This piece by Ronnie Citron-Fink was cross-posted at Econesting.com.
I am not a scientist. I am not a politician. I am a mom. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I am an environmentalist. I want to protect my family. I care about the planet.
When I became increasingly concerned about the food my family eats, the oceans we swim in, the cars we drive and the air we breathe, it became a personal choice to share and engage my readers in a dialogue about creating a lifestyle that supports our environment.
Joining the Moms Clean Air Force has opened up my eyes wider to the issue of clean air. But, just because I consider something vastly important, doesn’t mean I expect you to jump on the bandwagon. I wish you would, but I know creating clean air is not like selling a basket of locally-grown organic vegetables. People get that. They know those fresh goodies will nourish their bodies. They understand how being a locavore will nourish their souls. The message of saving the Clean Air Act is a complex and seemingly abstract problem with scientific theories, historical data, cost analysis and politics.
Just like we need to nourish our bodies and souls with good, clean food and create vibrant communities by shopping local, we need clean air to secure our health.
So let me repeat: I am not a scientist. I knew the Clean Air Act, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the States, has saved thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease. But, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to reading about babies dying and cancer rates. My biggest fear about joining the Moms Clean Air Force was that I would have to sort through stacks and stacks of reports, regulations, cost anaylsis and really nasty health studies that would leave me glazed over and paralyzed with fear. Although I am a teacher, I am a visual learner like my right-sided brain kids. Scientific technical reading rarely engages my interest for too long.
The exact opposite happened. I do believe informed decisions come from knowledge. I found a nifty tool from the Union of Concerned Scientists that helps embrace the stats. The “ticker” at this link “shows the increase in cumulative net benefits as a result of the Clean Air Act since 1970. The source data for this calculation comes from two EPA reports.”
It is scary to imagine that the Clean Air Act is under constant threat. Whether you are a scientist or not, there is one thing we all need to understand – clean air is something we have controlled and lessened…and we all have the power to be part of the solution to continue to preserve clean air.