ACCLAIM: Seven factors to help in improving air condition

Advocacy – One factor in the air-health-improvement equation is a strong backing of proponent support. But it goes beyond this, obviously. Air-pollution cleanup, for it to work, there first has to be the recognition that there is a dirty air problem. There also must be the understanding that there are both short- and long-term health impacts of the breathing in of toxic, poisonous air contaminants – it is what is known as the polluted-air/impacted health connection. Once this is understood, the key is to get people to get behind the cause and to advocate, maybe to go so far as to implore others – key officials, regulators, policymakers, those in innovation and technology circles, members of the community at large, etc., to back the cause to address and mitigate air pollution and to crusade for not just cleaner, but clean air. Advocacy is an important component in the arsenal to make this happen. And, advocacy comes in many forms including writing letters to newspaper editors, publishing newsletters, blogging, contacting local, state and federal political leaders and more.

Cooperation – This is an imperative in the air-pollution-mitigation effort. Without cooperation among and between the myriad support groups and individuals, it pretty much becomes a helter-skelter, every-person-for-him-/herself, fight. By cooperating and coordinating (discussed next) resources (remember: there is strength in numbers), pulling together, when there is agreement, consensus, this is exactly what facilitates progress; it helps the process along and solutions can be found, benchmarks are reached and objectives, missions and goals get accomplished.

Coordination – This element is all about pooling together. “Pooling,” means “combining,” in this instance. Think of this as a machine with many working parts. When all member parts are working together, the individual parts forming a team, then, when all goes smoothly, the team experiences success. It is the coordination or coordinated efforts of all team components, members, parts that make the outcome, whatever that may be, bear fruit.

Legislation – This is the legal aspect of the pie. Very often changing conditions is contingent on laws being enacted. Say, for example, a number of community members’ hands are tied in trying to encourage, persuade or convince others in the same community that an action such as wood-burning in a fireplace, woodstove, etc., is driving up levels of fine particulates in the air that everyone within said community must breathe, the fine particulate levels above established standards but still continue to burn wood regardless. Passing laws to regulate the burning of wood to help protect the health of all community members and deemed to be for the good of the people, in instances like these, laws are sometimes necessary. Those, meanwhile, who are in violation of said law or laws, can face arrest and/or having to pay fines for said violations. Other times rules are established for the purpose of dictating policy. In California’s Central Valley, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has, over time, instituted more than 500 rules, handily. Rule 4901 relates to the burning of wood.

Articulation – Sometimes the language of air-quality issues can be complex and/or confusing. This is where articulation comes into play. Such provides clarity of jargon, lexicon, vocabulary, you get the idea, related to relevant and air-quality centered ideas, discussion, etc. It is important to have a clear understanding of what is being communicated and that is where articulation applies.

Indoctrination – What this has to do with is teaching. It is through indoctrination that others can become versed on the issues at hand. It helps keep interested persons informed and current. Indoctrination and articulation are closely related and very often go hand in hand.

Mitigation – Mitigation is an associative construct in that this is what is sought to reduce, lessen or eliminate impurities, contaminants, toxics, poisons in the air in this case. Synonyms of mitigation are correction, remediation, fixing, doctoring, improving, even. To put mitigation in perspective as it relates to all of the above-mentioned factors, advocacy, cooperation, coordination, legislation, articulation and indoctrination, if an axle with attached wheels on both axle ends were to be represented properly, mitigation would be one wheel with the elements remaining being the other. Important to the factors, mitigation here is an associative construct. Mitigation includes in its context methods that can be employed to bring about corrective change, but really cannot come about without most if not all of the six other elements being included, representative or indicative of that “team” construct I alluded to earlier.

Air cleanup. It is an enormous undertaking to take on and be successful at achieving. If that particular outcome is to get anywhere near that of being realized, it will take the combination of part or all of the above to pull that job off, depending. It might do one well at this point to remember advocacy, cooperation, coordination, legislation, articulation, indoctrination and mitigation as a good jumping off point and remembering also the acronym ACCLAIM. Adding funding and will (as in political will), to the mix, rounds out the picture. Those two “extras” so to speak, the value-added side to the air-cleanup-success puzzle, is quite often the most difficult part to be had, when it does come and when success in cleaning up air occurs, that right there is the icing on the, ahem, ACCLAIM cake.

ACCLAIM: I do like the way that sounds.

– Alan Kandel