Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

February 28 – March 28
Nightly at Sunset


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Evening Programming particle falls


March 3 - Bike Night
Clean Air Carolina will host a Bike Night at the dramatic outdoor light installation, Particle Falls, on Tuesday, March 3 at 9:00 PM. (Rain date is March 10.) Plaza Midwood’s Tuesday Night Ride will visit the venue at UNC Charlotte Center City Building’s facade facing the Blue Line. Other cyclists and cycling groups are urged to participate. Particle Falls is a public art exhibit that translates real-time particle pollution data into an animated light display, revealing the invisible dangers in the air we breathe. Cyclists are especially at risk because of their repeated exposure to tailpipe emissions. For more information email [email protected]

March 3, 9:00pm
UNC Charlotte Center City

March 13 - Sustainable Development
Panel discussion with Peter Plastrik, co-author of Life After Carbon: The Next Global Transformation of Cities, Taiwo Jaiyeoba, Charlotte Planning Director, Brad Bartholomew, Odell, and Liz McCormick and Brook Muller, UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture.

March 13, 6:30pm-8:30pm
UNC Charlotte Center City
Lecture Hall

*Sponsored by Odell, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Charlotte, and Urban Land Institute.

March 16 - MAHA Meeting/Particle Falls Viewing
Join Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (MAHA) members to view Particle Falls, the acclaimed national art exhibit on air pollution, and learn about an exciting new educational initiative for Charlotte MAHA members.

March 16, 6:30pm
UNC Charlotte Center City
Room 303


*MAHA Meeting will be 6:30pm-7:30pm with a viewing of Particle Falls to follow.

March 20 - Active Transportation
Panel Discussion with Shannon Binns, Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte, Terry Lansdell, Executive Director, BikeWalk NC, and others.

March 20, 6:30pm-8:30pm
UNC Charlotte Center City
Room 1104

March 27 - Environmental Justice
Panel Discussion with Deb Thomas, Chair, UNC Charlotte Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and others.

March 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm
UNC Charlotte Center City
Room 1104

Co-sponsored by UNC Charlotte’s Department of Public Health Sciences, the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, and the Urban Institute with support from the Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund.


about particle falls


How does it work?
The PARTICLE FALLS animation is generated by translating real-time particulate matter data from the surrounding air into imagery, using specialized computer software designed by the artist Andrea Polli. The particulate sensing is done using a nephelometer, a scientific instrument that takes in air samples and gathers data about the concentration of particle pollution. A computer program transforms the particulate data into visual bursts of bright color over a background of falling blue light. The more dots of color you see, the more particles there are in the air you’re breathing. The visualization updates with new air data in real time.

Notice what happens to PARTICLE FALLS when a diesel-powered or gasoline vehicle comes along. Compare that to a passing bicycle. How about an idling car? Or compare the number of particles on a clear day versus a hazy day. Wind patterns will also make unexpected real-time changes. This work emphasizes the fragility and unstable nature of our Earth’s atmosphere and the human role in increasing that instability.

What is particulate matter?
Fine particulate matter is a form of air pollution that occurs year-round and is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets, the smallest measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter – just 1/30th the width of a human hair.  While larger particles known as soot affect your health, it is the tiny, fine particulate matter which is far more dangerous to your health because it can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. Toxic gases also can “hitchhike” into your body on fine particles.  Sources of particle pollution in Charlotte include cars, trucks, diesel buses and construction equipment, landscaping tools, agriculture, industrial facilities, power plants, biomass, and residential wood burning.

Your Health and Particulate Matter
There is no safe level of particulate matter. These particles are so small that our lungs cannot cough them out. North Carolina’s air quality has improved in the past few years due to a strong regulatory environment. However, fine particle pollution – at any level – is linked to a long list of serious health problems including asthma, heart and lung disease, cancer, adverse birth outcomes and even premature death.

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