Category - Advocacy

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Enter spring! Prime time for environmental advocacy
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Environmental Film Fest screens Project Wild Thing, concludes this weekend
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Real Food for Kids brings young chef competition to Williams-Sonoma
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Clean air advocates take their message to Richmond, U.S. asthma capital
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How clean is our air? Virginia Mama Summit wants it cleaner!
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Environmental educators convene at newly renovated Marshall High School
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Moms keep up the fight against climate change and for clean air
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Gearing up for World Breastfeeding Week
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Hundreds flock to Play-In for Climate Action
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Climate action play-in during EPA hearings on Clean Power Plan

Enter spring! Prime time for environmental advocacy

What a relief to have some warm temperatures and sunshine to start off the week. It was no fun to have such a warm day last Thursday and then shiver back into our winter coats again on Friday. This week is spring break for many around our area. Others’ breaks will start on Friday. If you’re anything like me, the biggest “break” about a break from school is not having to cook so much that you have enough leftovers to send in your child’s lunch the next day! I normally feel like I could never hack it as a homeschooler, but whenever I get a break on food prep, I can see the appeal!

Still, there are a lot of reasons why I have my children in public school, and one of them is because I want to be an agent for change and an advocate for healthy living for all children. Next week, two events will showcase efforts to expand the reach of gardening and nutrition programs and outdoor learning in Northern Virginia.

Growing Green Schools is a first-time event in Arlington to showcase gardening and nutrition efforts in Arlington Public Schools and out-of-school time programs for children. Read More

Environmental Film Fest screens Project Wild Thing, concludes this weekend

When I heard that Julie Hantman, DC field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, was going to be on a discussion panel after the March 21 screening of Project Wild Thing at the 2015 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital and I watched the trailer, I knew it was a must that I attend. The film is about a man whose children spend a lot of time inside and in front of screens, and he takes it upon himself to become the “marketing director for nature.”

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Real Food for Kids brings young chef competition to Williams-Sonoma

Parents who care about Real Food couldn’t have asked for a better display of enthusiasm for cooking than that shown by the poised and skilled young chefs who participated in the finals of the Real Food for Kids “KIDS COOK” competition Saturday. The six contestants, children in grades 4-8, took turns claiming the kitchen at the Clarendon Williams-Sonoma to whip up their own creations in front of a huge crowd.

The winner of the competition was Haven Clare Townsend, a 6th grader at White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, Virginia, with Thai Shrimp Noodles with Broccoli including homemade oyster sauce using gluten-free Tamari and organic ramen noodles.

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Clean air advocates take their message to Richmond, U.S. asthma capital

At the Virginia Mama Summit, the first of the 2015 clean air advocacy Mama Summits organized by Moms Clean Air Force around the U.S., red-shirted moms and green-shirted grannies took to the halls of the Virginia General Assembly to tell state legislators why clean air mattered to them.

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How clean is our air? Virginia Mama Summit wants it cleaner!

It’s probably no surprise to anyone living here that the air quality in the Washington DC area is poor; it gets a grade of F in ground-level ozone (smog) from the American Lung Association, putting the Metro DC among the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities in the ozone category. This matters to every living being, but especially to small children whose bodies are more acutely affected by inhaled toxins. Organizations like the American Lung Association and others advocating for healthy air quality describe breathing smog-filled air as “getting a sunburn on your lungs.”

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Environmental educators convene at newly renovated Marshall High School

Leaders of Northern Virginia’s environmental education scene met last week to discuss recent renovations and sustainability initiatives taken at George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax County and to discuss plans for a possible statewide environmental education organization.

Members of the leadership team of NoVA Outside, an alliance of environmental educators, took a student-led tour of the school and its green features. The school’s student environmental organizations, Earth Force and the Native Species Club, sponsored by Barbara Brown have been busy for years on environmental initiatives and were successful at getting several environmental features and design components worked into the renovation.

