WHYY: So what’s the climate change/asthma connection?

By Alan Yu

Breathtaking (Alison Kenner)“Asthma is really about atmosphere … It’s not just about what’s happening in the individual body, but it’s about what we are breathing, and our breathing spaces are collective,” Kenner says.

Kenner has been studying the experiences of people with asthma since 2009 and recently wrote a book called “Breathtaking: Asthma Care in the time of Climate Change.”

“Climate change is really pushing the issue here. Historically, at least since the 1980s when the asthma epidemic emerged here in the U.S., public health researchers, caregivers, doctors, have talked about addressing asthma in terms of triggers. These are singular things: mold, pollen, dander, air pollution, cold air, exercise … but those aren’t really how we live. We don’t live through singular things,” she says.

Kenner hopes her work will get policymakers to pay attention and push them toward stricter regulations around air quality and air pollution.