Home & Garden

Clean air is his life’s work

Air pollution was visible in Charlotte’s skyline in 2002.
Air pollution was visible in Charlotte’s skyline in 2002. OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

So much of what we do every day weighs on the region’s air quality, Terry Lansdell says.

If we make good choices, pollution levels can drop. When we’re less conscientious, we’ll be left to breathe air that’s not always so healthy for us.

Lansdell spends a good deal of time working to find solutions for improving air quality. For more than 20 years, he’s been an advocate for bicycle programs, public transportation, responsible development and public policies that support clean air.

For that reason, Sustain Charlotte recently picked Lansdell for the Outstanding Leader award.

Lansdell, 49, program director for Clean Air Carolina, is grateful for the recognition but says there’s still much work to do to reverse the region’s chronic air pollution problem.

Pollution, for example, contributes to asthma, health experts say. It also can be damaging to wildlife, trees and crops.

“We have not attained the healthy air standard as defined by the federal government for decades,” he said. “We have just reached the 2008 standard this year, in 2015.”

Thanks to bike lanes and other improvements, Lansdell can safely ride his bicycle to work, from Dilworth to Tyvola and Old Pineville roads. But he knows too many others can’t do the same.

“We want sidewalks and bike lanes in every community, not just one or two,” said Lansdell. “We need to make it safe for every child who attends a neighborhood school to walk and bike to school.”

Karen’s blog: www.charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com.