Marshall High School Fairfax tour of environmental features with Elaine Tholen of NoVA Outside

NoVA Outside leadership team member Elenor Hodges shared some of the sustainability components that were worked into Marshall’s recent renovation. Hodges, a member of the Arlington Public Schools Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and also the director of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment said, “I was really impressed with what they had accomplished, specifically with the student-driven projects and the excitement and engagement of the students. It was very apparent that these were students who had come up with these ideas. I was inspired, and I hope that we can learn how to take a lot of what Arlington focuses on in LEED certification and take it to the level of using student leadership and student ideas.”

Marshall High School Fairfax tour of environmental features - Statesman Spring- with NoVA Outside

The best example at Marshall, Hodges said, was a green roof. A student who has since graduated wanted a green roof to be in a very visible location even if students did not have access to the roof. During the renovation, this was made possible. The money needed to install and expand the green roof was raised by students. The students who led the tour talked about what it does to reduce the school’s stormwater impact but also noted the fact that it’s a visible project that students can see every day. The students did the design, planning and fundraising for this and other projects. Hodges said Marshall has great examples of student initiatives as well as greenovation.

Hodges said there was also lots of student engagement with the two courtyards they viewed on the tour. One of which was a modern space for which, after the renovations, students in the Native Species Club designed a complementary landscape plan using native plants. One feature is this herb spiral that helps drain water down the courtyard.

Marshall High School Fairfax tour of environmental features - herb spiral

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Moms keep up the fight against climate change and for clean air

Climate change has been all over the news in recent months, and moms are leading the charge. This summer, Moms Clean Air Force, the country’s largest group of moms working on climate change with over 400,000 members, organized a play-in on the Capitol in early July and later that month brought the same energy to a rally supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Recently, the Keystone XL Pipeline failed in the US Senate. This is good news, says MCAF. If passed, the Keystone XL Pipeline would have dramatically increased production of Canadian tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. MCAF argues that approval of the pipeline would have endangered our country, our children’s health, and the lives of many, all while worsening our dependance on fossil fuels and accelerating climate change. The issue is now to be decided by the Obama administration.

But the fight continues. On Monday, December 1, Moms Clean Air Force staff and volunteers, including local mom Jessica Huntdelivered 175,000 comments to the EPA to ask for the strongest possible regulations on carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan. Right now, there are no limits on the amount of carbon that can be released from coal fired plants. Our children’s health is depending on us to protect them from carbon emissions that pollute the air they breathe and lead to our warming planet.

MCAF Dec. 1 EPA

But the Clean Power Plan is under attack in most every state legislature next year with model legislation designed to kill or gut the carbon rules. MCAF is calling on its members to join the group in demanding that states work to protect our children and communities from toxic air pollution and climate change.

An easy way to learn about local events and actions on climate change and clean air is to request to join the Facebook group for Moms Clean Air Force DC, the Facebook group for the Maryland MCAF chapter, and the Facebook group for the Virginia MCAF chapter.

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Gearing up for World Breastfeeding Week

With World Breastfeeding Week upon us, there are events aplenty here in the DC area to show your support for breastfeeding, to learn, and to win some great prizes as well!

The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington is hosting four events, described in detail at http://breastfeedingcenter.org/support-us/wbw2014/. They include the second annual Breastfival Friday, August 1, 2-6 p.m., The Big Latch-On Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (arrive at 10:00) and a screening of the new film, The Milky Way at 11:00

Be sure to register ahead for Friday’s Breastival Festival, sponsored by Lansinoh. I was amazed at the turnout last year with over 100 mamas enjoying delicious snacks and soaking up the positive vibe of the renovated space, which, since I took my first child there, has dramatically expanded its store, upgraded its downstairs facilities and added another room upstairs, which is now hosting regular yoga classes.

