Moms Clean Air Force is organizing its fourth annual Play-In for Climate Action on Thursday, July 13. This family-friendly advocacy opportunity includes fun climate-themed activities for kids followed by a press conference with lawmakers and advocates for children’s health and the environment. Read More
Since the recent papal encyclical on climate change from Pope Francis, many people are thinking about climate action as a moral question. Next week, mothers, children, activists, and lawmakers will raise their collective voices toward their commitment to address climate change at Moms Clean Air Force’s Play-In for Climate Action, on Tuesday morning, July 7 on Capitol Hill grounds. Read More
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.”
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 Hunt, delivered 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.
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.
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!”
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Want to help out in other ways on the 29th? Contact Julie at jhantman (at) momscleanairforce (dot) org.
Northern Virginia mother of two Heather Clark is so serious about climate change that she’s organized a day of play to draw attention to it! On Wednesday, July 9, parents concerned about the effect air pollution is having on climate change will join Moms Clean Air Force for a Play-In for Climate Action on the Hill to raise awareness and demand action from politicians.
I had the chance to chat with Heather to learn more about how this event came about. As principal of the Biome Studio, Heather has long been passionate about sustainability. Her work is involved in visionary projects that start to change the places we live and the way those places behave with an eye toward zero energy communities.
Heather says, “We currently have the knowledge to redesign the places where we live so that they can power themselves with renewable energy, clean themselves with plants and micro-organisms, produce food organically, and provide habitat. This is the type of work I do – I have firsthand experience that it is possible. By overcoming climate change, we will solve other problems in the process – toxic waste, air pollution, water pollution, habitat destruction, etc. As a society, we just need the vision and will.”
After Heather had her second child, now two years old, she spent more time researching climate change in particular. In February 2013, Heather attended her first protest since she was a teenager, the “Forward on Climate Rally” in Washington, DC organized by 350.org, an organization that has led global climate action events since 2009. She brought her children, aged 1 and 3 at the time, in a double stroller with a sleeping bag with a sign that read, “We need a future. Please! Stop dumping carbon.”
When Heather got loads of attention from photographers, NPR, and other reporters because of her children, she saw the promise of parents getting together around climate change.
Inspired by sit-ins for civil rights, Heather mulled the idea over for an organized action around climate change, initially envisioning something in Congressional buildings. “It’s hard not to notice kids playing in a government space,” she says, adding that she hopes Wednesday’s Play-In for Climate Action will be replicated by informal groups across the country of parents and their friends. Wednesday’s event took off after a friend of Heather’s at the Natural Resources Defense Council pointed Heather to Moms Clean Air Force, which got very excited and ran with the idea.
“I have tended to be fairly quiet about sharing my thoughts about climate change, until now. As a mother of two toddlers, I realized that creating a smaller carbon footprint at home is not enough. I am deeply concerned about what the world will look like in 2045 when my children are my age and having children of their own. Climate change threatens our food supply, our homes, our safety, and most importantly, the health of our children.
I first learned about climate change in seventh grade. Then I studied climate change in college, but it seemed so abstract and futuristic that I had a hard time believing it would happen. Somewhere between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, climate change became very real for me. Those storms prompted me to read climate change reports from the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed by the United Nations, the Pentagon, NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, The U.S. National Climate Assessment and other sources.
On YouTube, I watched the Philippine representative at the UN Climate Summit announce his hunger strike, as he spoke tearfully about how climate change is devastating his country. I also began looking at flood maps of Cape Cod and Virginia Beach, where my sisters and parents live. I cringe when I think about the world our families will live in if we don’t do something now to curb climate change.
As a parent, I know that we must take action! After attending my first climate change rally when my kids were one and three, I experienced the power of children and families together, calling attention to climate change. I recently came up with the idea of a Play-In – a family-friendly event that gives parents the opportunity to demand action from our politicians.
Sadly, some polluters and politicians are doing everything in their power to undermine solutions As parents, we must vocalize our power by supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to regulate carbon at power plants.
Please join my family at the Play-In for Climate Action in Washington, DC on July 9, 2014. As parents, let’s join together and let our voices be heard loud and clear!”
Thanks to Heather for talking with us here at Mindful Healthy Life!
For more information on Wednesday’s event, which will take place 10 a.m. to 12 noon in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill, go to http://www.momscleanairforce.org/play-in-climate-action/ or the Facebook event page.
Attendees who register ahead of time are eligible to win either one organic crib mattress or two organic pillows from Naturepedic.
Here’s a glance at the schedule for the event:
10:00 – Arrival and sign-in
10:15-11:00 – Yoga with Holly Clay-Smith of lil omm yoga studio; Music with Rose Tootle; Parachute activity; poster-making
11:00-11:30 – Press conference
11:30-12:00 – March to Senate offices
Refreshments to be provided by MOM’s Organic Market