Serious questions: When’s the last time you woke up in the wee hours of the morning choked by an industrial odor seeping in through your windows – one so strong you had to reach for a rescue inhaler?
Have you ever walked out your front door on a gorgeous day to take a jog only to be forced to make a U-turn when confronted by the overwhelming stench of rotten eggs?
Have you ever seen a plume of murky black smoke billowing from a company in your neighborhood and wondered if the air was safe enough for you to send your kids outside to play?
We’re asking today to make a point: News reports often talk about how the air pollution burden we face in Allegheny County is not evenly shared. We use words like “disproportionate impacts” and “frontline communities,” which makes it easy to forget what we’re really talking about: Our friends and neighbors in the Mon Valley (and downwind of it) who have their daily lives disrupted on the regular by abysmal air quality.
At GASP we believe that a person’s ability to breathe clean air shouldn’t be determined by their zip code, and we’re fighting hard to ensure our friends and neighbors will no longer be forced to ask themselves those kinds of tough questions.
This brings us to why we’re talking to you today: Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, that beautiful day every year when the focus moves from Black Friday shopping to community empowerment – a day when like-minded folks band together, cracking open their checkbooks and brandishing their credit cards to help support the causes for which they are most passionate.
We’re reasonably positive that by this point, you’ve likely been the recipient of about 147 emails from (very worthy) nonprofits asking for your support. We know a lot of the bigger, statewide (and even nationwide) nonprofits will try to woo folks with PR and paid social media campaigns.
Here at GASP, we don’t have the budget for all that. This underdog organization has played an outsized watchdog role that’s helped lead to real progress in Allegheny County. With the help of supporters like you, we helped usher in a new air quality permit fee schedule that is expected to help better fund Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program. With the help of supporters like you, we saw the passage of new rules to address Mon Valley air pollution episodes and the drafting of updated coke oven regulations.
We’re hoping that tomorrow, you’ll think of your friendly neighborhood air quality watchdogs when you crack open your checkbook or brandish your credit card. As a small nonprofit with a limited budget, we depend on the kindness of those who are equally enraged by our continually subpar air quality to help us continue the battle.
So, if you think people shouldn’t have to reach for their inhalers in the middle of the night…If you think that athletes shouldn’t have to choose between protecting their respiratory health and taking part in outdoor physical activities…If you think parents shouldn’t have to worry that their kids will be sickened simply by breathing the air outside during recess, make a Giving Tuesday donation to GASP to help fight alongside us on behalf of our friends and neighbors who most need help.
The beautiful thing is, you don’t even have to wait until tomorrow to help us make a difference. You can make a donation or become a member right now.
The GASP Gang