Air Quality and Climate Change Adaptation

Air is an easy thing for people to take for granted.  Sometimes we forget it’s the only thing we touch externally and take internally for every minute of our lives after birth.  Climate change and air quality go hand in hand.  Many studies clearly show that certain air pollution emissions have the ability to create a “greenhouse effect” that traps heat within the earth’s atmosphere rather than allowing radiant heat to escape into space.  Other than contributing to climate change, air pollutants can cause health problems for plants, humans, and most other living things.

Air Quality Program Purpose:

  • Protect the quality of ambient air on the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Reservation and surrounding airshed for the health and wellbeing of resident tribal, non-tribal, and ecologic communities.

Air Quality Program Goals:

  • To establish LTBB as a proactive entity in local and regional air quality issues and decision-making.
  • To assess and track the ambient air quality conditions for the LTBB airshed, including the Reservation and surrounding 25 mile radius airshed.
  • To facilitate tribal community knowledge of air quality issues and action toward pollutant emissions reductions.
  • To Support the development of the LTBB Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Some of the projects taken on by the Air Quality Program include an emissions inventory, tracking and promoting energy efficiency, and the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

The emissions inventory is a document that logs and describes the most significant sources of air pollution on the LTBB Reservation and the area within 25 miles of the Reservation boundary.  Future updates of the inventory will be useful in determining how air quality might change over time.  This type of documentation is also useful in determining if the program needs to focus efforts on any certain source or pollutant.

Energy efficiency is vital in reducing air pollution.  Most of our electricity is still generated by coal, which contributes more greenhouse gasses than transportation or industry.  Many coal power plants are being replaced with cleaner burning natural gas power plants.  However, increased natural gas use leads to more fracking and a whole different set of environmental concerns.  The Air Quality program tracks the energy efficiency of LTBB owned facilities in hopes that reductions can be accomplished.  Alternative energy use is also promoted by providing technical support on the feasibility and effectiveness of technologies like solar and wind power.

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan should help LTBB maintain their culture and the quality of their natural resources through times of climate change.  Culture has a potential to change as resources with traditional uses are lost due to a changing climate.  This plan aims to prepare the community and minimize any negative affect of this change