On June 7, Moms Clean Air Force joined the United Nations Foundation, Moms Rising, and Mom Bloggers for Social Good in a live chat anchored by Chrysula Winegar, the community manager of Million Moms Challenge.
The topic was Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and what it means for women in the United States fighting on behalf of the environment. Aaron Sherinian and Richenda Van Leeuwen from the UN Foundation were on hand to discuss the importance of “connecting the dots between American issues and those in other parts of the world.”
A key element was “interrelatedness,” and why a larger focus encompassing a long-range view is essential. Covered were the topics of energy access, improving health, the role of women in the conversation, and why personal action is the stepping-stone to making change.
It’s a very different ballgame than when the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio took place. Then, those with the seats at the table were from the private sector, governments, NGOs, and business. Now, thanks to the power of social media, the dialogue will be expanded, more inclusive, and amplified by a full range of tools. There will be Twitter streams identified by #RioPlus20, Facebook posts, apps, and the RioPlusSocial platform.
Winegar specifically asked her guests what the agenda at Rio+20 held for United States society, and particularly American mothers. Sherinian responded by pointing to the connection between sustainability and the personal, and how we are each affected. In other words, a “big-picture, long-term view of how everything interrelates.”
Many of the participants jumped in to reiterate why it was imperative for mothers to be proactive. It was pointed out that the ripple that begins in the hyper-local space expands regionally, nationally, and ultimately internationally.
Sherinian saw creating partnerships as the new model and a key strategy. He spoke about understanding how the environment impacts our health and why as individual consumers we can call for Corporate Social Responsibility from businesses—which will respond to consumers’ demands in the market place. He suggested the vital importance of “linkages,” leading to a shared global concern for future generations having access to a clean, safe planet. It was agreed that educating the citizenry from Malawi to Main Street was essential. That, combined with individual action by making your point of view heard via a tweet or through signing an online petition within your community, could create influence.
I spoke with Winegar post-chat. As we parsed the challenges on the domestic front in the fight to protect the nation’s natural resources and health, she remarked on the importance of what happens in our country. “Other governments are watching our example,” she said.
Currently, America is facing its own struggles as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are under attack in Congress. Moms Clean Air Force is fighting tooth and nail to push back against the proposed resolution that would block the EPA from regulating mercury both now…and in the future.
Sherinian summed it up best in his observation, “Our future depends on what we decide to make a priority in our own home. Global issues don’t live in the United Nations. They live in our living room as well.”