EPA Takes Real Steps Toward Curbing Smog Pollution – Now We Need Your Voice

Jasmine Smog

EPA Takes Real Steps Toward Curbing Smog Pollution – Now We Need Your Voice

September 11, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency recently found that we’ve been doing it wrong for years; our air is not as clean or as safe as we once supposed. The agency’s smog pollution policy assessment, released in late August, found that current “safe” levels of smog pollution are actually not strong enough to protect our communities, our kids, or the air we breathe.

Doris Toles could tell you that.The Baltimore resident struggles with serious respiratory issues which are only made worse by the poor air quality in the city.

“I had my first asthma attack when I was two. I’m now living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),” says Doris. “A person gets COPD like I have after years of asthma attacks permanently weaken the lungs, and there is no cure.”

Doctors told Doris that her asthma is triggered by pollution in the air where she lives. “I have to be very careful and keep my inhaler close at hand on days when smog levels are high.”

When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs. Thankfully, we’ve got a chance to put things right. This December, the EPA will propose new smog pollution protections that can get America’s air quality back on track.

 “Safe” smog pollution levels were first lowered in 2008 from 88 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb, but it turns out those protections were not enough to ensure clean, safe air for children and vulnerable populations living near the sources of this pollution. New recommendations from scientists since the 2008 protections have found that we need to ratchet them down to 60 ppb, in order to guard against dangerous air. The recent smog pollution policy assessment echoed this sentiment, recommending that the levels be reduced to a range of 60 to 70 ppb.

While we applaud the EPA’s assessment for acknowledging the need to strengthen the current safeguards, it’s important to note that the devil is in the details, which is why we need your help. Thousands of lives hang in the balance between 60 ppb and 70 ppb, and are pushing hard for the EPA to propose 60 ppb protections in December.

At Sierra Club, we have strongly advocated for a 60 ppb standard for years because the science is clear that it will better protect families from smog pollution from power plants and tailpipe emissions. Smog pollution can trigger respiratory problems like asthma attacks and cardiovascular problems. Over time, continued exposure can even lead to premature death.

Doris has lost friends and family to severe asthma attacks. For her and many others, it’s a matter of life and death. “Cleaning up this pollution helps people like me stay alive,” she says.

A 60 ppb standard would safeguard families, especially young children and the elderly, from these health hazards and save roughly $100 billion in health care costs. The EPA also estimates that cutting back to safer levels of smog pollution (60 ppb) would prevent 12,000 premature deaths, 21,000 hospitalizations and the stop the loss of 2.5 million work and school days each year. In view of this, the smog pollution policy assessment is an important step toward holding polluters accountable and lifting this huge burden off our communities.

In the months ahead, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for those who need them most. Let EPA know you support strong standards here.

–Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director

Take 2 Actions: Money Out of Politics / Protect the Arctic From an Oil Spill

Why not take 2 actions to get Money Out of Politics and Protect the Arctic from an oil spill? Click below to speak out!

Take Action: Get Big Money Out of Politics

Take Action: Get Big Money Out of Politics

Our government should respond to the voice of the people, not a few super-rich donors. When big polluters and their unlimited SuperPAC money speaks, they drown out the voices of the people who suffer because of dirty air, contaminated water, and a warming, unstable climate. Right now a critical debate is happening in Washington to help restore our democracy and get big money out of politics. Environmental champion Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill that would give Congress and state legislatures the ability to regulate money in politics. Because of our grassroots pressure over past two months, the bill now has 50 cosponsors, but we need them all to vote yes this week.

Take Action
Tell your senators to vote for the Democracy for All Amendment.

Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From an Oil Spill

 

Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From an Oil Spill

The Obama administration has proposed opening oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea — threatening half of America’s polar bear habitat and the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — home to millions of wild birds and animals. An oil spill in the Beaufort Sea could devastate the coastline of the refuge blanketing it with a thick layer of toxic sludge for decades!

Send the administration a message opposing gas and oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea before the September 12 comment deadline and protect the Arctic!

Take Action
Send the administration a message opposing gas and oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea before the September 12 comment deadline and protect the Arctic!

Get to the People’s Climate March Anyway That You Can!

