Dear CleanAIRE NC members,
I cannot begin to tell you how humbled and honored I am to take on the role of Executive Director at CleanAIRE NC. As one of North Carolina’s only statewide organizations focusing on the air we breathe, the work that each of us do, from our members and supporters to our staff and board, is vital for building a cleaner, healthier state.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to June Blotnick for everything she’s done to build such an impactful organization. I’ve put a lot of thought over these past few weeks into how I can continue to support and extend the legacy started by my predecessor, while taking our organization to new heights.
My vision for CleanAIRE NC centers around the critical challenges our planet faces. We have been called to turn the tide on the climate crisis, and to reduce and eventually eliminate the fossil fuel emissions contaminating our air. We must also be surgically focused on advancing environmental sustainability, while addressing the health issues that arise when the same communities are repeatedly asked to bear our environmental burdens.
This is a tall order, but it is important for a few reasons. Sustainability means fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of the future, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being. This means that we are all stewards of the environment, responsible for maintaining its balance. What does this mean in the context of CleanAIRE NC?
First, it means taking a scientific approach to measuring how emissions from transportation, industrial agriculture, and fossil fuel-derived energy impacts our state and our communities. We plan to do this by establishing cluster networks of air quality monitors, focusing on environmentally impacted areas. This will enable us to pinpoint the communities that need our focus, and the unique services we provide, the most.
Second, it means leveraging our expertise to partner with communities and cultivate relationships to provide resources and education for change, improve community health outcomes, and advocate for social and policy change. Establishing relationships has enabled our organization to improve the lives of the people in communities experiencing environmental hazards and climate change. We intend to continue to do so and scale up as needed.
Finally, it means expanding our reach by establishing partnerships with individuals, other nonprofits, governmental agencies, and corporations. Nobody is going to solve climate change and our other environmental challenges alone. That’s why we will employ a pragmatic approach that brings all interested parties together. Corporations have a key role to play in the solutions we need, so we will strive for engagement and alignment with corporate green teams, congruence with stakeholders, and sustainable solutions and strategy. A concerted effort and focused commitment to continue building new partnerships (and strengthening existing ones) will be an ongoing theme and strategy moving forward.
It’s one thing to say you want to change the world, but another to actually make it happen. That’s why I’m so excited to have each of you as a partner on this journey. We have a bright future ahead of us, and the right team in place to get us there. I wake up every morning filled with excitement and optimism for what lies ahead of us.
Let’s get to work.
Executive Director, CleanAIRE NC