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OPA Live! A Tale of Two Gasps
June 8, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Host Rachel Fillipini takes over the OPA Instagram account for OPA Live! with guest Michael Hansen.
A Tale of Two GASPs
The Group Against Smog Pollution (GASP) in Pittsburgh and the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP) in Birmingham, Alabama have recently teamed up to educate and engage youth in each region on air quality issues, through their Fresh Voices for Clean Air program. The two cities, although over 700 miles apart and in very different regions of the country, followed similar patterns of urban development, relying heavily in the past on the iron and steel industries to propel their economic growth. A century ago, Birmingham was nicknamed the “Pittsburgh of the South”. Similarly, the cities have experienced some of the worst air quality in the nation. While there have certainly been improvements to the air in both regions, air pollution remains a significant public health concern in Pittsburgh and Birmingham. Together, the two GASPs will reflect on their work and how it shaped by their cities’ histories.
About Rachel Fillipini
Rachel Filippini is the executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP). She has been with the organization since 2001. Rachel has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work includes spearheading Allegheny County air quality legislation, increasing GASP’s educational work in local communities and schools, and continuing to keep air pollution issues in the public eye. In 2009, she was named one of Pittsburgh’s 40 under 40 and in 2019 one of “25 Essential Pittsburghers” for her work on “the forefront of the battle for clean air.” Rachel has served on Allegheny County’s Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee since 2017.
About Michael Hansen
Michael Hansen is the executive director of GASP, a nonprofit advocacy organization working for healthy air and environmental justice in the Greater-Birmingham area. He is also a founding board member of the Southeast Climate & Energy Network, an organization confronting the climate crisis by creating strategic alignment, growing capacity, and building power among member organizations and their communities in the South.