This was written by Tracy Sabetta, Moms Clean Air Force Ohio field organizer:
As an educator and the mother of an asthmatic son in New Albany, Ohio, Julie Novel sees the heartbreaking impacts of air pollution and climate change daily. She knows firsthand that delaying solutions to clean up our air and reduce the pollution that drives climate change will make more people sick. Julie also understands how this leads to missed school and work days, and increased suffering for our children. This is one of the main reasons why Moms Clean Air Force has been actively engaged in advocating for clean air and pollution reduction policies in Ohio.
According to the American Lung Association’s 2019 State of the Air report, 15 out of the 34 counties in Ohio that monitor air pollution received the grade of D or F for ozone emissions. With currently more than 225,000 Ohio children suffering with asthma, Ohio ranks 46th in the nation in asthma rates for children ages 0-17. Asthma continues to be the leading cause for hospital ER visits in this age group.
In 2019, the Ohio General Assembly passed controversial legislation to subsidize the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, while gutting the state’s successful renewable energy and efficiency standards. It was one of the most expensive and contentious legislative debates ever seen in Ohio and reflected the detrimental influence of money in politics. But this short-sighted decision of the Ohio legislature did not stifle all clean energy activity in the state.
Mayors across the country are implementing innovative solutions to protect the health of children and all of those in their communities. Shining a spotlight on the great work being done in our local communities, the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Lakewood have all committed to meeting a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Athens, a Southeastern Ohio community in the heart of the state’s coal country, has declared a climate emergency, and the city’s voters approved a carbon fee on electric bills.
Leaders from across Ohio joined together to launch Power a Clean Future Ohio, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to working with local officials to develop equitable global climate change solutions. The organization is committed to reducing carbon emission throughout Ohio in big and small ways that make sense for each local community.
Power a Clean Future Ohio will work directly with local elected officials, businesses, faith groups, health officials, advocacy organizations and others to inform and incentivize action at the community level to combat climate change and spur the economic growth and development that results from embracing clean technologies and advanced transportation.
Through the Moms and Mayors program, Moms Clean Air Force members across the country are engaging in local advocacy efforts in support of clean energy investment. Moms in Ohio now stand shoulder to shoulder with local leaders, supporting them, urging them to do more, and celebrating the innovations that improve the quality of our air for our kids. We have the power to make change in our own backyards and protect our children’s health. We are proud to be part of the Power a Clean Future Ohio initiative.
To highlight the momentum at the local level, Power a Clean Future Ohio will join with Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and others to convene advocates, elected officials and industry experts from across Ohio and the Midwest for the “Ohio Clean Energy Summit: Local Communities Lead” on April 30th at the Xavier University Cintas Center. The summit will feature announcements on new clean energy initiatives and will provide a forum to discuss how local governments can access tools and resources to advance carbon reduction strategies to create a healthier future for our children.
Julie Novel says that working with Moms Clean Air Force has made her a powerful mom. She feels like she can do something that not only brings attention to children’s respiratory issues, but also make a positive change for their future. Advocating for children’s health, Julie’s learned about how the policy process works, how policymakers think about the decisions they make, and all the ways she can make an impact as a mom.
Join us in Ohio as moms and dads across our state fight for clean air and a stable climate.