Posts tagged: air

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
13 May 2011, 12:33 AM
IPPC report offers hopeful vision of one possible future

What can be done about our dismal energy future?

Every day, headlines scream about the price of oil, the climate disruption caused by coal, the dangers of natural gas “fracking,” and uncontrollable nuclear accidents.

Is another future even possible, or are we stuck in a permanent crisis?

On May 9, 2011, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation authored by more than 120 scientists, technologists, and economists who dug deeply into this question.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
11 May 2011, 10:00 AM
Pictures tell a story of the future Clean Air Ambassadors want to see

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.

Dr. Lynn Ringenberg

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.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
10 May 2011, 9:25 AM
Spoof site draws attention to asthma epidemic through humor
The Bieber model of Puff-Puff inhalers.

Coal cares. It really does. So we're told, at least, by a new website that offers free inhalers to asthmatic youngsters. The Puff-Puff inhalers come adorned with all sorts of kiddie icons: Elmo, Dora the Explorer and a little old heartthrob by the name of Justin Bieber, who takes breath away in a different way. The inhalers are meant to help "American youngsters with asthma…to keep their heads high in the face of those who would treat them with less than full dignity."

It wasn't until after I'd finished the Asthmaze (which you can struggle through in the Kidz Koal Korner) that I was struck by a suspicion that the website is a parody. Actually, I'd also already colored in the Puff and Ash dress-up cartoon before the realization hit, but I love playing with crayons.

And indeed, soon after I set the crayons down, a statement from Peabody Energy, the target of the parody website, hit my inbox.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
06 May 2011, 1:25 PM
Despite powerful evidence, council 'overlooks' climate change

Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

The council deals with crucial Arctic issues such as climate change, black carbon, oil exploration and drilling, and arctic shipping. Their report, released this week, details how global sea levels will rise at least five feet within the century in large part because of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nonetheless, climate change isn't an agenda item.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
04 May 2011, 1:27 PM
House subcommittee on water sets stage, but does America buy the act?
Rep. Bob Gibbs

On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will begin a two-part hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on mountaintop removal mining. The committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) is calling the hearings “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs – Part I and Part II.

Judging from the name, do you think this hearing by the representative body of our democratic government will be fair and balanced? Reasoned and informed? Democratic?

Just in case you think a fair and informed hearing is an outside possibility, I present to you:

Exhibit A: The Witness List:

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
04 May 2011, 11:15 AM
Breaking up a bad romance with air pollution

Question: What happens when you mix Lady Gaga, clean air and a Basque flash mob?

Answer: This video.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
04 May 2011, 8:12 AM
One in 10 children, one in 12 adults suffer from asthma.
Courtesy Univ. of Maryland

Asthma Awareness Month kicked off with grim news. The New York Times reports today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that finds almost one in 12 Americans and one in 10 children are suffering the effects of asthma. The report showed that African-American children are most acutely affected, with nearly one in five afflicted, a significant increase from just 10 years ago when one in nine African-American children were diagnosed with asthma.

This sharp increase baffles researchers, but the numbers do not lie: more Americans are suffering from asthma than ever before. It’s likely that many reading this blog either suffer from asthma  or know a friend or family member who does. There are many triggers for an asthma attack, such as second-hand smoke, mold or dust. But, big polluters like cement kilns and power plants play a prominent role as well. These facilities pump tons of fine particulate pollution and smog into our air, worsening air quality, triggering asthma attacks and causing asthma to develop in the most vulnerable populations: our children.

The CDC reported that Midwest and Northeast states are suffering the highest incidences of asthma rates in the country.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
03 May 2011, 1:28 PM
Asthma affects more than 25 million Americans; some are in D.C. to talk about it
Alex and Tommy Allred, from Midlothian, TX.

Alex Allred and her family are surrounded by cement. Not concrete, which is made from cement, but the big industrial facilities that crush and heat limestone to make cement. She lives in Midlothian, TX, an area known locally as “The Cement Capital of Texas,” a distinction that Alex and her family cannot appreciate. Her son eight-year-old son, Tommy, has asthma. His visits to the hospital emergency room are too numerous to remember. His asthma attacks hit him like a tank, unexpected and relentless.

As Alex describes it: “One minute he’s running around like a normal little boy, and the next minute he’s on the floor of the car gasping for air as I fly down the road, trying to get him to the hospital as fast as I can.”

Alex and her family believe it was air pollution from the cement kilns and other big polluters in their neighborhood that caused Tommy’s asthma. He and Alex have written a short story about how the pollution affects his health, and in it he describes what an asthma attack feels like: “It is very scary and sometimes when you can’t breathe, you think you’re going to die. Then, when the attack is over, you feel like you have to go to bed.”

Today is World Asthma Day, and to celebrate, Alex is joining an unprecedented collection of doctors, faith and tribal leaders, nurses, social justice advocates and affected citizens who have come to Washington, D.C. as part of “50 States United for Healthy Air.”

View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
03 May 2011, 1:12 PM
Short film explores asthma through the words of those who suffer

In the words of asthma sufferers, asthma feels:

“Like you’re in a pool of water. You can’t breathe. And when you try to breathe it don’t work.”

“Like you put a pillow over your face and pushed it. It’s horrible! You feel desperate because you can’t breathe.”

“Like you wish you could still be playing outside, where the air could be cleaner.”

There are more than 20 million asthma sufferers in the United States. These men, women and children know all too well what it feels like to have an attack. But many others have no idea. I encourage you to watch a short film we produced that explores asthma through the words of those who experience it every day.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
03 May 2011, 6:38 AM
Clean Air Ambassadors share inspiring stories, speak truth to power

The Clean Air Ambassadors who arrived yesterday in Washington, D.C. have some amazing stories to tell, and I spent the better part of yesterday hearing them. Alexandra Allred from Midlothian, TX described a day she spent outside with her son Tommy—a day when he didn’t suffer his usual respiratory issues and could play carefree, like a kid again. “I had my son back,” she told me.

William Anderson, an ambassador from Nevada and Chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, described the coal fly ash that shrouds his community in a haze of toxic dust, choking local residents and concealing the nearby mountains behind a curtain of miasmal fog.

Kimberly Hill of Detroit, MI told me about residents who live near the Marathon oil refinery, which is expanding to refine tar sands crude oil from Canada—one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth. Tucked under a toxic blanket, these residents suffer from respiratory disease and unusual forms of cancer.

The ambassadors’ stories spring from pollution, disease, loss of loved ones and other unsavory challenges that life presents. But more importantly, their stories are charged with hope, perseverance and bravery. Many of the ambassadors arrived to tell their tales having never set foot in Washington, D.C., that inner circle of government life where power concentrates imposingly, and too often to the exclusion of the very people whose votes put the powerful in office. To walk in those halls and sit in those offices to tell Very Important People how vital clean air is to one’s community is an act of bravery by which I am awed and humbled.