5 Environmental Activists Advocating for Better Air Quality to Follow

Air Quality Activists at an Event

Air pollution has serious health consequences, contributing to millions of premature deaths worldwide every year. Poor air quality can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and other health problems.

Beyond that, air pollution also harms the environment, including crops, forests, and ecosystems. 

So, what can we do about it? 

One way to help is by supporting local activists. Environmental and air quality activists play an essential role in addressing these issues by calling attention to the problem of air pollution and advocating for change.

Here, we will take a closer look at 5 air quality activists advocating for better air quality and which organizations they work with. That way, you can find more opportunities to get involved yourself.  

What is an Environmental Activist?  

An environmental activist is a person who takes action to protect the environment and promote sustainable living practices. Environmental activists are passionate and recognize the importance of addressing environmental issues such as air pollution, deforestation, and losing biodiversity. 

Environmental activists may engage in a wide range of activities to promote their cause, including: 

  • Organizing rallies and charity events 
  • Lobbying government officials and policymakers 
  • Engaging in environmental education and outreach 
  • Advocating for conservation measures 

5 Environmental Activists Changing the World

Environmental activism can take many forms, and activists may work individually or as part of larger organizations. Some environmental activists may focus on specific issues, while others prioritize environmental protection. 

Here are 5 activists we recommend you check out:   

#1 - Maria Kolesnikova 

Maria Kolesnikova is a Belarusian political activist and musician involved in environmental activism. In 2016, Kolesnikova was volunteering for MoveGreen, a youth-led environmental organization in Kyrgyz Republic.

Bishkek is a major city with one of the world’s worst air pollution. During the winter months, it’s on average 5 degrees warmer than surrounding cities. This is due to air pollution being trapped under a dome of smog derived from both the natural environment and emissions from coal.  

At that time, there wasn’t any available air quality data. So, MoveGreen started collecting their own and started with only 3 sensors to measure Particulate Matter (PM2.5) produced by burning coal.  

In 2021, Kolesnikova was crowned as a Champion of the Earth. By then, MoveGreen had over 100 air quality monitors installed across the region. Since then, Kolesnikova has been involved in demonstrations calling for more decisive action on air pollution. 

#2 - Alejandro Daly

As a person with asthma, Alejandro Daly has experienced the negative impacts of air pollution firsthand. Now, he is the Director of El Derecho a No Obedecer in Colombia, where he led 3 national campaigns to advocate for clean air. This mobilized more than 5,000 climate activists, academics, and government officials.  

In 2019, he played a role in creating the first School of Advocacy for Air Quality called New Airs, a training course designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed for effective air quality advocacy. The New Airs program offers a range of training opportunities through online courses, webinars, workshops, and networking events. 

The program covers topics such as air pollution science, policy and governance, communication strategies, and community engagement. By providing support for air quality advocates, the New Airs program aims to build a stronger and more effective movement for clean air. 

#3 - Sophia Kianni

Sophia Kianni is a climate activist focused on air pollution and its effects on public health. She has spoken out about the need to address air pollution and has advocated for stronger regulations on polluting industries.  

Beyond that, she’s also the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals. This youth-led non-profit aims to address the language barrier in climate activism. But how? Well, by providing free translation services for climate information and resources in different languages. 

Kianni also joined the American Lung Association as their first climate activist advisor. There, she lobbied the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen their methane emission rules and to educate the people about the dangers of air pollution.  

Through the Stand Up for Clean Air initiative, Kianni and the American Lung Association have since launched a public information campaign to talk about air pollution and educate people that over 40% of Americans live with unhealthy air.  

#4 - Olumide Idowu

Olumide Idowu is a Nigerian environmental activist focused on air pollution and its effects on public health. For years, Idowu has promoted public awareness of the links between air pollution and respiratory illnesses. He has also called for increased investment in clean energy and sustainable transportation.  

Since 2013, he has been involved in efforts to address air pollution in Lagos, Nigeria, where he is based. There, he has advocated for stronger regulations on polluting industries. He is also working with government agencies to build a bank of data on air quality in Nigeria.  

Additionally, he was part of a campaign #WhatHasChanged in 2021. This aimed to promote conversations about air quality by asking governments what they’ve done to build a healthier, more sustainable future.  

#5 - Jemima Viven

Jemima Viven is a lawyer and human rights activist from London, UK. She is a co-founder of Mums for Lungs, a grassroots organization that campaigns for clean air and healthy communities. Mums for Lungs seeks to raise awareness about the health risks of air pollution. It also pushes for policy changes that will lead to cleaner air in London and beyond.  

The group organizes events and campaigns to draw attention to air pollution issues, demanding action from local and national governments. They also provide resources and support for parents and families who want to take action on air pollution in their own communities.

Take Part in Your Community's Air Quality

Environmental activists play an important role in addressing these issues by calling attention to the problem of air pollution. In doing so, they encourage governments and industries to take action to reduce emissions and improve air quality.  

Worried about your air quality? 

Monitor the Particulate Matter levels around the world with our free, real-time PurpleAir Map or join PurpleAir's mission to make air quality data accessible to everyone by investing in an air quality monitor for your home.  

Together, we can be informed and make changes in our daily habits and the community to improve air quality.