A Mom’s Pride and Worry

BY ON September 30, 2011

Three young men standing amongst huge tree trunks

This is a guest post from Judith Ross:

This morning I watched my 25-year-old son head out for a job interview. Dressed in crisp grey slacks, a shirt and tie, and some shiny new shoes, his face glowed with optimism. If he gets it, this job will keep him busy for the next few months until he leaves again — this time for Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer.

He literally has a world of opportunity ahead of him — what all of us parents want for our children.

As I watched him pull out of the driveway on this brilliant, September morning I felt that mixture of pride and worry that most moms are familiar with. I want today’s sunny skies to last through his old age and beyond. I don’t want him to look back on 2011 as “the good old days.”

That is why I joined Moms Clean Air Force. I want us all to have clear skies above and a beautiful world at our feet. But unless we control air pollution, we won’t. Clean air is as basic to our well being as nutritious food and regular exercise.

Sadly, many polluters don’t think the way I do. They can’t see beyond the profits they are making. But that money won’t undo the damage if they, or someone they love loses their health because of bad air.

Nor will it buy them fancy vacations if there’s nowhere to go because pollution has destroyed our amazing landscapes and natural resources.

They don’t make the connection between our Mother Earth’s health and their own.

So what can one person do? She can join with others to build a strong voice that our government and the polluters can’t ignore.

Thanks to MCAF, I not only understand the health hazards of mercury spewed into our air by some coal plants, I also have the facts about how dirty air impacts us all. MCAF keeps me abreast of important legislation impacting these and other issues that will protect — or harm — our environment and our health.

Most important, MCAF lets me know how I can help. As a woman in her fifties, I am well aware of how little time I have left to make a difference. Sitting passively and hoping that our politicians will do the right thing is not an option. I want my voice to be heard, and what I say to count!

My children may be grown, but I’ll never stop fighting for their future. I want to leave all of our children a legacy that really matters.

Judith A. Ross is a contributing writer and columnist for Talking Writing, an online literary magazine. She has written numerous articles, profiles, and reports for academic, corporate, and nonprofit organizations, including Harvard Business Review and several publications published by Harvard Business School. Judith also blogs at Open Salon.

 Judith, thank you so much for caring about our children and fighting for clean air!

TOPICS: Activism, Mercury Poisoning, Politics, Pollution

  • pamela ingram

    Judith, this touches me so. Thank you for writing and thank your son for his service to humanity as well. I used to live in a Mill Town and spent many years working to establish ‘dioxin standards’ through EPA for the state of Florida. i was one of an interesting cadre, pulled from disparate groups throughout the State, assembled by an impressive young ( at the time) attorney. I won’t bore you with all the complex details of our amazing journey, but i will share that what struck me then and keeps my attention riveted now, is that at the time we read documentation about how dioxin had been found in the north pole , far from any source pollution. Think about it. We all share the same air….seems so simple, no? Why there is not more public alarm about air polluntants i cannot explain. Breathing is truly fundamental. Thank you for your commitment and for the commitment of all those engaged in this most important issue. ( oh, and by the way, we won our small step battle and got the more stringent standards for allowable amounts of dioxin in our waterways) so don’t be discouraged. keep speaking out…thank you

  • Thank you Judith. I too was touched by this piece. We often focus so much on our children as babies–how protective we are, because they are so helpless and vulnerable. How important to remember that they need us when they are 25, too. And that we are sending them into a world of OUR making–and asking them to deal with the mess we are leaving behind, unless we help clean up now! d

  • Judith,

    It’s a great point made greater through the lens of motherhood. You say it all beautifully; thanks,


  • Judith, your beautiful post about sums up for me why moms need to fight, and continue to fight for what we believe in for our children, and why it is so important to teach our children well. Seems like you did both. Thank you for your thoughtful parental insights!

  • Thanks everyone for the great comments. The effects of pollution are long lasting. So even if our babies seem healthy for years, the impact of what’s in the air can hurt them later down the road.

    I recently had coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen in decades. A few years ago he was diagnosed with lymphoma. There is no history of cancer in this family. He and his doctor are convinced it was caused by the summers, decades ago, he spent doing farm work. There is a link between lymphoma and pesticides.

    We are all in this together and I am so glad that MCAF is driving home that point!