Kids who see their parents making mindful decisions about transportation are more likely to grow up doing so themselves. The air quality in Washington DC and in nearby Virginia locales get an F for Ozone. Children are more susceptible to developing problems from pollution. Thursday, September 22 is Car Free Day. The folks at air quality leader Clean Air Partners and transportation network Commuter Connections are encouraging residents to take the Car Free Day pledge to get people ready for the big day! Read More
The pollen is a-fallin’ here in DC Metro, causing sniffles and congestion for lots of folks, some who regularly suffer seasonal allergies and some children who might be having their first bout of itchy eyes and drippy noses. To find out what’s blowing around today in our area, check out Pollen.com and Weather.com’s Pollen Forecast. And read on to find out how to naturally mitigate allergy symptoms and strengthen the body for next season! Read More
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 pollen count in the DC area went through the roof last week and will be continuing to climb for at least the next several days, according to both Pollen.com and Weather.com’s Pollen Forecast. Some of us don’t much notice except for the green film on our cars and perhaps a little stuffiness in our nose, which is getting a filtering workout with all the junk in the air.
Others react more strongly. For allergy sufferers, beautiful spring days wreak havoc on our respiratory systems. It can start at any time. For my son, his first experience of allergies was four years ago, when he was five. We’ve been on a journey since the second year to strengthen his system.
If this year’s pollen is causing you troubles, here are some natural remedies you might want to consider to help treat the acute symptoms and also to bolster your immune system and reduce reactivity.
- Nettle and Eyebright (herbs)
- Vitamins C and D
- Cod Liver Oil
- Essential oils – eucalyptus can help open breathing passages and there are many other oils to help with seasonal allergies
- Homeopathic blends for allergies, molds, tree pollen, etc. or focus on the specific symptoms and consult a book to see what fits
- Starting the day with warm water and lemon, or warm water and a few drops of unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar
- Baths with Epsom salt and dead sea salts (use a chlorine filter for the water)
- Neti pots nasal rinses or nasal sprays — simple saline, xylitol, homeopathic, or those with colloidal silver if you’re comfortable with that
And allergy elimination and energetic techniques like NAET, BioSET, NMT and Total Body Modification can also help reset the body and change its reaction. We’ll be looking for more posts on these alternative measures and will add more links and directory listings in the near future.
Finally, look at your home.
- Rid your living space of any synthetic fragrance products — especially laundry detergent but also cleaning products
- Keep the windows closed until the pollen counts go down and wash everyone’s hair as soon as they get inside
- Consider investing in an air purifier
This is our fourth season with my son’s allergies, the second year we’ve worked ahead of time to prevent them through acupuncture, energetic medicine, bodywork, supplements, air purification, and more.
The duration of his allergies last year was much shorter and the intensity decreased, but he did still have to stay inside for several days and experienced some eye puffiness in addition to redness and tearing. This year, his eyes have still bothered him and have teared some, but so far we have not seen the puffiness of years past, and he’s not had to limit his outside time nearly as much.
My hope is that eventually his system will become strong enough and clean enough that it will not react so severely to the onslaught of air pollutants we get in the springtime. I think my many years of using allopathic allergy and sinus medications only contributed to health problems by artificially masking the symptoms of inflammation while stressing my system even more. A clean diet and other modalities have instead gone after the causes of inflammation.
What works for you?
What do you do when your daughter comes home from school with her hair and clothing infused with scent, and her teacher assures you there are no Glade inserts or other synthetic air “fresheners” in her trailer? In my case, I thanked the teacher for her kind offer to stop wearing perfume but, thinking it’s not likely that this sweet woman is the cause of something that pervasive, I would be doing some research on air quality issues in our county and in general.
After we attended a birthday party in a play gym and I left with hair that had the same smell that permeates my daughter’s hair and clothing every day at school, I concluded that it has got to be the hand sanitizer! I had to step away when they squirted the kids’ hands with it. Sure, I’m much more sensitive than others to noticing these things, but just because kids and other adults don’t pick up on the smell, that doesn’t mean the synthetic chemical agents don’t exist or that our kids should be regularly exposed to something that might have endocrine disruptors or other toxic agents. I expect to soon spend some more quality time at the Environmental Working Group‘s website to get clearer on where I should focus my concern. But there are also a lot of other great organizations working on air quality, especially in the next few weeks.
April 28-May 2 is Clean Air Week or Air Quality Awareness Week. The Metro DC/Baltimore-area non-profit organization Clean Air Partners is sponsoring a Twitter chat focused on air quality and respiratory health on Wednesday, April 30, 12-1 p.m. The chat, which will include regional organizations, health experts, and influential voices, will “seek to educate people on how to protect themselves from poor air quality and what they can do to reduce the threat it poses.” Follow @CleanAirPartner and use the hashtag #AirMatters. To learn more, check out Clean Air Partners’ Air Alerts, Haze Cams, and tips for reducing pollution.
On a national level, next week the non-profit organization Moms Clean Air Force is sponsoring Mama Summit 2014 on Wednesday, May 7 with rallies at state capitols and in other cities across the country. Locally, the closest events to DC are in Frederick, Maryland and Harrisburg, PA. There is a Virtual Summit and ways to get involved all week, including a Twitter chat on Monday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. that will include EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and partnering organizations Clean Water Action, Climate Parents, Evangelical Environmental Network, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Women for a Healthy Environment. Participate with the hashtag #MamaSummit and follow the organization at @CleanAirMoms.
Moms Clean Air Force suggests on Tuesday, May 6 to write a letter to the editor or a blog post on the subject “this Mother’s Day I believe that being a good mom means being an active and engaged citizen” and on Friday, May 9 to add your voice to the organization’s Thunderclap.
I’ve joined the Environmental Health & Asthma subcommittee of my school district’s Safety and Health Advisory Board and look forward to learning what efforts our county has made with respect to indoor air quality … and also to outdoor air quality, especially during renovations and tearing-down of old schools next to newly-built schools.
Let’s hear what action you’ve taken and what progress you’ve made in your district! It would be great to share resources across Metro DC school districts. Leave a comment below or contact us about a more in-depth guest post.