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
Arlington held its first event commemorating Clean Air Awareness Month and Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month on Monday, May 1 at the Arlington County Central Public Library with more than 80 attendees. Read More
The Environmental Health and Asthma Subcommittee of the Arlington Public Schools School Health Advisory Board is holding its first Clean Air Awareness event on Monday, May 1, the first day of Clean Air Awareness Month and Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month. The group hopes to educate parents and APS staff about the connection between children’s health and the environment and to raise awareness about clean air habits, including turning off a car’s engine when parked and getting to school by bike, bus, walking or carpooling.
Parents have an important opportunity to make our voices heard and to protect our communities from chemical disasters. In 2013, 15 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a chemical plant exploded in the town of West, Texas. Since then, hundreds of other communities have been affected by explosions, fires, and toxic leaks, but no new safety requirements have been put in place.
Finally, this Tuesday March 29th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a long-awaited hearing to discuss a safety rule for chemical facilities. Let’s make sure it’s strong enough to protect our communities. 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.
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.