by June Blotnick, Executive Director
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that I can finally announce our big news: Clean Air Carolina is now CleanAIRE NC!
And we’re not just changing our name. We’re unveiling a top-to-bottom redesign with a new logo, a new look, and a new website.
Don’t worry, we’re not changing everything about us. At our core we’re still a solutions-driven advocacy organization focused on three powerful drivers of public health: climate change, air pollution, and environmental justice. But this rebrand gave us an opportunity to look at how our work had been changing over the years and reflect on the increasing intersectionality of these issues. We believe greater impact will result as we see through this layered lens.
Changing our name was not an easy decision for us, and things only got harder from there! Despite the challenges of 2020 our whole team has worked tirelessly (with a few sleepless nights along the way) to bring this vision to life. I couldn’t be more proud of the end result, and I’m so excited for what comes next.
So why go through the challenges and headaches that come with rebranding in the first place? To answer that, we need to get into a little backstory.
Not Just Clean Air
What started off as a small group of Charlotte volunteers focused on school bus emissions has changed and grown a lot over the last 20 years. As the links between air pollution, health, climate change, and equity became more and more undeniable, we realized that we could no longer treat air quality as an isolated problem. Our vision and mission had to expand to find the holistic solutions we need.
We know that air pollution caused by energy consumption and transportation also drives climate change, which in turn amplifies the impacts of poor air quality and threatens our health through extreme heat waves, more intense storms, and the spread of insect-borne disease. And black, brown, indigenous, and under-resourced communities are especially vulnerable to these consequences.
As our advocacy work expanded into climate change and environmental justice, we wanted a new brand to reflect this greater focus while still honoring our proud history as North Carolina’s advocates for healthy air. That’s why we’ve changed our name to CleanAIRE NC: Action & Innovation to Restore our Environment!
Showing Who We Are
We couldn’t just stop with our name, however. This was an opportunity to rethink everything about who we are, and to develop a more cohesive visual identity. And that started with our logo.
During the early stages of our rebrand we cycled through a lot of different logo ideas. We were looking for something that was both memorable and meaningful. Above all, we wanted a logo that truly embodied our new name: innovative, action-oriented, and depicting our shared path towards a restored environment.
After playing around with design ideas and going down a few dead ends, we ultimately landed on our new logo. The design incorporates both people and nature to convey the interconnectivity at the heart of our mission – we rely on access to clean environments for our health, but restoring our environment will require dedicated action and innovation from across society. And just as we commit to working throughout North Carolina, the logo encompasses the entirety of this beautiful state we call home – looking out from our eastern shorelines, across the Piedmont and the Foothills, all the way to the western mountains of the High Country and the Land of the Sky.
Partnerships, Programming, and Policy
When people are equipped with the right knowledge and tools, they’re empowered to take action and chart a better future. To that end CleanAIRE NC will continue to support the innovative programming and partnerships that have long been Clean Air Carolina’s calling card.
But we have a renewed emphasis on addressing systemic issues affecting communities of color and under-resourced communities, and have hired our first Environmental Justice Manager to lead these efforts.
One of the first big issues CleanAIRE NC will tackle is the state’s permitting process and how people of color are disproportionately impacted by multiple sources of air pollution. Our Citizen Science Program will partner with communities in targeted counties to use portable air monitors to measure hyper-local levels of particle pollution. Data from our network of air sensors helps identify public health concerns and gaps in the state’s regulatory network. Community-scale data collection can be a motivation for industry to be a better neighbor.
Through our Health Program we also maintain NC Clinicians for Climate Action (formerly Medical Advocates for Healthy Air), a statewide network of doctors, nurses, and health professionals using their trusted voices to speak out about the health impacts of air pollution and climate change and working with healthcare systems to reduce their carbon emissions.
Our Advocacy Program mobilizes North Carolinians to advance equitable solutions to air pollution and the climate crisis by taking action in the community and political sphere. We are pushing for policies that will result in 50% of our energy mix in 2025 coming from clean energy sources, triggering a 75% reduction in energy poverty rates for low-income North Carolinians. And we actively pursue inclusive legislation, litigation, and coalitions that reduce air pollutants and climate change to the benefit of all communities.
Empowering People, Changing the World
We are proud of our accomplishments as Clean Air Carolina, and rightly so. But the fight against climate change and air pollution leave us little time to slow down, and we can’t do it without your support. Let’s work together to build a cleaner, healthier North Carolina.