At the first Indiana Mama Summit on April 8, 2015, Moms Clean Air Force and a dozen health, faith and environmental partners, made a powerful case for legislative action to protect children’s health in Indiana.
On the third-floor rotunda of the beautiful Indiana Statehouse, Dr. Indra Frank, a physician specializing in environmental health, put it simply:
“Our energy use and our health are linked…The majority of our energy for transportation and electricity still comes from fossil fuels, and burning fossil fuels puts millions of pounds of pollutants into Indiana’s air each year,” she said. “Those millions of pounds of pollutants take a toll on our health and on our children’s health.”
Dr. Frank, who works for MCAF partner organization Hoosier Environmental Council, offered these examples:
- Nearly one in 10 Hoosier children has asthma.
- Moms who live with higher levels of air pollution during pregnancy have an increased risk of delivering their babies prematurely.
- Children who grow up with higher levels of air pollution have smaller lung capacity; Air pollution reduces the growth of their lungs.
- Children and adults with asthma who live with higher levels of air pollution have an increased risk of hospitalization and death, and in Indiana there are an estimated 650,000 people who suffer from asthma.
“The more we can reduce our use of fossil fuels, the cleaner and healthier our air will be,” Dr. Frank concluded.
That’s the message we took to legislators, Governor Mike Pence and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, a grandmother who took time to chat with us during the Mama Summit. It’s a message we will continue to carry in Indiana, where 85 percent of our electricity generation comes from coal-fired power plants.
During this legislative session, there have been threats to energy efficiency and clean energy that would decrease our dependence on coal. Indiana’s reliance on coal for electricity generation puts our children’s futures at risk. We ask Indiana legislators to support a healthier and safer Indiana for all.