A Michigan Mom Becomes An Activist

BY ON August 28, 2012

Mom, kids, sunset over water.

This is a guest post by Michigan Moms Clean Air Force member, Angela Youngblood:

When I was in elementary school, every spring we would watch a special movie. My teacher would roll the projector into the classroom, set up the film strip and turn out the lights. Once a year we watched a movie called, “The Rise and the Fall of the Great Lakes” about how the great lakes were formed. It ended with a lonely guy in a canoe stuck in a mucky mess of pollution. When the movie was over, the film strip was flapping off the projector, some kids were sleeping, but I wasn’t. I sat wide-eyed and worried. Worried about our lakes, worried about our land.

Maybe for some kids, not the sleeping ones, the movie propelled them into a life of environmental activism. But for a nervous kid like me, it made me more anxious. So, I buried those fears and grew up doing minimal amounts of preservation.

To this day in fact, I have a weird, not so super supportive mantra concerning nature, “I support it, but I don’t like it.”  Which basically means that I don’t like camping. Bugs aren’t my thing, and for the life of me, I can’t  grow a garden. But I do care what happens to nature, our environment, our world.

Phrases such as “global warming,” “hottest months on record” and “carbon footprints” give me a near panic attack. I want to stick my head in the sand and/or reach for a Xanax. Feeling helpless and out of control is never a good feeling. I instantly turn into that second grader with the big eyes worried about our lakes and our land.

Now I have elementary school-age children of my own. One thing I have learned over the past 38 years, and mostly since becoming a mother, is that there is no need to feel helpless. We can always do SOMETHING.

But how can I help global warming? Oh yeah, there’s those three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) my preschoolers get so excited about for a week in school. But there has to be more. Right?

I recently met with some very smart, very passionate people to discuss the state of our environment, specifically the quality of the air we breathe.

I spoke with people from Moms Clean Air Force. Their web site is full of information and ideas on how to make a difference. There are bloggers who write about energy-efficiency, coal emissions, renewable sources of energy and more. They have PHD s, social media influence, years of environmental activism experience and other impressive credentials.

It is impressive, but it’s enough to almost make me say, “Okay, well, they’ve got this, I don’t need to do anything.” But then I read their blogs and their essays and I discover that it’s not enough. I discover that they need people like me, people that don’t have PHD’s or extreme amounts of knowledge regarding the mercury pollution caused by coal-fired power plants. People that may not know a lot about this, but they care.

And I do care. I am a mother of four children under the age of 10. I want them to grow up in a world with clean air. I also want them to grow up less afraid, more empowered.

So, first I am going to get involved in Moms Clean Air Force’s Naptime Activism:”You can do things to make the world better, safer and cleaner–while your child naps.” Or while your child is at school or at practice. I can sign a petition to Congress, click like on a Facebook page of an important administration member doing something good for the environment, send an email and more. The beauty of the this type of activism is that I can do it from my laptop or even my phone.

I also hope to educate myself and become less afraid of the issues. I want to host a party or special event to spread awareness about how other mothers can get involved in making our air cleaner. There are so many ways I can make a difference.

It’s amazing that after reading a web site and talking to a few people, I feel so hopeful. I feel like change can happen. I may never camp or grow a garden, but I will make the world a little better and the air a little easier to breathe.

Angela YoungbloodThank you, Angela!

Angela Youngblood is a writer, blogger, vlogger and freelance video editor. She manages her own blog, Jumping With My Fingers Crossed, where she writes about family and all of life’s ups and downs with honesty and humor. This metro Detroit mom has four children under the age of 10 which keep her very busy. Those four children are also a huge reason Angela decided to get involved with Moms Clean Air Force to do whatever she could to fight for kids’ health. @AngelaYBlood


TOPICS: Activism, Michigan, Motherhood