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Voices for change – ‘Airmail’

Connecting climate and health communities for co-benefits to air pollution.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Air pollution is the single biggest global environmental health risk, killing more people worldwide than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Because air pollution consists largely of greenhouse gas emissions, tackling air quality is also an effective way to drive climate mitigation, especially in the short term. Globally, reducing black carbon particulates such as PM2.5 can help reduce global warming by up to 0.5°C by 2050 as well as providing enormous health benefits to people. Health professionals rank among the most trusted voices in societies across the world. Increasingly, they are leveraging this power by influencing public debates about solutions to urban air pollution. With your support we will interlink and serve a growing network of health professionals committed to action on air quality and climate change with a strategic communications service to drive movement building: ‘Airmail’. Global Climate Call for Action (GCCA) will implement ‘Airmail’ in close partnership with the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) and international, national and city partners of Unmask My City and their networks. In Year 1, Airmail aims to engage thousands of health professionals in 13 Unmask My City cities across the globe with global and local health climate information. GCCA is no stranger to bringing together ‘voices for change’. We have a 10-year history; originally as tcktcktck; partnering with movements on global campaigns, mass mobilisations and strategic communications to drive action on climate change. Airmail is a shareable, two-way communications service specifically tailored to the needs and narrative preferences of health professionals. Airmail is designed to: • Inform • Engage • Support health voices around climate, health and air quality solutions and influence public opinion.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our climate and health narrative work takes place in 13 cities around the globe: Istanbul; Hatay; Adana and Canakkale, Turkey Salt Lake City, USA London, UK Chennai, India Warsaw, Poland Sao Paulo, Brazil Exposing people to harmful levels of air pollution increases the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke. Children, the elderly and those already suffering from a disease are especially vulnerable. Climate change effects significant to humans include the threat to food security from decreasing crop yields and the abandonment of populated areas due to rising sea levels. Because the climate system has a large "inertia" and greenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere for a long time, many of these effects will persist for not only decades or centuries, but for tens of thousands of years to come. By working together with one voice we will advance both health and climate agenda's together impacting potentially millions of people.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Airmail will be the first global health communication network of its kind (innovative and experimental), and builds public support for climate solutions through a strategic constituency for climate action (health professionals). GCCA supports new voices in the climate debate by working with partner organizations to build campaigns tailor made for their audiences. Our vision is a world in which all people thrive in fair, sustainable, and resilient communities, made possible by a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels and other carbon pollution. GCCA marked its 10-year anniversary in 2017 by launching a new strategy for a new era. After a decade spent building pressure on governments to secure a global climate deal, we are moving out of the conference center, beyond the climate echo-chamber, and into the communities where the changes needed to achieve the hard-fought Paris Agreement actually have to happen.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Seasoned in global campaigns, mass mobilisations and strategic communications, GCCA works in partnership with organisations to help them realise the full potential of their work.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 2017, GCCA joined forces with the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) to launch the Unmask My City initiative, the inaugural campaign of our new strategy, inspired by the once in a generation health and climate opportunity created out of concern for escalating air pollution. Doctors and nurses are on the frontline and share the same goal as climate campaigners: to eliminate the emissions from vehicles and industry that are engulfing our streets and contributing to climate change.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

By bridging the health and climate narratives through ‘Airmail’ we aim to bridge planet and prosperity for generations to come. Air pollution is responsible for 6.5 million deaths annually, including 3 million from outdoor air pollution. By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, yet over 80% of people living in cities that monitor air pollution breathe air that exceeds WHO guidelines. Many sources of air pollution are also significant sources of climate pollutants, offering opportunities for win­win solutions. The health co­benefits of mitigation strategies that reduce urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions provide a powerful rationale for health sector action on climate change. Doctors, nurses and other health workers, globally, number over 40 million, and are the most trusted members in societies around the world. Together we can speak knowledgeably and with authority about health issues and climate solutions together.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Global Climate Call for Action (GCCA) will implement ‘Airmail’ in close partnership with the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) and international, national and city partners of Unmask My City and their networks. We have already worked together to deliver the global campaign Unmask My City and we plan to deepen our impact with your support. Our strategy is to harness this potential by working with civil society partners whose missions overlap with climate but who are not yet fully engaged in the movement. We can breathe fresh life into the global transition to a future safe from runaway climate change by using GCCA’s expertise and networks to help mobilize these new constituencies; the millions of people dedicated to advancing causes such as clean air, public health, food security. Human activities don't take place in a bubble – everything affects the world's climate.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Because we can speak knowledgeably and with authority about health issues, engaging health professionals as leaders and spokespeople to advocate for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is a powerful driver for public and decision ­maker support for climate mitigation ­air pollution work. As the evidence base and understanding of the health impacts of air pollution grow, increasingly doctors, nurses and other health professionals are speaking out about the issue.

Geographic Focus

We aim to build ‘Airmail’ with partners in 13 cities in 8 countries across the globe.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

12 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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