To have freedom to breathe, we must go fossil free

Freedom to Breathe has been set up by two asthmatic guys, both called Guy. (It’s a small world.)

Our message is simple. Burning fossil fuels worsens asthma and other respiratory diseases. To be able to breathe freely, we need to go fossil free.

There are millions of asthma sufferers in the UK, and millions more worldwide. Asthma has multiple causes, both genetic and environmental, and there are different treatments of varying effectiveness. But it’s clear that air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels worsens asthma attacks, and can contribute to the onset of asthma in the first place.

We can reduce air pollution with things like low-emission zones and tougher vehicle pollution standards. But whilst we still burn fossil fuels, we can never end air pollution. To get to the root of the problem, we have to ditch a transport system that’s hooked on oil and an energy system dependent on coal and gas. Instead, we need to electrify our cars, make space for safe cycling and walking, invest in electrified public transport and power up with clean energy. In short, our freedom to breathe depends on our country going fossil free.

The fossil fuel industry doesn’t want to hear this. The big oil companies, like Shell and BP, make their profits from selling petrol. Our oil-hungry, gas-guzzling, car-centred transport system is their bread and butter. For decades, Big Oil has lobbied against tougher vehicle pollution standards and has tried to kill off prospects for electric cars. If we’re to see a fundamental shift to an economy where we’re all free to breathe, Big Oil has got to go.

Freedom to Breathe has been set up to join the dots between fossil fuels, air pollution and respiratory diseases like asthma. We’ll be organising protests to call time on the fossil fuel industry, and say loud and clear – to be able to breathe freely, we need to go fossil free.

If you, too, have asthma – or another respiratory illness affected by air pollution – and want to see the UK go fossil free, please get in touch by emailing Freedomtobreathe2015@gmail.com.