Seventh Annual NC BREATHE Conference to Seek Climate Change Solutions that Advance Health and Equity in North Carolina

March 24, 2022

Andrew Whelan, CleanAIRE NC, (919) 408-7031, [email protected]


SALISBURY, N.C. — Community leaders, health professionals, policymakers, and researchers will participate in the 2022 NC BREATHE Conference next month to consider the disproportionate health impacts climate change has on vulnerable communities in North Carolina. Organized by CleanAIRE NC, the hybrid conference will be held both virtually and in person at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC on Thursday, April 7, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Conference attendees will discuss the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, and strategies to increase the resilience of North Carolina’s communities and health systems to climate impacts.

“NC BREATHE 2022 is an opportunity for North Carolinians to hear from frontline communities and meet the leaders and change agents working for collective community action to advance health, equity, and climate justice,” said June Blotnick, Executive Director of CleanAIRE NC.

The conference will examine the most pressing issues at the intersection of climate, equity, and health, and the need for holistic solutions that address them. Four interactive panel discussions will focus on communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis; cutting-edge and publicly available tools to collect environmental data for health and equity; a multi-institutional and community partnership to build climate resilience across the Carolinas; and the strategies and experiences of youth climate leaders.

Richard Moore (Co-Chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council) and Dr. Sacoby Wilson (Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health) are the keynote speakers at NC BREATHE 2022. Other featured speakers and panelists include Dr. Courtney Woods (Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill), Eric Klos (DailyBreath), Crystal Dixon (Wake Forest University), and Issac Smith (student at North Carolina State University).

“The climate crisis amplifies existing inequities in our society. We must not leave our most vulnerable communities behind in our responses to climate change. NC BREATHE has created a space for us to come together and develop equitable climate solutions that give all people the chance to thrive,” said Sherri White-Williamson, Environmental Justice Policy Director for NC Conservation Network and the moderator of the ‘Voices from the Frontlines’ panel at NC BREATHE.

Climate-driven weather changes including severe heatwaves, rising sea levels, droughts, intense hurricanes, and poor air quality all have adverse effects on human health. Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately harmed by these changing weather patterns, while also having fewer resources that could allow them to adapt to climate-driven economic shocks.

“The impacts of climate change are already happening with a disproportionate impact upon Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other communities of color,” said Kirsten Minor, Health Program Manager of CleanAIRE NC. “Unfortunately, these communities have historically been left out of climate policy decision making. Equity-centered solutions to address environmental racism, like those we’ll seek at NC BREATHE, are not only a public health concern; they are a human rights priority.”

This will be the seventh annual NC BREATHE conference. In addition to CleanAIRE NC, NC BREATHE 2022 is being co-sponsored by Duke University, Catawba College, the Catawba College Center for the Environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the University of North Carolina – Charlotte Public Health Sciences Program.

Registration for NC BREATHE 2022 costs $75 for in-person participants and $50 for virtual participants. Registration is free for students and media members. Those interested in learning more and registering for the conference should go to


CleanAIRE NC is a statewide nonprofit organization advocating for the health of all North Carolinians by pursuing equitable and collaborative solutions that address climate change and air pollution.

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