Although tremendous progress has been made to reduce air pollution since the 1970 Clean Air Act was established, Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air demonstrates that there is still much to be done to better this country’s air quality. During the showing of the film, which was sponsored by the American Lung Association and UCR School of Public Policy, we learned that nearly half of Americans are still impacted by unhealthy air.
Yet, California remains exceptional. According to the American Lung Association Annual State of the Air Report, 7 of the 10 most ozone polluted cities in the United States are in California. Maggie Burnetter Stogner’s film debuted during a poignant time, during which most Southern Californians experienced the effects of extreme heat, higher ozone pollution, wildfires, and power outages. It brings to light that there is more to be done to protect public health across the board. However, it offers great opportunities to bring people together within the community, learn about solutions, and take the next steps in improving air quality.
CE-CERT researcher and Assistant Professor, Dr. Cesunica Ivey, joined the panel following a screening of Unbreathable as part of this effort. On this panel, she discusses her 10 years of work in air quality, health effects, and environmental justice at the local and regional scale. She states, “[this film] precisely embodies the motivation for my research and my career. I got into the field of air pollution and air quality research because I wanted to develop solutions to environmental issues.” Ivey goes on to discuss her current research on air pollution and environmental justice in vulnerable communities, such as the Eastgate Community, West San Bernardino, Bloomington, Mira Loma Village, and Moreno Valley.
As a researcher, Dr. Ivey is working on advancing, promoting, and providing data driven results to support technologies that offset and eliminate air pollutant emissions. She continues to partner with communities and stakeholders to make sure these improvements are inclusive of the community values.
To watch the full panel discussion, please visit: How you can get involved: American Lung Association Healthy Air Activist Toolkit