It’s the first week of May, the weather is starting to warm, spring is in full swing, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Awareness Week. Clean Air Minnesota has been busy this year with partnerships to help make sure that Minnesotans are breathing the cleanest air possible. All this week, the EPA will be highlighting different aspects of air quality. From the impacts of wildfires to learning how you can get involved in community science there’s a lot to dig into:
- Monday, May 3 – Wildfires and Smoke (read guest blog from Emily Haley)
- Tuesday, May 4 – Asthma & Your Health
- Wednesday, May 5 – Citizen Science & Sensors (read guest blog from Brandy Toft)
- Thursday, May 6 – Environmental Justice & Air Quality
- Friday, May 7 – Air Quality Around the World
Keep an eye out for our guest blogs too. We are very excited for guest blogs from Brandy Toft, environmental deputy director with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, on the importance and impact of air monitors and from Emily Franklin, principal, Emily Haley Franklin, LLC, about her experience in Australia during the devastating wildfires in 2020. We’ll also be sharing interesting articles about air quality around the country.
In our own work, Clean Air Minnesota is expanding within our portfolio of programs. We are excited about additional opportunities through Project CAR to continue providing low- or no-cost repairs to low-income participants at partner garages in the Twin Cities and beyond. We are broadening our small business support programs through the Clean Air Assistance Program. Thanks in part to support from the 3M Gives Foundation, the Clean Air Assistance Program will begin working on targeted emissions reductions projects on St. Paul’s East Side where residents have historically experienced disparities in air quality. In our wood smoke emissions reductions work, Project Stove Swap continues encouraging vendors in its seven-county service area to join the program. Active vendors work with customers interested in changing their old inefficient wood-burning appliance to a new, more efficient one.
This EPA Air Quality Awareness Week gives us a chance to look to the future of Clean Air Minnesota. In the past year, and with the additional lens of a global pandemic, it is clear that we need to strive to address the disparities around air quality. There are a number of ways that we are working towards greater equity in our emissions reduction projects. We use zip code and census tract data from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to evaluate air quality, guide the opportunity to target our projects, and develop the most cost-effective solutions for reducing air emissions in communities experiencing the greatest impacts of poor air quality. Most importantly, we are incorporating more and diverse perspectives to help guide the work of Clean Air Minnesota.
At the heart of our success is our voluntary and consensus-driven approach with partners who are working to ensure that Minnesotans breathe clean air. We are excited for what the future holds as we welcome new partners and new perspectives guiding the next stage of our work.
Clean Air Minnesota thanks the funders who make our work possible:
- Ramsey County and the 3M Gives Foundation for their support of the Clean Air Assistance Program for small businesses.
- Flint Hills Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the City of Minneapolis for supporting Project CAR.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for continued support of Clean Air Minnesota.