GIVING DAY PAYS FOR INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

by jim on September 20, 2018

We don’t have an home office
in Austin, or Washington, or NYC.

Our only office is right here in DFW.

We  don’t have a national agenda.

We have local agendas that have national impacts.

 

 

CLICK HERE
TO SECURELY CONTRIBUTE TO DOWNWINDERS

 


What Your Giving Day Contribution Pays For

 

Institutional Change:

 

Creation of the North Texas Clean Air Network

For almost two years Downwinders has been working with local government officials and area university scientists to create a better, faster, denser, and more useful air monitoring network for DFW than the one the state and EPA currently operate.
That network, called the North Texas Clean Air Network, has been endorsed by the City of Plano and Dallas County. This coming Monday the 24th, a Dallas City Council Committee will vote on whether Big D should join as well.
Building this alternative to the status quo involved lots of moving parts. Technical and political. It meant we had to sit down and draft founding legal documents, get the language vetted by city and county lawyers, and the make sure we had the technical chops to deliver.

But we also wanted to make sure it would be a tool for citizen empowerment, so we insisted on having public and public health advocate seats on the board overseeing the new network.

Each governing entity joining the network appoints a staff person or elected official. But they also appoint a public representative as well.

Because it wasn’t enough just to win a new network. We also wanted to win a new system of decision-making about air monitoring.  A system that was more responsive to citizens because it put them at the table instead of in the audience.
If there’s one critical difference between Downwinders and most other green groups, it’s that we know process is as important as policy. You can improve policy, but the really lasting changes occur when you also change the process itself. When you commit institutional change on behalf of citizens. 

This new independent network will eventually supersede the obsolete system currently run by the state and federal government. It’ll become the default way DFW residents check their air. It’ll bring challenges and changes to environmental enforcement, zoning and land use planning, and even the timing of traffic lights. It gives citizens and local governments a powerful new tool.

It’s the only project of its kind in Texas.

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