the conversation is not always easy but sometimes taking time to sit down and calmly explain the problem to your neighbor can have a big difference. If you are dealing with a wood burning neighbor and need assistance, please feel free to reach out to I See Smoke PA.
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