Get to the People’s Climate March anyway that you can. 10 buses will be leaving N.C. for NYC! 10 BUSES!

Last reports indicate that seats are available for just 2 buses:

Charlotte Bus #3 with Action NChttp://www.actionnc.org/climate_march?utm_campaign=climate_march&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionnc. Contact Luis Rodriguez, luis@actionnc.org, for more info.

Raleigh/Durham Bus #4 with Greenway Transithttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/1W6YZN7yoiiDvBmhiwjNNjHwn394ajgXhesjlWsBkRqI/viewform?usp=send_form. Contact Marc Dreyfors, marc@greenwayrides.com, or Nicole Russ, nruss625@aol.com for more info.

Why not take the train? Amtrak trains (Sept. 16–24) offer a 10 percent discount fare: Ask for People’s Climate March Convention Fare Code X22T-908.

For updates, check back here or https://www.facebook.com/NCPeoplesClimateMarch

See you in NYC!

Sierra Club on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

Take the time to watch this very good and short video about the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. It will definitely make you want to  Sign Up Today for the NC Sierra Club Wilderness Weekend!

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law one of our country’s greatest conservation laws, the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wild lands for the use and enjoyment of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America’s support for wilderness, Congress has added nearly 100 million more acres to this unique land preservation system—in 44 out of 50 states. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas “where the earth and its community of life …appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable…”

Wilderness Interviewees

Make Climate Change Louder Than a Thunder Clap

Be stronger than the polluters.

Join the Thunderclap!

Join the Thunderclap and take over social media!

America is about movements, not millionaires.The voice of the people has always been stronger than the powerful few — strong enough to spark revolution. That’s the message we’re going to send polluters in just 11 days when we make history in the streets of New York. You’ve stepped up when it matters and committed to march and now, with just a few days to go, it’s time to ensure the world is watching. So, on September 15th, we’re using Thunderclap to take over social media and build a digital movement as big as the march itself! Join the Thunderclap and ensure People’s Climate March takes over the Internet!Thunderclap makes it simple for climate activists all over the internet to send one coordinated, simultaneous message out on social media. All you have to do is sign up and Thunderclap will make sure your social networks know about People’s Climate March by posting this message: “It’s time to change the trajectory of this planet. Join me in NYC on 9/21. #PeoplesClimate March. http://thndr.it/1lLdq0W.”

Click to go to the Thunderclap page, then follow these three steps:

  1. Click support with Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr to choose your social network.
  2. Click “Add my support.”
  3. Grant permission for Thunderclap to post about the climate march.

Then simply watch your message go live automatically on September 15th at 12:30pm ET.

Join the Thunderclap to reach every denier, naysayer, and pseudoscientist and tell them it’s time they listen up! Together we’re stronger than the polluters!

Thank you for all you do,

Katie Reilly
Sierra Club Online Organizer

P.S. If this march is going to be big enough to get the world’s attention, we need all hands on deck. After you RSVP, forward this message to five of your friends and family and share it on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

People’s Climate March Themes and FAQs – Sept 11

The People’s Climate March will offer folks the opportunity to march with others based on a theme. Be thinking about where you want to march. The key point is that no matter where you are in the march it’s going to be great! Click the image to enlarge the the theme line up.

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Climate Ribbon

If you get a chance before you leave, remember to make your climate ribbon for the Climate Ribbon Project that takes place at the end of the march. They will also have tables set up before the march to make ribbons.

March Narrative and Line Up Frequently Asked Questions

When does the march start?

The front of the march will begin marching at 11:30AM. We don’t know how long it will take for everyone to start moving so there could be a wait. If you are planning on being in the themed sections of the march, please assemble by 10 am.

Where do I show up?

We will be lining up along Central Park West, from 61st Street up to 86th Street. It’s gonna be huge!) Everyone will enter Central Park West from a side street from Columbus Avenue, which is one block west of Central Park West. Which subway you should travel to, side street you should enter from and where you should meet depends on what themed section of the march you or your contingent are in. Each theme will have specific streets within which they are gathering as well as clearly identified side streets from which they can enter. Each contingent will be given a range of blocks within their theme to meet. It is up to the contingent organizers (and groups within contingents) to identify a specific location where they would like to gather, and bring visual flags, banners or art that will identify them to march attendees who are looking to join their contingent. Please do not make these signs using wood – it is not allowed at the march.