Breastfeeding-Center-for-Greater-Washington-Breastival-5

The action will mostly be in the Center at 2141 K St NW, Washington, DC 20037. There will be food and fun, including baby footprints and handprints. Additionally, the waiting room at Children’s Pediatrics will be used as a toddler playroom, and in nearby Washington Circle Park, participants can enjoy babywearing demos and Q&A with the Center’s babywearing instructore Clare Branson between 3:00 and 5:00, prenatal yoga with Manisha Tare of Falling Leaf 2:30-3:30 and Mommy & Baby yoga with Alleah Clark of Embrace DC.

Raffle tickets are 3 for $5, 10 for $10 and 25 for $20. There are some amazing items including lots of nursing gear and clothing, photography sessions, massages and bodywork, and food. It’s enough to make you want to get pregnant all over again if you’re not already! Check the complete list of raffle items here. The drawing will happen at 5:30.

Breastfeeding-Center-for-Greater-Washington-Breastival-4

All the proceeds from the event will be used to create new free classes including a new support group and additional classes in other areas in the Metro DC area. They Center would like to duplicate the very popular Tuesday class for moms with babies 0-4 months, a class that has saved many a mama (including this one!) and spawned longtime friendships.

The Center was founded in 1997 by lactation consultant Pat Shelley. It moved to its current location in 2003 and expanded in 2012. Parking in the building garage is likely to fill, so, if you don’t take Metro or find a metered spot on the street, consider the lot on L Street at 22nd (cash only) or the lot on 21st between K and Pennsylvania.

This is the Center’s first year doing a Latch-On, during which moms will nurse for one minute at precisely 10:30 a.m. in locations around the world and be counted. Register for the event ahead and get your tickets for the 11:00 screening of new documentary The Milky Way at the nearby West End Cinemas. (If you miss the film this time, there’s another screening in Alexandria the evening of August 14).

On Tuesday, August 5, head over (after the conclusion of 1:00 support group if you want to walk en masse) to a celebration 1:30-3:30 at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and enjoy snacks and swag!

If you’re across the river in Virginia and further south, the second annual Big Latch-On in Woodbridge will also be on Saturday, August 2 at 10:30 (arrive at 10:00). The event is being organized by Anna Burmeister Rademaker, founder of Little Green Cabbages, a support community for “greenish” parents in Woodbridge. A lactation consultant and childbirth educator, Anna is passionate about sharing information, empowering parents, and spreading the word about breastfeeding.

There are several great vendors lined up for this event, taking place at Lake Ridge Park Marina, including The Farm Table, Whim Pops natural popsicles, BirthCare and Women’s Health, and more. Proceeds from the vendor tables will benefit ACTS Emergency Shelter, and proceeds from raffle tickets will go to Gar-Field High School for its program that allows teen moms to complete their education with the help of an on-site nursery.

big latch on woodbridge

Preceding the official Latch-On on Saturday will be a “flash mob” Latch On Friday morning at 10:30 (arrive at 10:00) in the Potomac Mills Mall playground (in neighborhood 2, near TJ Maxx). For details on both events, see the event Facebook page and click “See More.”

And if you’re looking for a from-a-distance way to connect with your inner nursing goddess, or if you want a good laugh about other moms trials and tribulations with breastfeeding, enter the Goodreads giveaway for the anthology Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding. I’ve got an essay in the collection about what my nearly three-year-old had to say about my breasts after jogging and another about my first (somewhat thwarted) attempt to for a retreat of just a few hours when he was a baby.

I’m so grateful to the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington for helping me get through those early nursing challenges so that I could go on to breastfeed my son for three years (see us illustrating the word “Toddler” on the wonderful “Nursing Our Future” video from Holistic Moms Network) and to then confidently nurse my daughter when she came along a year after that.

Hundreds flock to Play-In for Climate Action

As if the July 9 Play-In for Climate Action on the Hill weren’t enough to inspire an environmentalist parent, Moms Clean Air Force, along with a host of environmental and faith allies, organized another impressive event on July 29 during the EPA hearings on its Clean Power Plan.

