Our New Approach in Clean Air Minnesota

  • December 12, 2019
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  • Bill Droessler

Not long ago, Clean Air Minnesota underwent a strategic planning process to align on our goals and vision for Minnesota’s clean air future. It was an intense process, but was necessary so that this partnership could better align our vision to our actions and help us be more effective in what we do with more people and organizations. While we’re immensely proud of our new theory of change, we also know that it might be new to people, even many who are already familiar with Clean Air Minnesota. So, we want to take some time to share the Theory of Change with you, so you can better understand what we mean when we talk about “Common Air Consciousness”, or “Public-Private-Community Partnership.”

Clean Air Minnesota

A public-private-community partnership committed to creating healthy and thriving communities through continuous air emissions reductions.

Public-Private-Community Partnership

Partners, friends, and stakeholders from private businesses, the public sectors, and the communities in which we work.

Why It Matters

We’ve come to describe ourselves as a public-private-community partnership, but we know that’s not enough. Clean Air Minnesota’s work cannot be impactful in the ways it needs to be without the voice and meaningful involvement of those who are overly burdened by poor air quality.

Local Air Quality

Air quality varies based on where you are and what sources of emissions are nearby. National averages cannot tell us where the effects of poor air quality are most felt.

Why It Matters

Clean Air Minnesota seeks to improve air quality in the communities that are more disproportionately affected by pollutants and emissions, which could include low-income communities, communities of color, Tribal nations, and other marginalized groups that experience poor health as a result of poor air quality.

Common Air Consciousness

Clean air is often not at the top of everyone’s mind. We want to raise the profile of air quality issues among those whose leadership on air quality improvement can have an impact, such as local project partners, funders, and decision-makers.

Why It Matters

People who deal with poor air quality every day know their air is bad. Those fortunate enough to avoid dirty air don’t always see air quality as an issue of importance for our state.

Structured Air Justice

Thoughtful, impactful government structures that don’t just listen to marginalized voices, but also meaningfully act with them in their interests.

Why It Matters

We recognize that many systems and regulations that influence and control air quality issues do not always allow for the intentional involvement of those affected, much less lend them decision-making power. This needs to change, and we believe it changes through public-private-community partnership.


Our Current Efforts
Project Green Fleet (PGF)—works with business owners and fleet operators to upgrade older, less efficient diesel engines with newer equipment that reduces air pollution. The program offers grants and additional resources to promote healthy communities and thriving businesses through continuous air emissions reductions.
Project Stove Swap (PSS)—connects residents of all income levels with their local wood stove vendor to swap out their older, inefficient wood stove, identify potential discounts for a new model, and breathe easier by reducing wood smoke.
Project Clean Air Repairs (CAR)—reduces emissions from older passenger vehicles like cars and light-duty trucks by targeting and fixing vehicle exhaust systems for lower-income residents in the Twin Cities.
Clean Air Assistance Project (CAAP)—connects small businesses with funding to upgrade their equipment with low-emitting technologies that are more efficient and better for their bottom line.