Capital Region Air Justice Lab

The Capital Region Air Justice Lab is being developed by The Sanctuary for Independent Media at NATURE Lab in North Troy. 

Project Description

This proposal to build air quality monitoring capacity throughout the NYS Capital Region consists of three key components: 1) a broad, flexible, low-cost public access network of air monitoring devices, 2) a grassroots educational program teaching the fundamentals of data science to local residents impacted by air pollution and, 3) an ambitious outreach campaign to increase public awareness of pervasive air quality issues.

We intend to network 50 or more PurpleAir monitors to help environmental justice groups throughout the Capital Region quantify the air quality issues in their neighborhoods. 

Why? 

Take a look at this map produced by Diana Abadie and Dave Walker:

Heat map displaying asthma emergency department visits for 2017-2019 across Albany and Rensselaer counties in upstate New York. There pattern of 40+ visits per 10,000 population along the Hudson River.
Total Asthma Emergency Department Visit Rate per 10,000 (2017-2019)

We all have our suspicions about what is causing this epidemic but need more data to make our case. We already have PurpleAir monitors operating; we started in Troy and more are on the way throughout the region. You can see them at work on this dynamic map.

But imagine this kind of coverage in the NY Capital Region!

It’s a big project for sure but the good news is that it’s scaleable.  We can start with what we have and keep building until we have what we need.

Already a number of local environmental activist groups have signed on; we also have support from scientists at RPI as well as both Williams and Bennington colleges. Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, US Senator Kirstin Gillibrand, and US Congressman Paul Tonko have endorsed the project as well.

Whatever the outcome of this initiative, it’s the kind of glue that can bind us together in struggle. We are all fighting in our own backyards against a myriad of threats to clean air.  It’s ultimately the same fight everywhere, one that we have to keep organizing regionally if we expect to win anywhere…

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About The Sanctuary

We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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