In celebration of the 51st Earth Day, the USC Schwarzenegger Institute hosted a special screening of the documentary, Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air, a virtual event co-hosted by the American Lung Association and the American University Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Unbreathable highlights the progress that’s been made in cleaning up the air, as well as the ongoing struggle to protect the most vulnerable communities. The film screening was preceded by a briefing of the 2021 American Lung Association “State of the Air” report by Will Barrett, Director of Advocacy and Clean Air at the American Lung Association in California.
The State of the Air report found that over 40% of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. Furthermore, people of color are three times more likely to be breathing the most polluted air than white people. The three years, covered by the 2021 report, ranked among the six hottest years on record globally. These findings are a sobering reminder that although great progress has been made since the passage of the Clean Air Act, there is a long road ahead to ensure clean air for all.
The event also included a panel and Q&A with Adrian Martinez, Staff Attorney at Earthjustice, and Joe Lyou, CEO and Executive Director, of the Coalition for Clean Air. Adrian Martinez and Joe Lyou shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities of cleaning up the air. Coalition-building, inclusivity, and strategic policy making were key takeaways of the panel.