The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) is seeking Allegheny County students in grades 9, 10, and 11 interested in becoming environmental game-changers. If that sounds like you or someone you know, we invite you to apply today for an innovative program called Fresh Voices for Clean Air.
For the third year, GASP is partnering with Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), a non-profit organization working in the greater Birmingham area in Alabama to advance healthy air and environmental justice through education, advocacy, and organizing.
“Our missions are very similar - they work to reduce air pollution, educate people about the health risks associated with unhealthy air quality, and encourage municipal leaders to be role models for clean air and clean energy development,” Patrick Campbell said. “We’re excited for another opportunity to partner with our friends in Birmingham and look forward to seeing what the students come up with this time around.”
Here’s how Fresh Voices for Clean Air works:
GASP will pair a small group of high school students in Allegheny County with a group of their peers in Birmingham, Ala. for a school year-long collaborative partnership. Throughout 2023-24, the cohorts in each city will meet virtually to participate in discussions with each other as well as guest speakers. This year, Fresh Voices will be partnering closely with Communitopia’s Pittsburgh Youth for Climate Action (PYCA).
The team will learn more about air quality while building the skills necessary to become effective environmental advocates. By the program’s end, students will have created, developed, and executed an air quality project of their own choosing, with the support of adult mentors in Pittsburgh and Birmingham.
“This new partnership between air quality-focused non-profit organizations in Pittsburgh and Birmingham reflects our cities’ similar industrial and environmental history,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution. “A century ago, Birmingham was nicknamed the ‘Pittsburgh of the South.’ The two cities have experienced some of the worst air quality in the nation, and residents have been fighting back for decades.”
GASP Air Quality Educator Laura Kuster agreed: “Discovering and discussing the similarities and differences between experiences in these two regions will be a key component of the collaboration,” she said.
The program will run through the 2023-24 academic year and is open to students in grades 9, 10, and 11 who attend school in either Allegheny County or Jefferson County, Ala. Students must be willing and able to participate in Fresh Voices for Clean Air until the end of the school year in June 2024 to be considered.
Participants will need access to a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone to take part in virtual meetings, as well as written consent from a parent or guardian.
The deadline to apply is Sept. 22. You can apply here. Need a little more info first? GASP will host a brief virtual info session via Zoom at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 12. GASP staff will provide details about the program and answer any questions. You can register here.
The Fresh Voices for Clean Air initiative was made possible by funding through the Grable Foundation.
The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), a non-profit founded in 1969, works to improve air quality in SWPA to safeguard human, environmental, and economic health. GASP is a diligent watchdog, educator, litigator, and policy-maker on air quality issues impacting our region.
Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), a non-profit organization working in the greater-Birmingham area in Alabama, advances healthy air & environmental justice through education, advocacy, and organizing. They strive to reduce air pollution, educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality, and encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy development.
Communitopia is a nonprofit organization working to provide transformative climate change education that develops today’s climate leaders and advances equitable solutions. They envision a world where solution-based climate change education has transformed community thought and practice resulting in empowered and healthy local communities.