Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Vantsevich
Why I Chose to Get Involved
by Anna Vantsevich
Here’s the thing. We all share the air. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in, it doesn’t matter what state you live in, or what country for that matter. Air circulates and moves. It’s quality affects every single person, even those that have the privilege to live in areas that currently have better air quality and top-notch air filter systems at home. Every single person is affected by air, either immediately or in the long run. This is the main reason that I chose to get involved with GASP, the group that believes everyone deserves healthy air.
Hi, my name is Anna and to say that I love being outdoors would be an understatement.
I LOVE being outdoors. And this trait seems to be in my blood.
My great-grandfather was a forester in Dobrush, Belarus. One of my favorite stories of him is how he would bring back edible nuts for my mom, a young girl at the time, saying that a squirrel sent her the tasty treat as a gift.
My mom inherited this love for nature and passed it on to me. From the day I was brought home from the hospital, my mom took me for walks in a nearby forest Every. Single. Day. – rain, snow, sleet or shine.
As I grew up, this love for being out in the sun (or rain, or wind, or snow), didn’t change.
But you don’t have to travel far from home to enjoy the great outdoors!
During my travels I started to read about the environment — and about air quality. It’s difficult to see the quality of air, which is why I think its importance is easy to dismiss, but poor air quality is felt by our health, our environment and our economy. For example, did you know that United States loses approximately $150 billion per year to air pollution-related illnesses? Not to mention that poor air quality leads to an estimated 60,000 premature deaths in the USA every year. 
There are huge losses associated with air-pollution. Just as there are huge gains associated with healthy air. That’s why we need to talk about both. I look forward to exploring these topics (and more!) in upcoming blogs.
In the meantime, take a deep breath in through the nose imagining fresh, healthy air coming into your body. As you exhale through the mouth, breathe out any grogginess you feel. Repeat a few more times to bring lightness and clearness into your body and mind.
Till next time.
Wishing you joy, safety and ease,
Kirsten has been with GASP from the very beginning as a founding board member, then as a part-time executive director, and now as outreach director. Kirsten hopes future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected. Email Kirsten