Clean Air

 

Gianfranco Rosolia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine living without clean air.

For the people who lived on the doorstep of Monkton Coke Works, their daily reality was a horrendous nightmare of hazardous and acrid sulphur dioxide emissions, all-pervading soot, and clamorous tannoys. Over decades, the facility grew unflaggingly, converting ever-increasing quantities of coal into coke without concern for the residents’ well-being. In forming the Hebburn Residents’ Action Group, Jennie Shearan united and empowered the underrepresented residents of Monkton Lane Estate, and gave them a voice, igniting a national dialogue about the health risks from the pollution that her neighbourhood had to endure.

CLEAN AIR is an exhilarating memento of the lengths that Jennie Shearan went to in order to secure environmental equity for her community. It is a David and Goliath account of a fearless working class woman who put it all on the line and left no stone unturned in her uncompromising fight for the right to clean air.

While the events in the book took place in the North East of England over thirty years ago, there is a timeless and universal resonance to the challenges that Jennie Shearan had to overcome during her extraordinary campaign for environmental justice. She battled a negligent big energy firm that prioritised profit over people, governmental bodies that lacked accountability, and institutional sexism. Jennie put it all on the line and took on all levels of the establishment, from British Coal to Thatcher's government, galvanising her underrepresented town and bringing her case all the way to the European Parliament.

Throughout her arduous journey, she was brave, steadfast, and sincere, demonstrating a level of resourcefulness and tenacity that would inspire any leader, the capacity to corral a group around a single-minded vision that any politician could learn from, and a degree of resilience that can energise us all.

CLEAN AIR illustrates the countless sacrifices and bold choices that Jennie made, the effectiveness of grassroots activism and people power, and the beauty of leaving behind a better world for future generations.


All proceeds to charity

 

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