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Why They Fight for Clean Air

We talk about the importance of clean air a lot on these digital pages, but I could never express that sentiment as eloquently as the Clean Air Ambassadors who went to Washington, D.C. last week. Take, for example, the words of Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, a pediatrician from Tampa Bay, Florida.

Lynn Ringenberg: This photo really has special meaning to me because it was taken at a beautiful, pristine beach in Florida with a baby that was about a year old—one of my resident's children. I've been a pediatrician for over 30 years, and although kids are 33 percent of the current population, they're 100 percent of the future. And we need to make sure to protect that future, and especially their health. The Clean Air Act is the way to do that.

Some more powerful words from the Ambassadors:

Lakeesha Eure, Newark, NJ: The photo that I'm holding represents a generation of children that deserves clean air and clean water. My niece here in this picture—this picture is the day she came home from the hospital after having an asthma attack. I just believe that she deserves a chance to have clean air. She also represents four generations in my family of lung problems and heart problems. So I just believe that it's my responsibility and my duty to fight for her and other children to have clean air.

Bettie Kettell, Durham, ME: These are my grandchildren, and you can see they're having a great time in the fresh air. I worry about their future because the air isn't as clean in Maine as it was when my children were small.

Matt Tejada, Houston, TX: This photo is meaningful to me because this is one of the first days that I went out into a Houston-area environmental justice neighborhood after I was hired to run Air Alliance Houston. This family, which lived right next to a refinery, right next to several chemical plants, an industrial waste incinerator and an automobile recycler, was just in an atrocious condition. These kids had sores all over their bodies. They were all in very bad health. This very early on in my career put a very definite face to environmental justice and public health in the Houston area.

Ian Viteri, Chicago, IL: This photo shows the people of Chicago's desire to move past coal and towards renewable energy.

Be sure to check out the the stories of the other 75 Clean Air Ambassadors.