Last week, Washington, DC-area Moms and Climate Action Campaign members biked around Capitol Hill, urging the Senate to pass the climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. The bold climate investments are an opportunity to reduce climate pollution and safeguard our children’s future. If you missed the bike caravan, you can still tell your Senator that it’s time to make the largest single investment in climate solutions in US history.
MAKING CLIMATE ACTION A FAMILY TRADITION
In an interview for Care.com, Public Health Policy Director Molly Rauch (pictured above) explains that family members of all ages can work together to tackle the climate crisis. From eating more plant-based meals to opting for the bus when possible, small changes add up in a big way. But individual action needs to be paired with systemic change. Molly says: “The most important thing that any family can do is to raise their voices to their decision makers. We need to have systemic change from every level of government.” Molly points out that kids can help too: “The same way you might draw a picture for a grandparent and send it in the mail, you can draw a picture for lawmakers. It can be a message from the heart from a child that they care about the earth.”
Molly notes that it’s important to talk honestly with your kids about climate change and how pollution impacts some communities more than others. She suggests that parents help their kids notice who lives nearest to highways, power plants, and other major polluters: “In most communities in the U.S., you’re going to see the wealthier communities, and the white communities, are located in places that are farther from those sources of pollution. Folks who are on the edge of our society or who are bearing the brunt of pollution, they are going to suffer first and worst from climate impacts.”
MAKING NOISE TO CUT MERCURY
The EPA issued a proposal at the end of January that would restore the legal basis of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which were weakened by the Trump administration. The Standards have helped reduce mercury pollution by more than 80%, but Dominique Browning, our Director and Co-Founder, says in E&E Greenwire that parents “can’t rest easy just yet. Not when coal plants continue to emit dangerous quantities of hazardous air pollution, including 33,000 pounds of mercury each year.”
EPA’s proposal is a good first step, but no amount of mercury is safe for a child’s brain. Join us in telling the EPA to strengthen the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
COLORADO MOMS CALL FOR BUILDING BACK BETTER
Local leaders and climate activists urged the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act during a virtual press conference that was sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force and covered by the Denver Post Gazette. The press conference took place a month after the Marshall fire in Boulder County, Colorado, which destroyed nearly 1,100 homes.
Former Colorado House majority leader Alice Madden says: “The climate emergency puts us all at risk, which is why the investment and the job-creating solutions found in the Build Back Better Act is the Senate’s morale [sic] imperative. The longer they wait, the more lives [are] in jeopardy.” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock emphasized that passage of the act is essential to environmental justice: “This is about equity in our low income communities, in particular, many of them are communities of color. This will help to improve their outcomes, reducing health impacts like increase[d] asthma rates and reduc[ing] health related costs.”
- Environmental Defense Fund’s quarterly publication, Solutions, features Pennsylvania field organizer Brooke Petry (p.14). Brooke and her daughter Eleanor have asthma, which is made worse by the air pollution around their Philadelphia home: “Even after living with this my whole life, seeing my daughter struggle to breathe was a whole new level of anxiety. When your kid comes home from school and tells you she was afraid to run and play with her friends at recess because it might trigger a flare, that’s when you know that something is deeply messed up.” The article highlights that joining the Regional Greenhouse-Gas Initiative (RGGI) would help Pennsylvania reduce about 188 million tons of carbon pollution over the next 10 years and improve the health of residents like Brooke and her daughter.
- Solutions also spotlights Moms’ Colorado field organizer Shaina Oliver (p.10). Shaina, an Indigenous rights advocate, explains why cutting methane is so important to her community: “We need to cut methane to protect moms and babies from climate and air pollution. I want to create a pathway for future Indigenous generations to have a space where they are not endangered. To have a future they will want to fight for.”
- Former Moms Clean Air Force Senior Legislative Director Trisha Dello Iacono spoke to The National Desk about the dangers of mercury-containing flooring in schools. These floors are often found in gyms and cafeterias where kids eat, nap, and play. Trisha knows firsthand how dangerous these floors are to our kids’ health: “They’re like landmines in schools. And our children’s health is on the line. I have a son who has lifelong health issues because of his exposure.” Trisha continues: “My story is not isolated. There’s parents all over the country who are unknowingly sending their child to schools that have this flooring.”