RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Kimberly Hill

Clean air is a natural right that should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of race or class.

Profession: Environmental Justice Consultant
Group Affiliation: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

Clean Air Ambassador:

Kimberly Hill

Detroit, Michigan

The issue of air pollution became personal for me when I began to hear the countless stories of residents living near noxious facilities in southwest Detroit. Every morning, they are greeted by soot on their cars and foul odors. For years, they have been forced to breathe unhealthy air and, as a result, suffer from asthma and severe levels of cancer.

The local sources of pollution in my community are the Detroit Incinerator and the Marathon Oil Refinery. The Detroit Incinerator is the largest solid waste incinerator in the U.S. and a major source of pollution for the region. It burns an estimated 2,800 tons of commercial and household waste each day. The Marathon Oil Refinery in southwest Detroit is Michigan's only refinery, and it is importing tar sands oil from Canada.

Detroit is home to some of the most polluted sites in the state of Michigan. The industries that drove the city have been a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because of the economic development opportunities that were provided—the middle class was officially established through these industries. However, it was also a curse because of the environmental hazards that accompanied it, leading to rare forms of cancer, and increased levels of severe asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Often, the residents of these communities are least likely to be able to afford quality health care and do not have access to preventive care. I am attending “50 States United for Healthy Air” because I have an obligation to fight for those who are too weak to fight for themselves. I am going to D.C. to express our concerns and to share our stories, in an effort to strengthen congressional support of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Clean air should not be a commodity that is only reserved for wealthy residents. It is a natural right that should be enjoyed by EVERYONE, regardless of race or class.
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Thank you for what you are doing. I live in West Michigan where we have our own set of issues but share your concerns about the importance of clean air.

Hello Everyone,

I want to thank everyone for all of the inspiring comments. Your stories, interestS and kind words enabled me to proudly represent Michigan, while speaking before the White House and meeting with Members of Congress. Our two U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin's representatives received compelling information about the dangers of attacking the EPA through legislation. I strongly urged them to preserve and strengthen the EPA and to allow them to do their job in protecting OUR clean air and clean water. The message was loud and very clear. I hope that you will work with me and so many others to hold our elected officials accountable at the state level and the federal level. We must let our elected officials know that there is nothing "political" about our right to breathe clean air, regardless of race, class, gender or age. It is an absolute right. When we vote in 2012, let's make sure that we vote for Clean Air. In other words, every elected official, who has voted against our health by supporting noxious facilities, in an effort to gain dubious status and financial gain, will receive a vote of NO CONFIDENCE on election day. Let us begin to identify people in our community who are proven leaders and who have a demonstrable commitment to protecting the environment.

This is our time to take the baton of leadership or identify someone who is ready to take it!!!

Thanks for allowing me to represent you in DC. Let's go....

Clean Air Ambassador,

Kimberly Hill - Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

Thank you for working for clean air.
I have known people with asthma, and my wife and two of our three children have had allergies, now under control. Air pollution, however, makes all these conditions worse.
It is well within the capability of industry to pay for pollution controls, but business will not do the right thing voluntarily. Government is we the people: let's go get 'em!

Ever since I've worked in the heart of Detroit here at Detroit Medical Center (WSU/DMC) I personally have noticed a significant decrease in the quality of my own health, showing up in the form of chronic sinus and bronchial conditions, from colds, to bronchitis and a touch of allergies and asthma. While it's true that I am getting up in years (61 years), because I've chosen to live a VERY healthy, holistic lifestyle for virtually all of my adult life, with no history of chronic lung conditions until taking this job in downtown Detroit, I cannot now help but feel that the chronic hacking, sneezing and coughing up of mucous I experience is largely caused by the poor quality of air we are being forced to breathe in 24/7.

Factoring in the increasing "superbugs" being contracted in larger numbers and resulting in the ever growing threat of virulent strains of Flu and Pneumonia every year that result in greater numbers of death, I strive to keep a strong immune system as I take the best of the best immune support supplementation on a daily basis. Still, since working here in Detroit where the air stagnates, thick with toxins and pollutants of every kind, I struggle to breathe freely and clearly. In fact, I do not notice nearly the same level of congestion and sneezing when I go home, or when I travel to neighboring cities outside of Detroit, (not that these neighboring cities are a whole lot better, because air pollution is bad wherever heavy traffic is, or industrial plants exist, but at least there is greater green landscapes left intact in places like Ann Arbor, Troy, Livonia, Farmington and West Bloomfield, etc.,for instance to help offset somewhat the rapidly growing poor air quality in general.)

So, as one person commented here, "Is there a connection" between the air we breathe and the increasing diseases we humans (and for that matter, plant and animal life) are dying from in larger and larger numbers? This in a nation of supposed top notch healthcare, where dollars fly fast and furious out our smog filled doors to keep up with the latest medical advances and robotic technology, yet never resulting in lower incidence of chronic and serious health conditions. Indeed, percentage wise, our country falls far behind many other European countries in the quality of actual HEALTH that prestigious hospitals here in the States claim to produce, herein the..."land of the free, home of the brave".

