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The CleanAirNow Association is an environmental and climate justice organization dedicated to improving air quality in Kansas City and the surrounding region, particularly in communities suffering the greatest health burden, and to preventing and mitigating disease caused by air pollution and climate change.

CleanAirNow was born out of community concerns around fossil fuel, industrial, toxic air pollution and environmental health inequities at the fenceline. Building community power through environmental health education, equitable community based research projects, and community led solutions in public policy to improve public health.


What exactly does CAN do?

From the start, CleanAirNow has sought to disrupt and dismantle the environmental racism that impacts communities in Kansas City and the surrounding region. Unfortunately, the communities that are least responsible for the climate crisis are being hit the hardest by the effects of air pollution.

The organization is focused in developing action plans that incorporate research-based information, workshops and training to build community power and improve community health and affect change through public policies, local, state and federal level.

Why become a member?

CleanAirNow strives to be a member-led organization. By becoming an Air Protector or Climate Warrior of the Kansas City metro area, you can play an active role in helping your community achieve environmental justice. CAN aims to build a relationship with the community members that inspires the ability within each of us to fight for justice. Through collective action, we strive to build a movement that embodies climate justice and achieves racial justice.


What can you do as a member?

Those with a CleanAirNow membership play an integral role in participating in community led projects, campaigns, and research projects. Members can participate in monthly meetings and learn about the important work that affects their own communities, engage in volunteer opportunities, and attend community workshops supporting our local and national policy campaigns.

Other membership opportunities include supporting and sharing our work about on environmental health and air quality education, which can lead to community-guided solutions in public policy at the local, state and federal level.

Members can also assist at environmental or health promotion events, attend educational outreach sessions, help with the maintenance of our monitors, and represent CleanAirNow at health events and conferences.

The membership aims to support CleanAirNow work to

1) Dismantle root causes of climate change.

2) Become eligible for stipends and resources during our national campaign work.

3) Participate and inform our proposed project priorities

4) Attend and participate in our national gatherings or activities.

5) Have access to tools and technologies such as personal exposure monitoring equipment and portable pollution monitors.

How can I sign up for a membership?

It’s an easy process!

First, fill out this form with your contact information. We ask for a donation to help CAN run its daily operations and create a sense of commitment between the organization and members.

This requirement must be fulfilled yearly, but it is not meant to keep members from signing up. If members are unable to donate (as much as they can commit to), they have the ability to commit to the organization through service instead. This can be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you would like to share?  Or contact us at

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Atenas Mena

Atenas Mena is the Environmental Health Director and shares a co-leadership role at CleanAirNow. Atenas was born and raised in Kansas City and is a proud first-generation Mexican American. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Avila University in 2014 and went on to receive her master’s in nursing leadership from Missouri Western State University in 2019.

In addition to working as a nurse, Atenas received extensive environmental health training in the field, working with the Children’s Mercy Environmental Health Program team, as both an educator and a team coordinator. She has worked continuously throughout the last few years with CleanAirNow through boots-on-the-ground projects, served on the board of directors, and has recently transitioned into the current leadership role as Environmental Health Director. Atenas centers her work around reducing health inequities, educating communities on environmental health impacts, and empowering community members to have a voice and fight for equity and environmental justice.

Atenas recently received The Sapling Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment and leadership in environmental health nursing. This Award seeks to recognize a nurse leader who goes beyond everyday nursing endeavors to actively promote and protect environmental and human health and advance environmental justice.

Beto Lugo Martinez

Beto is an environmental justice organizer and co-executive director of CleanAirNow. He serves to raise community voices in the fight against environmental racism and to overcome the systemic exclusion of frontline communities from the decision-making process. His lived experience, growing up fenceline to a petrochemical facility continues to drive his work at the intersection of climate, environmental justice, and public health. He is a founding member of the California Environmental Justice Coalition, Co-Founder of La Union Hace La Fuerza, a farmworker justice organization and member of national CJ & EJ networks including the EJ Leadership Forum, Building Equity and Alignment (BEA) and the National Leadership Advisory Board Member of the Moving Forward Network.

Beto’s contributions to the movement include organizing, legislation that prioritizes environmental justice and community-led research amongst many other community-engaged initiatives that directly inform state policy. He has co-authored multiple academic publications on community-based participatory research, air pollution, data accessibility, and community engagement. In August 2023 was invited to continue serving through 2025 as a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, to represent a grassroots frontline perspective. He also serves in advisory board roles of professional associations and academic institutions, such as the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity, Children’s Environmental Health Sciences Translational Research at USC, Community Engagement Core of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center at USC, Health Effects Institute Environmental Justice Advisory Group and USC MPH Public Health Advisory Board Member for the Trojan Scholars for Advancement in Public Health.

Beto is currently involved in a research project titled “Building Momentum to Bridge Climate and Health Across KU Campuses and the Community supported by the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative, The Commons, and the Office of Research at the University of Kansas.”