Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Adopt the Sky" Project Supports Air Pollution Controls and Reduce Health Risks

Americans are breathing dirty air. As court-ordered deadlines approach for the federal government to decide on strengthening protections against air pollution, people from across the country will voice their opinion to the Environmental Protection Agency that clean air protections are important for our health, our environment, and our future through a new online project called “Adopt the Sky”(http://www.adoptthesky.org/).

Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law firm, is launching “Adopt the Sky,” using the latest in Flash technology to entertain, engage and promote clean air and better health. Air pollution is choking communities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, and this website gives people a chance to tell those in charge why clean air is important to them.

“EPA has heard from environmental and public health groups, and now it’s time they start hearing from everyone forced to breath dirty air,” said Alexandra Allred, a Texas activist and mom whose son, Tommy, has severe asthma. “We deserve clean air. Adopt the Sky is a way that we can tell EPA to clean up their act.”

People visiting http://www.adoptthesky.org/ are greeted with images of smoggy, dirty sky coupled with startling facts about asthma: 4.5 million children in the U.S. have it. Visitors can then navigate around a big blue sky, viewing personalized messages from people all over the country who have signed the petition demanding cleaner air. Georgia M. from New Hampshire writes, “EPA, the science is in. Don't fall short. Adopt the most protective standards.” Michael W. from San Francisco says, “I have asthma and it’s getting harder to breathe.” Other petition signers simply list the names of their children and grandchildren.

Visitors are then prompted to “Adopt the Sky,” signing their names to an assigned virtual square-mile of sky over some of the dirtiest regions of the country. The user will see floating air molecules that represent those who have already signed the clean air petition. When people roll over the molecules, a name, home state location, adopted state location and user-generated comment or message related to preserving clean air are revealed.

Clean air advocates can navigate from state to state, revealing the numbers of adults and children with asthma. “The goal here is to help visitors really visualize the impact that dirty air has on our health and our environment, and to give them a sense that there is something we can all do together to let EPA know that weak protections against dirty air are not acceptable,” said Georgia McIntosh, Director of Marketing at Earthjustice. “Smog pollution doesn’t know state or county boundaries. We’re all affected by it and need to tell EPA and government regulators that it’s time they moved toward stronger protections.”

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