Citizens Environment Alliance
May 1, 2003

CEA Gearing Up For SmogFest 2003

Windsor, Ontario - If Smog is any indicator of our area's economic success, then business is definitely booming!

On April 30, 2002, the "Clean Air" section of Environment Canada's website asserted: "The summer smog capital of Canada is Windsor, and it averages more than 30 smog advisory days a year." On March 17, 2003, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment measured a smog day in Windsor an indication the smog problem is worse than previously thought.

So, what do we do? Hold our breath for four, five, six months?

The Citizens Environment Alliance invites you to join us as we herald a new smog season. The first of May is the day typically recognized as the beginning of the Summer Smog Season in Ontario. Here at the CEA we like to think of the beginning of the Smog Season as a kind of New Year... so we're ringing it in with plenty of noise...


Studies show the dismal details of Windsorís health, and frustrated mothers of asthmatic children beg for answers and action. Apparently "economic progress" matters more than the peopleís will or their collective health. The trucks keep rolling, industries keep polluting.

Smogfest is far too relevant sadly, Windsor is the perfect venue for a festival of smog.

Smogfest 2003 itís an irreverent celebration of smog. Of course, weíd love it to be our last but weíre pretty sure this will continue as an annual event.

Smogfest Events (all of which are free and open to the public) include:

Smogfest Video Night, May 7 (Wed) at Room with a Cue, 255 Ouellette Ave, at 7 pm **This is a smoke-free event** Free Admission. Donations greatly appreciated. Free popcorn. Refreshments available.

videos include:

Blue Vinyl (2002) (96 mins) A film by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold
Prompted by her fatherís use of polyvinylchoride (PVC) siding to cover their home, filmmaker Judith Helfand examines the process by which PVC siding is manufactured, used, and disposed of. Through her journey, she discovers that PVC siding is extremely harmful in its production and disposal. With an unusually effective blend of humor, horror and hope, the film explores the impacts on human health and the environment of the vinyl manufacturing industry. The film is directed and produced by Judith Helfand and Dan Gold and won the Documentary Award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

The Air We Breathe (1996) (48 mins) A National Film Board of Canada Release
The Air We Breathe takes an incisive look at how certain political choices and socio-cultural forces have led to the growing crisis of air pollution and what steps certain cities are taking down the path for a cleaner, less-polluting transit system. Exposing the underlying folly of the post-war suburban dream, The Air We Breathe examines our addiction to the automobile, the environmental consequences of urban sprawl, and the damaging effects of commuter culture on both the air and our overall quality of life.

Smogfest Art Exhibition and Silent Auction, May 17 - 30 at Milk Coffee Bar, 68 University Ave. W. ***Silent auction ends at 9 pm on Friday, May 30***
Artists include: Mary Atkinson, Julie A. Bell, Bob Art, Leesa Bringas, Christine Burchnall, Kay Byrne, Michael Califano, Amanda Crawford, Rebecca Curran, Rahmi Dadwal, Viva Dadwal, Johnny Deck, Steve Gibb, Susan Gold, Laura Gould, Ken Grahame, Jeff Hasulo, Josephine Hazen, Magdalena Janka-Galea, Suzanne Konyha, Mark Laliberte, Margaret Lawrence, Lisa Liburdi, Grace Manias, Tony Mosna, Victor North, Michael Pavlov, Cindy Radix, Ken Roung, Kathleen Ross, Summer Ross, George Rizok, Denis Robillard, Jen Santos, Amy Sfalcin, Chris Shoust, John Sturcz, Gord Taylor, Yeqiang Wang, Marlene Westfall, Terrence Whalen, Holly Wolter and Michelle Young.

Come out and support local artists and the CEA!

Be sure to visit the Art Gallery of Windsor, 401 Riverside Dr. W. to view some of the Smogfest artwork by local artists inside the studio space (2nd Floor), and Smogfest Documentation display cases (located just outside of the studio space, 2nd Floor) until May 30, 2003.

Public Forum on Air Quality and Your Health, May 22 (Thurs), 7 - 9 pm at Bedford United Church Hall, 3340 Sandwich St. (entrance at side & parking located at rear)
Guest speakers include: Dr. Keith Stewart, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Dr. Thomas Barnard, MD in Essex County and Derek Coronado, CEA Research and Policy Coordinator discuss air quality issues on a local and international scale. Question period will follow. Light refreshments will be served.

Smogfest Artists talk at the AGW's Fridays Live! May 23 (Fri), 6:30 - 7 pm at Milk; 7 - 9 pm at AGW, 401 Riverside Dr. W. (in conjunction with the Re:Wind exhibition at the AGW)
Meet at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) at 6:30 pm for artistsí tour of the Smogfest exhibition. At 7:00 pm, make your way to the AGW, where youíll see presentations by Smogfest artists as well as more Smogfest artworks in the AGW studio. This evening also features live music by CEA member Harold Atkinson and a collaborative art activity that forges links between Smogfest and the Re: Wind exhibition.

Smogfest Parade/Demonstration, May 29 (Thurs), meet at 5:30 pm at the University of Windsorís School of Visual Art, Huron Church Road at College (southwest corner). Artists and environmentalists team up with concerned citizens to bring attention to air quality and related issues. Join us as we march against smog down the sidewalks of the NAFTA Superhighway.

Smogfest:The Final Gasp, closing reception, May 30 (Fri) from 7 pm - midnight at Milk Coffee Bar, 68 University Ave. W. **This is a smoke-free event** Silent art auction ends at 9:00 pm.
Festivities include: Critical Mass ride concludes at Milk Coffee Bar. Reading by poet Marilyn Dumont. Musical performance by duos Allison Brown and Erin Gignac, Nancy Drew and Rob Brun with special guest Krell Rayon, T-shirt giveaways, food, prizes!!!

Smog is a combination of ground-level ozone and fine airborne particles.

Ground-level ozone is a colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the earth's surface. It is produced when two primary pollutants react in sunlight and stagnant air. These two primary pollutants are nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ground-level ozone not only affects human health, it can damage vegetation and decrease the productivity of some crops.

Airborne particles are microscopic and remain suspended in the air for some time. Particles can be both primary pollutants and secondary pollutants, sent directly into the atmosphere in the form of windblown dust and soil, pollen and spores. Secondary particles are formed through chemical reactions involving nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, VOCs and ammonia. Numerous studies have linked particulate matter (PM) to aggravated cardiac and respiratory (heart and lung) diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema and to various forms of heart disease. Children and the elderly, as well as people with respiratory disorders such as asthma, are particularly susceptible to health effects caused by PM.

Scientists now understand that there is no "threshold," or safe level, for exposure to PM or ground-level ozone. Further, PM and ground level ozone are not limited to urban areas; their presence is widespread throughout North America.

"The bottom line is there's no comfort level. What you can see does hurt you. But what you can't see hurts you as well." -Dr. Ted Boadway of the Ontario Medical Association.

For more information about Smogfest events, or to arrange an interview with artists or performers, contact:

Leesa Bringas
Director of Development and Administration,
Citizens Environment Alliance
(519) 973-1116