Given the relentless and deliberate exploitation of all things Natural on this precious planet of ours, indeed humanities thoughtless exploitation and consequent corrupting of ALL of Earth's precious Resources; especially of Air, Land, Water and Oil in particular, with nary a shred of consideration (except for those brave environmental organizations working to reverse the damage, one of whom is Earthjustice of which I am a monthly supporter of theirs) as to how we might learn to live in accord with Mother Nature, that we might give something back in return for Her seemingly never ending supply of life sustenance, (the operative word here being "seemingly", since as we are now realizing that our QUALITY of 'Air' (at issue in this particular letter) is in increasingly short supply.

I mean, if we take the time to really 'connect the dots' regarding the raping of Earth's Resources, we would see for instance that the massive Deforestation occurring on this planet and is responsible for global warming as it results in Mother Earth's “Lungs” (our Rainforest) becoming unable to do its job of renewing its own mighty and majestic Breath (AIR), let alone ours!! It's common sense run amuck for the sake of the almighty dollar driven by greed on a mass political and corporate driven scale for human self serving ends that is responsible for this unconscionable atrocity. And that includes virtually every major institution in our country at this point from old paradigm, hence passé reductionist forms of Classical Science/Medicine and Government controlled by Wallstreet Banks and Pharmaceutical giants, and Oil driven Corporate Elites, to Agricultural criminals like Giant Factory Farms, or Monsanto Corporation itself destroying the very promise of natural seed regeneration, hence DNA integrity and life itself. etc..etc., ad nauseum.

Just one of the many dots to connect here could be looking at immediately halting the mass scale Deforestation occurring as a result of mass scale cattle ranching going in the very heart of our precious Rainforest, for purposes of mass scale factory farmed animal flesh to sell for the satisfaction of human palates who are unwilling to change to a more balanced, proven healthier, mostly vegetarian diet, (Fact: the toxic amino acid homocystien in animal protein has been found to be the leading factor in heart disease and cancer, NOT cholesterol).

Is it any wonder why we are now literally choking (slowly to death) on our own self made air pollution right here at home? And, one last vitally important dot to connect here is the Human Heart, which is directly related energetically speaking to our Lungs. The question remains, in a world unraveling more rapidly by the day due to high crimes routinely (whether covertly and overtly) allowed on every level in our society to rule, and which is encouraged by corporate media (since they too are supported by the ‘Fox running the Henhouse’ form of governmental/corporate driven politics) which is so insidiously influencing average citizens who are either unable or unwilling to question the powers that be, can Humanity find its way back to its own TRUE NATURE - as is so majestically reflected BY Nature itself and all of her open, spacious, wild and free living species – which dwells in the Human Heart made for more than just beating to keep our bodies alive, but also to learn the art of COMPASSION and LOVE for Life itself??

The Breath of Life is ALL of Life’s Birthright…not just for Humans!

Important Quote:

"This we know, ALL things are connected like the blood that runs through one Family. The Earth and all living things exist as One in the great Web of Life. Earth does not belong to a man. A man belongs to the Earth. So, whatever man does to the Web...he does to himself."

In a world driven by technology, speed and the left brain fascination with all things computerized and robotic, which is increasingly forcing us to become Human DOINGS rather than staying connected to becoming TRUE HUMAN BEINGS...Thank you if you've cared enough to actually take the time to read this far!

The concerns of clean air are important to myself and family. My Uncle passed from lung cancer after living the majority of his life in Metro-Detroit. I can't say his cancer was caused by unclean air, but I wonder about increased airborne allergies, increased asthma, and lung cancer, is there a connection?

Although I live in Ann Arbor, I think you represent me too.
Thank you for your work. Young people like you give everyone hope.

Thank you for your hard work!

Thank you and "give em heck".

Thank You!

Clean air is essential to good health. Keep up your good work.

Thank you SO much for your hard work and comittment! It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for your hard work and comittment!

Your work is critical -- you have my thanks!

We all need clean air. Thank you for fighting to protect public health.

Thank you for fighting for clean, healthy air for all of us.

We all need -and appreciate the importance of having- clean air, now and into the future. The work you're doing is on behalf of all of us, and it is vital to everyone's health. You are wonderful people for making these efforts for our benefit. Thank you!

Thank you for pointing out what needs to be done. Thank you.

Thank you so much for all the time and energy you put into this so important issue. God bless your every effort!

Thank you.

Thank you for fighting for what is right, for the people and the environment.

