Last week, our members helped make election history! For the first time in 20 years, the moderator of a U.S. presidential debate asked a question about climate change. The surprise topic of discussion during the first debate amounted a ten minute back-and-forth. Then, at the vice-presidential debate, the climate question was asked again. We credit our members and other allies for creating a chorus of petitions, tweets, emails, and texts that was impossible to ignore. Thank you!
TRANSFORMING ELECTION ANXIETY INTO ACTION
Heather McTeer Toney, our senior director, recently spoke to the Washington Post about the upcoming election. In “November may be the darkest month Americans have seen in a long time,” Heather opens up about her own anxiety: “I liken it to watching a hurricane in the gulf. You see it coming toward land, and that intensity is growing. And I’ve never had the anxiety I have right now. Because there’s such a convergence of issues that I feel both as a climate activist and as a Black woman. And all of these things come together on November 3.” Heather also shares how she stays grounded during these uncertain weeks leading up to the election: “walks at dawn, with Beyoncé or ‘Hamilton’ in her ears.”
Molly Rauch, our public health policy director, sat down with Healthy Living Healthy Planet radio for an interview on air pollution and children’s health. Molly also shares why Moms Clean Air Force is such a powerful player in the environmental movement, and urges listeners to vote: “Make your voice heard through your vote, because lawmakers work for you. So it’s your job to elect lawmakers who share your values.” Click here to listen to episode 50.
ENVIRONMENTAL INEQUITY AT SCHOOL
Heather spoke to the New York Times about how rising temperatures are widening the racial achievement gap in our schools. Heather said: “We could go on and on, talking about different social dynamics that disproportionately impact communities of color. For every single one of them, we can make a link to climate.” The article also cites Heather’s concerns about a long list of racial inequities that magnify the effects of climate change. “That list includes the fact that minorities are more likely to live near toxic waste sites, exposing them to hazardous chemicals during floods, she said, as well as public housing developments that hold heat.”
PROTECTING CHILDREN’S HEALTH IN PENNSYLVANIA
In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Southwestern Pennsylvania resident and state campaigns manager Patrice Tomcik urges state lawmakers to “take heed and get on board now with the wishes of a majority of their constituents” and support Governor Tom Wolf’s actions to link the commonwealth to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cut carbon emissions from the power sector.
Responding to Governor Wolf’s veto of a bill passed in the General Assembly designed to block climate action in the state, Patrice also spoke up in the Pennsylvania Environmental Daily Digest to support the governor’s move, which cements “his commitment to reducing climate pollution and protecting the health and future of Pennsylvania’s children.”
TAKING TRUMP’S POLLUTING AGENDA TO COURT
Writing in Colorado’s Boulder Daily Camera, our Broomfield-based member Elizabeth Moura penned a letter to the editor about a lawsuit filed by the state’s Attorney General. The suit challenges Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency’s rollback of methane emission safeguards. “Even as these scientific studies increase in number, in a frustrating pattern of behavior, President Donald Trump’s administration has refused to acknowledge the science around methane emissions that are detrimental to our climate and on our health.”
WHY ADVOCACY IS PERSONAL
Columba Sainz, our Arizona field organizer, is profiled in Front Page Live for her clean air activism. As a Maricopa County resident, her family is subject to some of the worst air quality in the nation. Smog is especially bad there. To protect her children’s developing lungs, she has to keep her kids inside often — but, “How do you tell your kid they can’t go outside? How do you tell them they can’t go to the park?” “They need to run, they need to exercise and just be in nature,” as Columba shares.
In another interview with Front Page Live, Yaritza Perez, our Florida field organizer, shares her motivation for fighting for clean air. Yartiza, a Marine veteran, says: “I just found myself wanting to continue to serve somehow in my community, so I learned how to repurpose my service from active duty into my community.” And once she fully understood air pollution and climate change’s disproportionate impact on people of color, Yaritza said she discovered her passion for advocating as a Latina.
Leah Barbour, our West Virginia organizer, spoke to the Connect the Dots podcast host about how the climate crisis hurts children – and presents ideas for possible solutions. In thinking about her own role as a parent of two young children, Leah shares one guiding principle: “Raising children with a consciousness and reverence for resources that we directly depend on is something that moving forward will help them make informed and good decisions.”