As we get closer to the march, we will share exact locations for each section—we’re still working it out!!

Why does the march have themes?

In marches as big as this one will be, the many messages we need to communicate to the world often get lost. This time, we want to make sure the People’s Climate March clearly expresses the story of today’s climate movement – so we’re trying something new, and arranging the contingents of the march in a way that helps us thread our many messages together. Together, let’s tell the world a clear, powerful story!

How do I know which themed section to march in?

All themes have a set of contingents listed within them that are organized by identity, location or issue. Individual groups and organizations will not be assigned a meet up location. Instead, they will find the contingent that their group should fall under and march there. For instance, instead of listing specific universities, campus groups will gather under the “Colleges and Universities” contingent. If you aren’t marching with a specific organization or hub, you can pick!

Please note, all of the themed sections will be lining up at 10:00 am. After then, city blocks will start to fill up, and you will be asked to join the march further north, possibly at 86th street. We ask people to be flexible and patient. The march is going to be great wherever you are!

What if I fit in to more than one theme of the march?

You aren’t the only one. All of us have solutions, we all know who is responsible, and it’s on all of us to build the future. But we can only be at one place at a time so pick the one that resonates most with you (one that you are uniquely suited to tell) and know that many people will march in other sections to communicate other parts of the message.

What if I don’t know where my group should fall?

If you aren’t clear about which contingent or theme your group should march with, please email organize@peoplesclimate.org

More Questions:

How long is the march?

The march is approximately 2 miles long. Here is the march route.

Where does the march end?

We will all end up together on 11th avenue between 34th and 38th avenue, in front of the Javits Center.

What happens at the end of march?

We will be connecting, organizing, and celebrating this historic moment. Make sure you leave with more connections, information and perspectives than you came with. Are you a beekeeper? Are you from Philly? Are you working to end fossil fuels? Whatever your community, issue, location or skill you will be able to get plugged-in so you can continue working together after Sept 21 to keep building this movement.

There will also be a host of cultural activities. Marching bands! Musicians! A giant tree sculpture for the Climate Ribbon ritual!

If I am a musician, how can I participate?

If you are in a marching band or you play guitar, go here and join the listerv where you will recieve up to date information, or you can contact climatejusticemusic@gmail.com.

How can I participate in the Climate Ribbon ritual at the end?

Bring a ribbon you’ve written on or write one at the beginning of the march (we will have tables for you to create them). We will all come together at the end to assemble them on the tree, and exchange them with others. For more details, go here.

Are there any fun surprises during the march?

There will be. Keep your eyes peeled. ;-)

Where can I watch the march?

The march will be livestreamed. We will have many people covering different sections in the march, which you will be able to watch it at peoplesclimatemarch.org.

What are people doing in other cities besides NYC?

There are marches and actions taking place across the country – and the entire world. Go here for a list of other events taking place.

What if I plan on bringing a float?

Unless you have already been in touch with march organizers and have the okay for a float, it is not possible to bring a vehicle-powered float!

Can I ride a bicycle in the march?

Of course! Bicycles are people-powered form of alternative transportation! You can also join the Bike Bloc.

Will all the vehicles in the march be carbon-free?

Yes. Tri-state biodiesel has generously donated a number of vehicles for us to use.

Are there any limitations on what I can bring?

You cannot bring any wooden sticks, steel poles, oil-based vehicles. We also ask that you not bring alcohol, drugs, firearms or other weapons.

What can I make signs out of?

Your signs or posters can be made from cardboard, heavy weight paper, cloth or other lightweight materials. You can use cardboard tubes to prop up your signs or banners.

The NYPD does not allow signs on wooden sticks. If you’d like to help make art for the march, check out peoplesclimateart.org

Is there an amazing place that I can help make signs, banners and prepare for the march?

Funny you should ask, there is! Come work out of the incredible MayDay Arts Space in Bushwick. We are building puppets, giant banners, floats and a host of other mindblowing arts projects for the march and beyond. They need carpenters, welders, stencilers, papier mache-ists, and everyone else! No skills necessary. For more information, go here.