Thank you

Its a sad state of affairs when the question even needs to be asked. Why clean air? Because that's what God made, and intended for the body -- along with fresh, organic food, beauty, pure water, close contact and communication with nature, space to run, Its so obvious its embarrassing to the human race to even have the question come up. Why LIFE? Why LOVE?

Kim,

The clean air issue has been an on going problem on 'Capital Hill' that must be addressed. I'm happy that you're taking the initiative on this crusade to improve our clean air issues within this region and perhaps the whole country.

God Bless You!

Thanks so much for your support, prayers and strength. I will represent on Capitol Hill.

I believe my experience with clean-air and dirty-air is well beyond anecdotal or non-scientific opinion; my experience is deserving of scientific inquiry - sufficient I believe to show that there is a clear and appreciable difference between the air that I breathe in and around air polluted areas (usually large-city areas, with many and various air-polluting sources), and the air that I breathe in and around relatively clean air areas (usually rural areas, with few air-polluting sources).

Clean air is very important for good health. It is not right that the poor are usually in the areas with the worst air quality and do not know how to get the situation fixed.

Bless all those who do the work of Love.
You are appreciated!

Clean air is important to all; you wouldn't believe how directly it affects health/well-being/consciousness/mood/etc. Life is breathing...We all deserve the cleanest, purest, safest air possible.

Thank you!!!

Go for it.

Thank you. Michigan should be a clean air winter wonderland

Clean air is our right, not a privilege for those who can buy habitat away from the regions they pollute. Social-justice issues are directly tied to environmental justice. Thanks, Kimberly, for being the region's ambassador!

At the center of the Great Lakes region, Michigan should be at the forefront of environmental issues like clean air. Keep up the work to make this happen!

Thanks Kimberly, for standing up for clean air. Couldn't agree more, of course we need to improve air quality--for everyone but especially for people who don't have the option of moving somewhere with better air quality. Everywhere Americans live should have decent air quality--we need to make that happen asap!

I amazes me that so many are against clean air, against breathing clean air, and profits from dirty air et al, are more important than clean air living, which necessitates a clean planet. It boggles the mind this suicidal policyt and thought process that fights again clean air and healthier life. These anti clean air people should be committed if not jailed in prison for the criminally insane. My father died, relatively young, of lung cancer. He smoked cigarrettes, switched to cigars I think maybe because he thought it might be better for him, but he also worked for the 3M company for many years, and who know what he worked around and breathed in besides his smoking. We are all a victim of this criminal obession of profits over health. This has got to stop. A healthier planet, better air means a better life for all. How obvious can this not for for the anti clean air people!

I appreciate all you're doing. Thank-you.

It's the good fight you're fighting on our behalf. Thanks for all you do.

Thank you Kimbely for fighting to keep our air clean and keep our water safe to drink. I am very concerned about natural gas extraction that is taking place in Michigan. This fracking process has proved damaging to our underground water and drinking water. Please work to stop fracking in all of Michigan.

I live in Benzie County bordering the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, You might be surprised at the number of ozone alert days we have during the summer. The source of our bad air is from Gary, In., Chicago, etc. The pollution is carried up Lake Michigan by the prevailing sourth westerly wind. I support your efforts to represent Mighigan because the prolem is greater than just in SW Detroit.

Thank you Kimberly for fighting to keep our air clean and safe water to drink.

Some companies will pollute as much as we let them. That's why we need strong regulations. I have also spent alot of time in southwest Detroit. More needs to be done in regard to regulation, not less. Thanks, Kimberly.

Air we can breathe; water we can drink. Help keep them clean, Kimberly. w/thanx, Tracey Martin, Souhfield

Dearest Kimberly,
Thank you so very much for all that you are doing. Those of us with Asthma, Copd and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity are eternally greatful.

Clean air is important to all of us, in both urban and rural areas, and I am glad you are working to help ensure clean air. Thank you.

Hi Kimberly! Thank you so much for your service in this important issue. I have adult onset asthma, so I know how precious clean air really is. In the Detroit area, in the Summer, we have too many days when the EPA standards for ground level ozone are exceeded. Also, I would like to see the Detroit incinerator closed.

Thanks again,

Mike McManus

Thank you Kimberly! :-)

Thank you for representing us! Keep fighting!

Thank you for representing us! Keep fighting!

We must preserve our essential resources for now and the future. It is not only the right thing to do, it is our obligation for living on this earth. Clean air, water and sanitation are the building blocks of human life. Without them people will forever struggle to move forward with their lives.

You are an eloquent and articulate person who speaks the truth. These are very real and present problems in Detroit. The world drove for decades on the backs of Detroit's workers, and industry fouled or air and water. I'm proud that we have a spokesperson like you representing ALL of us!

It seems it is hard for big money to be fair and objective.
Your words were well spoken and I'm sure you will do Michigan proud.

THE EPA needs to do MORE not less to keep our water and air CLEANER.

Dixie Wong

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