Something is in the Air

SITA is an award-winning ongoing project that received recognition by the California Governor’s Office (GEELA Awards in 2012). 

Since then, we have worked to deliver the SITA curriculum to dozens of public high schools, involving thousands of students and over 100 teachers.

The SITA(Something is in the Air) teams work to deliver air quality related curriculum at several public high school campuses, supporting the engagement of the local communities in the East Bay that live in areas of high air pollution. 

SITA’s goal is to build awareness on the causes of climate and its impact on human health. The SITA curriculum uses new approaches to environmental justice issues via the development of team-based service-learning actions both on and off-campus.

The current project sites are located in Richmond and San Pablo, both AB 617 communities. Richmond for example faces environmental justice issues directly related to air quality and asthma incidence that SITA has documented in the past.

The project uses the Transportation Action Project (TAP) calculator developed for Earth Team by Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in 2010.

Using TAP, the teams can assess school commutes Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) GHG emissions, and use this data as a baseline to map pollution sources and design and propose mitigation actions based on active and alternative transportation methods. 

SITA also has recently incorporated awareness and actions to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic consumption on greenhouse emissions and climate change.

The SITA leadership teams work to educate and engage their campuses and surrounding communities on vehicle use related pollution, toxic carcinogens as well as the growing single-use plastic consumption and its impact on CO2 emissions and GHG warming effects.It is estimated that PET plastic production in the US is equivalent to the emissions of 92 million vehicles in one year.

By working with the SITA project the interns learn about air quality issues, collect data using tools like drone-based air quality monitors, and are capable to better understand and disseminate the impacts of various transportation methods and the use of plastics on climate change.