Securing Environmental Justice for Northern Birmingham: What’s Next?

Securing Environmental Justice for Northern Birmingham: What’s Next?

Tidying up my family’s summer vegetable and flower gardens brought some calmness to a hectic week. With every season and year that passes, playing in the dirt as therapy gains greater significance for me. I recall when my boys (now teenagers) were young, giving them a shovel and dirt or just being outside would provide hours of entertainment. Maybe the simplicity of the activity throws our souls back to a slower time. I don’t know.

Residents in northern Birmingham neighborhoods are not able to benefit from …

Read More »

My Experience at the Women’s March in Birmingham

My Experience at the Women’s March in Birmingham

When we were asked if Gasp would participate in the Women’s March in Birmingham, we enthusiastically agreed. The March stands for principles Gasp absolutely supports. Plus, it would be great to set up a table and spread the word about healthy air and clean energy to the, ahem, few hundred folks expected.

The March was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. When I arrived at Kelly Ingram park at 12:15, people were already congregating and milling around. By 1:30, the park was packed and we were …

Read More »

Help Gasp Fight for Environmental Justice

Help Gasp Fight for Environmental Justice

Some communities in our country suffer from a larger burden of environmental hazards than others. These areas are referred to as environmental justice (EJ) communities. While more attention has been given to EJ communities as of late, tangible, specific changes to reduce the burden of toxic exposures in EJ communities has been non-existent. For example, neighborhoods in the northern Birmingham area continue to suffer from industrial pollution despite being named an EJ community by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s Office of Civil Rights has “accepted” …

Read More »

What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

Birmingham’s air quality has improved since the days when thick orange-brown clouds enveloped the city, but our air is still far from healthy. In the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report, Birmingham ranked 16th in annual particle pollution and 23rd in high ozone days. Air pollution is typically grouped into two categories: Criteria Air Pollutants and Hazardous Air Pollutants (Air Toxics)

Criteria Air Pollutants

The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. EPA to set emissions standards for what are known as criteria air pollutants. The …

Read More »

Citizen Science Movement Can Help Solve Birmingham’s Pollution Problem

Citizen Science Movement Can Help Solve Birmingham’s Pollution Problem

On Tuesday, I sent a letter to Heather McTeer Toney, EPA Region IV administrator, asking that her agency invest in “next generation” air monitoring in Birmingham to gather data, empower citizens and improve public health for northern Birmingham communities. “It has been established that the ambient air quality in northern Birmingham communities is unhealthy,” I wrote, “despite claims from local regulatory agencies to the contrary.”

Residents in northern Birmingham communities have known for decades that the soot covering their homes is likely affecting their health. Recent …

Read More »