Clean energy improves air quality and public health. Improved air quality reduces premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, respiratory infections, and strokes. Increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency measures would reduce carbon emissions, improving air quality and public health.The Climate + Energy Project will connect experts in healthcare, air quality, and environmental justice along with representatives of target populations to explore clean energy improves public health
Populations most impacted by air-pollution have the most to gain from reduced emissions, yet the connections between clean air, and expedient emissions reductions (renewable energy/energy efficiency) are not readily apparent. Educating the public on the extensive health benefits resulting from clean energy and energy efficiency will lead to increased support for clean energy policies and improved public health.
Improved air quality reduces premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, respiratory infections, and strokes. Cutting carbon emissions at power plants by 32% nationwide will reduce hundreds of thousands of tons of harmful particulate pollution, resulting in improved public health. This public education initiative will connect individual energy efficiency measures and support for renewable energy with reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improved air quality, and positive health impacts in the Shawnee, Douglas, Miami, Leavenworth, Johnson and Wyandotte County.
CEP is convening a Clean Energy = Clean Air Coalition to collaboratively highlight the health benefits of clean energy and encourage future clean energy/air policies, thereby accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy while improving public health in Kansas. The Clean Energy = Clean Air Coalition will provide relevant community education about the health risks from power plant emissions, including increased respiratory illness, lung diseases, and asthma.
Informed by this work, CEP will host several listening sessions connecting the public to the issues while seeking locally-relevant solutions. CEP is actively seeking partners working in Douglas, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Shawnee, and Wyandotte counties to join the coalition.
Contact Jamie Hofling, program director, for more information at 316-990-2925 or via email at Hofling@ClimateandEnergy.org.
The Clean Energy = Clean Air initiative is funded by the Kansas Health Foundation with the goal of connecting clean energy to public health
Richard Mabion was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. After serving a 2-year tour of duty for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict, he graduated with a BS in Education and minored in Psychology. He spent the next three decades as a self-taught urban social engineer and businessman, in both Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2006 he has worked as an independent community organizer in the environmental movement, in Kansas City, Kansas.
In 2007 he founded an environmental literacy organization called Building A Sustainable Earth Community. He has since been recognized for his commitment to involve more people of color in environmental causes.
In 2012 the Kansas Sierra Club elected him as their first statewide black board member. In 2014, running on an environmental literacy ticket, the Kansas City, KS NAACP branch elected Richard as their president.
Quote from Richard;"We need to find new ways to engage our low-income communities in the subject of clean energy. For one, there is a future for our children in the clean energy economy. I am joining this coalition because connecting clean energy with the state of our health as I see it, will bring us toward a brighter economic future for our children. And this is the kind of work I strive to support."
Kim Bellemere is the Membership and Education Coordinator for the Grassland Heritage Foundation where he oversees all education activities related to tallgrass prairie preservation. She is also the co-chair of the Kaw Valley Native Plant Coalition and is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Kansas Women’s Environmental Network (KWEN). In April, 2016 she received the Community/Non-Profit Award for Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE).
Donna Young is a project manager for the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC). She earned her degree in Health Sciences from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, with a special focus on urban health including health policy, community wellness, health program management, and population health outcomes. Donna spent 18 months as a Health Initiatives Intern followed by one year on staff as a Community Organizer with Communities Creating Opportunity.
Donna joined the CHC team January 2016 as the project leader for the Health Opportunity Mapping for Equity (HOME) program. The HOME report emphasizes the connection between environmental factors and health outcomes.
With more than 15 years in operations management, Donna brings her interpersonal communication skills, leadership and development background, and project management experience as she supports community health initiatives in her hometown of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County. In partnership with REACH and Wyandotte Healthcare Foundation, Donna is committed to improving health outcomes in Wyandotte County, specifically in the northeast area of Kansas City, Kansas.
Quote from Donna:"I believe life expectancy, overall health, and wellness should not be determined by an individual’s zip code. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life. I am joining this coalition because the state of health in Wyandotte County calls for action, it cannot be ignored. Efforts to improve health outcomes for underserved populations must include the reduction of health risks associated with environment including indoor and outdoor air pollution."
Jennifer Byer currently serves as chair of the True Blue Women environment committee. In that capacity, she is active in public educational outreach on the topics of energy efficiency, the environmental impacts of bottled water, and solid waste reduction.
At the neighborhood level, she works with the county and a local waste management company as coordinator for a pilot residential food composting program.The parent of two sons with asthma, Jennifer has a passionate interest in the air quality/health connection, and looks forward to participation in the Clean Energy=Clean Air Coalition.
Jeff Severin was hired as the first director of the Center for Sustainability in January 2007. He has worked at the University of Kansas since 2004, managing the recycling program prior to his appointment with CFS. During his tenure at the Center, he has coordinated the development of a campus sustainability plan and helped launch new initiatives addressing campus sustainability including campus beautification, faculty development, and student leadership programs.
Before coming to KU, Jeff served as Field Coordinator for the Kansas StreamLink program of the Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance, where he focused on K-12 watershed education and stewardship. He remains connected to environmental education as Past President of the Board of Directors for the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education.Jeff is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Master of Urban Planning with an emphasis in Environmental Planning.
Broadly, Dominique Saunders is interested in the impact that the fossil fuel industry has on public health outcomes. As a 20 year resident of Manhattan, Kansas she brings with her over eleven years of service in the field of public health, both at a state and federal level, as well as having worked directly with clients and within community led initiatives. During these years, Dominique has had extensive experience in community and board development, provider outreach and education, curriculum development, and grant writing. Additionally, she has served on a number of boards throughout her years in Kansas, such as her local food cooperative, PFLAG, a statewide HIV advocacy group, as well as given her time to volunteering with the student environmental group at Kansas State University and other groups related to anti-human trafficking efforts, behavioral health issues, and youth development programs.
Quote from Dominique;I believe that the quality of the air we breathe is both a Kansas issue and a universal issue that crosses all political, social and economic boundaries. I am serving on the the Clean Energy=Clean Air Coalition because the purpose of this initiative is to assist the public, especially those disproportionately impacted by poor air quality, in understanding the connection between clean energy generation and health. I believe that by listening, engaging, and increasing awareness, we can collectively make those connections and build on existing support for clean energy economies; improving the overall health of our communities.