Mom’s Wake Up Call

BY ON July 17, 2013

Road sign that reads "wake-up call just ahead"

Good sleep used to be the holy grail of my mommy world. When my baby had trouble napping during the day, she wouldn’t sleep well at night. Then, the next day, she’d be fussy and have trouble napping.

Then in the night I’d hear her little voice calling out. And I, an avowed heavy sleeper, would literally jump out of bed and practically run to her, at least in the first few months. (Now my husband handles the nighttime issues around here! So lucky!) Her cry wasn’t just a baby crying. It was my wake-up call of a deeper sort: You are now my mother. You are forever my mother. Your ears are attuned to me. You will hear everything differently now.

And I do. I think that’s why I react to news about air pollution and climate change with a jolt of adrenaline, the kind that used to make me jump out of bed in the middle of the night. Air pollution causes climate change, and climate change will result in increased air pollution. We’re in a cycle that, if left unchecked, could condemn our children to an unhealthy, unstable future.

How does air pollution cause climate change? 

Carbon dioxide and other fossil fuel emissions change the chemistry of our atmosphere. Their presence in the air makes it harder for ultraviolet radiation to escape back into space, warming our planet.

How is air pollution a result of climate change? 

As temperature rises on planet earth, energy use will increase. There will be greater demand for electricity to cool our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, and workplaces. More energy use means more air pollution, at least until we’ve transitioned to a clean energy economy. Warmer weather also increases the amount of ground-level ozone in the air. So as the planet warms, ground level ozone production will increase.

This climate change/air pollution cycle threatens our children’s future, and it’s why Moms Clean Air Force exists. It also threatens our children’s health. It threatens everyone’s health, yes — but the major health impacts of climate change will hurt children the most.

We can break this cycle, but only if we commit to action:

Last month, President Obama laid out his climate plan. He said:

As a president, as a father and as an American, I am here to say, we need to act…. I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that is beyond fixing.”

Did he hear that baby calling in the middle of the night?

Do you?


TOPICS: Children's Health, Climate Change, Ozone