United for Healthy Air
The Right to Breathe is a simple video conveying a simple message, but it is all that Earthjustice needed to send a strong message about the importance of the United States’ Clean Air Act.
The message, “everyone has the right to breathe,” was also the sounding cry for dozens of doctors, nurses, faith and tribal leaders, and social justice advocates from 50 states who convened on Washington, D.C. in early May to meet with representatives of the Obama administration and other political leaders to discuss a number of health standards currently being considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The group calls themselves 50 States United for Healthy Air. It’s made up of representatives from the American Nurses Association; Earthjustice; Hip Hop Caucus; Interfaith Power & Light; and the National Council of Churches and Physicians for Social Responsibility, they are concerned health protection standards are under attack from industry and their lobbyists. Standards that will control mercury and other toxic air pollution spewing from power plants; regulate coal ash dumps and landfills; and protect from cement plant pollution, are all under threat from the lobbyists.
Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen voiced their concerns in a press release. “The Clean Air Act is our nation’s strongest, most successful tool in cleaning up dangerous and toxic air pollution from industrial sources. Despite decades of success protecting millions of Americans and saving taxpayer money, some members of Congress are attacking the Clean Air Act in cooperation with the polluters who would finally be forced to clean up their mess.”
While this unprecedented group presenting a united front on the issue of clean air will add valuable voices to the cause, it has become clear in recent years that grassroots movements help to mobilize causes in ways that traditional more organized approaches can’t always achieve. To this end Earthjustice also launched a Facebook campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to declare their right to breathe by blowing a bubblegum bubble and posting the image as their profile picture.
Earthjustice VP of Communications Georgia McIntosh summed the issue up well; “By blowing a bubble for clean air, Americans are taking a simple but symbolic step to show they support strong clean air laws. The time has come for all Americans to let Washington know that our right to breathe clean air is not negotiable.”