Healthy Air Activist Toolkit Equips Activists, Educators to Discuss Health Impacts of Climate Change, Air PollutionThrough its Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, American Lung Association drives science-based conversations around health impacts of climate change and air pollution to encourage action
CHICAGO | August 20, 2020
Today, the Lung Association offered new resources for educators, activists and community members to guide conversations on health, climate change and air quality through the Healthy Air Activist Toolkit, which features easy-to-share social media content and resources for hosting virtual screenings and discussions of clean air short films. The toolkit is part of the American Lung Association’s Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, which highlights the health impacts of climate change and poor air quality facing Americans today. The health impacts of climate change particularly affect vulnerable groups such as children, older adults and people with existing health conditions, and disproportionately impacts low-resourced communities of color.
“As our nation faces the pandemic, many Americans are seeing this moment as an opportunity to reflect on the threat of climate change,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “Climate change isn’t far off in the distance—it already impacts our health and the health of those we love today. That’s why through Stand Up For Clean Air, we are offering trusted information and science-based resources to guide these conversations – and inspire action.”
Th Healthy Air Activist Toolkit is designed to make it easy to encourage conversations about the health impacts of climate change and air quality, including the disproportionate burden on low-income communities and people of color in low-resourced neighborhoods. The toolkit is a resource for those for those engaged in or interested in climate and healthy air activism and environmental justice, as well as educators, parents, organizations, and communities, encouraging everyone to:
- Host a film screening - whether virtual or in-person - with short films focusing on the health impacts of air quality and climate change, followed by facilitated conversations with provided discussion guides. Films available in the Healthy Air Activist Toolkit include:
- “Unbreathable: The Fight For Healthy Air”: From American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking and Director Margaret Burnette Stogner, this film is a timely, powerful look at fifty years of the Clean Air Act and the challenges the nation still faces to ensure healthy air for everyone. Weaving historical milestones with current day stories of environmental injustice, the film is an excellent catalyst for engagement and action.
- “Asthma Alley”: From The Groundtruth Project and Directors Dan Levitt and Beth Murphy, this film follows the experience of a young Latina girl with asthma living in New York’s South Bronx neighborhood, which has incredibly high asthma rates, who finds hope in music when poor air quality and worsening pollen seasons make it hard for her to breathe.
- “THE HUMAN ELEMENT” – Air section:An Earth Vision film production in association with Earth Vision Institute, this documentary inspires us to reevaluate our relationship with the natural world, highlighting the health impacts facing families living with unhealthy air quality.
- Share social media GIFs and images to convey the health impacts of climate change and healthy air – from wildfire smoke that can travel thousands of miles, to the threat of mold left behind from the floodwaters of climate-driven severe storms.
To kick-off the Healthy Air Activist Toolkit, in partnership with American University, the American Lung Association hosted a live-streamed screening of “Unbreathable: The Fight For Healthy Air” on August 19 followed by a panel discussion featuring climate and healthy air activists Shashawnda Campbell, Ruhan Nagra and Lana Weidgenant.
Weidgenant is a prominent climate justice activist who has seen firsthand worsening air quality from wildfires in Brazil and health threats from hurricanes in Florida.
“Climate change is a health issue, and it’s important to know that climate change is actually worsening our air quality, especially for those communities disproportionately burdened,” said Weidgenant, who also serves as a climate activist advisor for the Lung Association. “I am honored to stand with other climate activists to raise awareness about climate change and health, and I hope others will continue the conversation in their communities through a film screening and discussion.”
The Lung Association has long served as the nation’s champion of lung health, and in honor of 50 years of the Clean Air Act launched Stand Up For Clean Air - inviting everyone to pledge to take collective action.
“I am deeply inspired by the climate and healthy air activists who are taking a stand for their health, and for the health of all generations to come,” Wimmer said. “This year we celebrate the Clean Air Act, which continues to save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. The American Lung Association has and will continue to champion clean air for all and a livable planet.”
Learn more about Stand Up For Clean Air and the Healthy Air Activist Toolkit at Lung.org/air. For journalists seeking to schedule a media interview about air quality and lung health, contact Stephanie Goldina at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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