In honor of our national day of thanks, I’m not going to ask you do to anything. Well, almost. This happens to be my favorite holiday of the year; I like renewing my thoughts about what makes me grateful. So I’ll ask you to join me in that, and first, tell you a story that prompted this year’s musings.
Recently, a young woman who had just heard a presentation about climate change asked a poignant question: Do I want to bring babies into this world, given the chaos climate scientists see coming? Is it fair? Is it a good idea?
I was startled, and immediately went back to my days as a young woman, days of extreme anxiety about nuclear weapons that could obliterate humankind. Many of us wondered the same thing. Even before we have babies, we are full of fear for their lives, their well-being. That day, it was a New Yorker who asked the question. And we’re all still in shock in the wake of Sandy. We all know someone–or we were those someones– who went weeks without power, or even lost a house. We are all bearing witness to the horrific images born of that storm.
I’m on the further end of motherhood now; my two sons grown, and perhaps even contemplating the possibility of having their own children–someday. I’m glad I took the risk of bringing new life into the world–glad on behalf of my children.
“Look at how much we love our lives,” I said to the young woman. “Think about what a gift it is to be here, in this world of such awesome beauty. We love life. And we pass that blessing on. We are always going to be truly terrified about something. The thing is to fight to make the world safer, cleaner, better, for everyone. Have children out of love. Don’t live in fear.”
Many of us don’t have children because we simply don’t want them. We give of ourselves, of our love, in other ways. I’ve met many members of our Moms Clean Air Force who are childless, but fight in honor of their mothers. My conversation with the young woman renewed my conviction that we must fight for our Earth, fight to regain the beautiful balance that sustains our lives here. We owe it to our love of the world.
Please join our team–many of whose thoughts of gratitude are included below–in giving thanks to life, love–and our sacred right to clean air. Even if we have to fight for it.
And if you have a moment, please let the president know that you’d be grateful if he put climate change on the national agenda.
Moms Clean Air Force Team Shares Their Gratitude
Dominique Browning, MCAF Senior Director and Co-Founder: I’m grateful for LIFE. Mine. That of my children. That of our Earth. That we’re all here on this miraculous planet, that we are sustained and nurtured by the land, the air, the water. I want my children and their children to have as beautiful a world as I was born into, and that’s what motivates me to do this work.
Ronnie Citron-Fink, MCAF Managing Editor: I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life…family, friends, colleagues. Our planet nurtures us with beauty and sustenance and I’m grateful that I can touch people with my words and actions to fight to protect our land, water and air for future generations.
Shaun Dakin, MCAF Social Media Director,: I’m grateful that the American people moved forward this year and decided that hope and love is more important than big business and pollution. I’m grateful that the Clean Air Act allows my son, Joseph, to never understand what smog and pollution are because he has no memory of them. Thank You.
Erin O’Sullivan, MCAF Field Director: This year I am grateful for my incredible field organizers. They have put their heart and souls into cleaning our air–working long hours and cutting through the red tape. I am so proud of them and so grateful to have the opportunity to keep working with them.
Anneka Wisker, MCAF Program Assistant: I am grateful for the thousands of MCAF members, many of whom I interact with via Twitter and email on a daily basis. Hearing their stories and kind words helps makes me realize the importance of what we, at Moms Clean Air Force, are doing. Without their passion and dedication we would not be where we are today as an organization, and I look forward to continuing to build these relationships.
Molly Rauch, MCAF Public Health Policy and Outreach Manager: The EPA has proposed new standards for soot pollution in our country. Included in those standards, set to be finalized on December 14, is a requirement for states to install monitors near highways. I am grateful that EPA is recognizing the need to monitor traffic pollution, which will help protect underserved and minority communities living near highways from the health effects of soot exposure, including infant mortality, low birth weight, and premature birth.
Marcia Yerman, MCAF Blogger: I am grateful that the interests of big money were denied in the election of 2012, up and down the ticket. There are new elected officials that understand the mandate of clean air and climate change, and advocating for the protection of our environment. If more people can include daily gratitude for the natural world around us, and the importance of living in balance and harmony with it, our future will indeed be bright.
Gina Carroll, MCAF Blogger: I am deeply grateful that we will have four more years of an administration that has shown a concern for clean air. I have appreciated the work of Administrator Jackson and the EPA and look forward to their “insanely ambitious agenda“ for the next four years.
Katy Farber, MCAF Blogger: I’m grateful that my children can breathe clean and healthy air here in Vermont. Their school is in a safe location with no pollution emitting factories, highways, or coal plants nearby. I know every child is not so lucky, and that is why I continue to fight for clean air for all children, no matter where they live. I’m also grateful for every single hard fought environmental law in place that protects our air, water, land and communities.
Judith A. Ross, MCAF Blogger: I am heartened and grateful that our leadership voted to uphold the health-protecting MATS this past summer. As someone with firsthand cancer experience, I know that if you have your health, you have everything, and if you don’t, nothing else matters.
Laura Burns, MCAF Blogger: I’m reflecting on how working with MCAF has changed the way I look at respiratory health as a direct result of our air quality. For me, I’m so grateful that the air toxics standards will regulate how the industrialized Great Lakes will breathe in the future.
Lori Alper, MCAF Blogger: I am thankful for the strong community of healthy air advocates who have joined together, working tirelessly to protect our children and our families from breathing polluted air. I have seen firsthand that together we can and will make a difference.
George Bounacos, MCAF social media/website consultant: At this time of year, I’m thankful that there are dedicated people who devote their passion, intelligence and careers to learning how our world can be a cleaner, healthier place to live. Their efforts to help all of humankind inspire me.