It’s great when conferences at least post the powerpoint presentations! Thanks, Clean Air Council and everyone involved! I am using some of these sources for a paper I am writing!
$1000, $500 and $250 will be awarded to videos ranked first, second and third. The winning video will also be featured on a local broadcasting outlet.
Entry Deadline – October 26th, 2011
The Mid-Atlantic region is long overdue for a conference that brings together various stakeholders to discuss the impact of goods movement on public health. Conference topics include goods movement industry trends in the Northeast, impacts on nearby communities, and collaboration to develop cost-effective solutions to reduce air pollution from goods movement. Bringing together health professionals and policy makers will allow these leaders to work together to develop and implement region-specific policies and solutions.
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
University of Pennsylvania
For more information, please contact Katie Edwards at 215-567-4004, ext. 102 or kedwards (at) cleanair.org.
Gary Polakovic, a former environmental writer for the Los Angeles Times, recently published a very worthy commentary comparing the Gulf oil disaster to air pollution. You can read it here. Basically, he is making the point that people are (rightly) upset about the gulf disaster, but are not as concerned as they should be about air pollution; a more widespread and long-term problem. Air pollution is an environmental disaster far worse than the Gulf oil disaster. Even when BP has stopped the oil from leaking, we are still polluting the air.
Here are just a few statistics that Gary uses to illustrate his point:
“Worst-case estimates place the total oil spilled in the gulf at about 126 million gallons over two months. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the country disgorges that much hydrocarbon pollution to the air in 10 days.”
I wanted to echo Gary’s sentiment because this issue is at the core of my work everyday at the Clean Air Council. The U.S. and the world need to recognize just how much damage we are doing to our own health (increasing rates of pollution related diseases: asthma, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc), the health of our children and grandchildren, and the extent to which we are jeopardizing the future of the human race.
*The World Health Organization estimates that 20 million people die prematurely due to air pollution. – Article on air pollution increasing in developing countries.
The Lancet is currently featuring a new research and publication series that examines public health and global warming. There is still disagreement on whether or not global warming exists, and if it does, whether or not it is caused by human activity. As that argument has persisted concerns about how human activity impacts our immediate health has come to the forefront.
The same types of air pollution that are believed to cause global warming are known to cause and exacerbate diseases like asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. If governments are dragging their heels in disbelief about global warming maybe they need to take a look at the current rates of these diseases and the economic health costs associated with air pollution. Asthma alone is estimated to cost the U.S. $18 Billion, annually.
Reducing air pollution will not only help prevent climate change, but has an almost immediate positive impact on the health and well being of the entire human race, and reduces the economic burden accrued from pollution-related diseases. The public health benefits garnered from reducing air pollution are just as relevant as keeping the planet healthy. Even if you don’t believe in man-made global warming there are still plenty of reasons to reduce our energy consumption and emissions.
Onwards, to the future!
Philadelphia does not currently meet federal air quality standards, in large part due to emissions generated from motor vehicles, especially trucks. When cars and trucks leave their engines running, they are not only wasting fuel, but releasing harmful particles and greenhouse gasses into the air.
To combat unnecessary idling Clean Air Council has launched an exciting new program called Idlefreephilly.org. Idlefreephilly.or is a web-based tool using the free software SeeClickFix, a powerful community mapping platform that allows residents to report problems in their neighborhoods to city officials.
If you observe illegal idling you can jump online, at home, on your laptop, or through the SeeClickFix iPhone app, map the location of the idling, fill in brief description and both Clean Air Council and the City of Philadelphia’s Air Management Services (enforcers of the idling law) will be notified.
Despite idling being a major contributor to air pollution,the anti-idling ordinance lacks enforcement. Through the mapping of idling “hot spots”, areas that deserve attention can be identified making enforcement more likely. This program gives the City a cost-effective way to enforce it’s laws and empowers the public to make a difference in their community.
The production and usage of energy is accompanied by “hidden costs” such as the health care needs that results from the use of these energy sources. For example, coal may be cheap, but using it to produce electricity causes respiratory illness, impacts cardiovascular disease, etc, which puts unnecessary strain on our health care system, our economy, and has a negative impact on our collective health, productivity and quality of life. Currently, the prices of oil, coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear power etc do not reflect the health effects imposed by their production and usage.
That is about to change thanks to a new report from the National Research Council. The NRC, which serves to “improve government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health”, has taken account of the hidden health costs associated with the production and usage of various forms of energy. The report found that in 2005 the United States incurred $250 billion dollars in hidden costs associated with energy production and use. The majority of the cost can be attributed to “health damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation and motor vehicle transportation”.
These reports provide policy makers with a more complete picture of the advantages and disadvantages associated with particular energy sources. It seems the government is starting to take a more holistic view of our energy usage, and the state of national health and economy.
As statistics like these become more visible and pertinent, the reasons to support clean energy mount (and the continued use of dirty energies starts to seem, well, idiotic).
Reasons to use and support clean energy, like wind and solar:
2. Minimal negative impact on health and environment.
3. Reduces dependence on foreign oil supplies (increases national security and national independence).
4. Could support manufacturing sector in the United States, creating jobs, supporting the economy.
5. Sets a good example for the rest of the world/helps re-establish the U.S. as a legitimate leader in the global community.
Reasons to continue supporting and using dirty energy, like coal and oil:
1. It is too risky to invest in clean energies when the economy is in a fragile state (??)
It may cost more in the short-term to support new energy technologies. But, in the long-term making these difficult decisions can ultimately serve our greater interests in public health, the economy and national security. As we move forward (the U.S. and humans as a whole), it will be interesting to see if research like this is put to use, in policy formation and decision-making (governmental and public/individual).