Sure, one result may have been for parents like me to get religion on the importance of the plan, but of course the real goal of the July 29 Play-In at Federal Triangle was to show the government how much public support there is for action to clean up the air address climate change.

The Play-In brought out more than 300 people from all around the DC Metro area and many other states besides to call on the government to support limits on power plant emissions. The plan would cut carbon pollution from existing fossil-fuel power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

At the press conference, the array of speakers addressing problems with human health and the health of sea life and forests was truly impressive and included several VIPs who had just testified or would be testifying later that day. These speakers included Delaware Governor Jack Markell; Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Cindy Parker, MD, MPH, Board Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Senator Ed Markey (D-­MA); Cristóbal J. Alex, President, Latino Victory Project; Mark Magaña, President and Founder, Green Latinos; and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. The event was emceed enthusiastically by Terra Pascarosa, Virginia field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

The closing speaker was New Jersey Moms Clean Air Force field organizer Trisha Sheehan with her 8-year-old son Logan, a duo that would be testifying later that day. Together, they asked, “What do we want?” to which the crowd answered, “Clean air!”

Trisha and Logan Moms Clean Air Force EPA

The bookend performances of the band Emma’s Revolution ignited the crowd at the outset and, after the speeches had concluded, sent everyone off with hope and inspiration. And with a fabulous rendition of “This Land is Your Land!”
Sunny and Erika Trippel with Emma's Revolution EPA ActonClimate rally

It was a morning to feel lucky to get to demonstrate and participate in democracy.

Trisha reports that, later that day, she delivered to the EPA the banner pictured above with another New Jersey family, Nancy Kunz-Merry and her son, Jack, and then she and Logan delivered their testimony.

Trisha Sheehan EPA testimony

Logan had his own ask that he was adamant about adding at the end: “Please help Moms Clean Air Force and bring back clean air.”

To view the hearings, go to http://www.c-span.org/video/?320725-1/epa-public-hearing-clean-power-proposal

For more on the July 29 rally, read my report on TheDCMoms.com.

I was also inspired to reflect on my own role as mother and activist on my personal blog, Crunchy-Chewy Mama, where you’ll find more photos and some of the rally quotes that moved me the most.

Climate action play-in during EPA hearings on Clean Power Plan

The DC Area gets a failing grade on air quality, but air pollution isn’t just unhealthy to breathe; it threatens our children’s future. That’s why Moms Clean Air Force is calling for government action to limit climate change.

On July 9, Moms Clean Air Force held a historic “Play-In for Climate Action” along with 200 moms, dads and kids, in Washington, DC.

It was so much fun, they’re doing it again! This time, the event is taking place while the Environmental Protection Agency will be holding hearings about the proposed Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The goal of the action is to make public support for the plan visible. Similar actions are being planned for Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Denver where more hearings are being held.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 pinwheel

On Tuesday, July 29, Moms Clean Air Force is holding its second Play-In for Climate Action with many partners, including Virginia Conservation Network, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, American Lung Association, Clean Water Action, and Environment Virginia.

This outdoor, family-friendly protest and press conference will feature a festival atmosphere. Kids will enjoy playing with an Earth parachute, inflatable globes, pinwheels, sign-making, free ice cream, and more.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 parachute

Activities for the July 29 event begin at 10:00 a.m. with the press conference at 10:30 and short rally to follow its conclusion at 11:00 a.m.

The location is Federal Triangle, near the William Jefferson Clinton East Bldg., 1201 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington DC.

Organizers ask that you register ahead of time so they can plan the appropriate number of red shirts (and water bottles!). Register for the Play-In at  http://www.momscleanairforce.org/play-in-climate-action and join the Facebook event .

If you’d like to testify during the public hearings, email ASAP to Terra, tpascarosa@momscleanairforce.org.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 attendee

Questions? Want to help out in other ways on the 29th?  Contact Julie at jhantman (at) momscleanairforce (dot) org.

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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