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.