As my first Presidential election as a parent draws closer, I have been thinking hard about how this election will affect my kids lives. We are at a time when our environment needs us to act quickly and decisively.
When I was my children’s age, there were solar panels on the White House. Now there are not. At some point, our leaders seemed to stop caring about clean energy as they continued their dependence on dirty forms of energy–coal, oil and gas.
The economy dictated the tone and topics of the presidential debates, and as a voter I wanted to hear the candidates talk about how they would address some of our economic issues by supporting clean energy, like wind and solar energy.
Power plants are the largest industrial toxic air polluters. In a study released this year from MCAF partner, Physicians for Social Responsibility and NRDC titled, Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States, ranks the states by the toxic level of emissions from their power plants (all from data collected from public information from the EPA). Swing states Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are listed in the top 15 with Ohio being the second most toxic in the country. As the candidates work to gain votes in these states I want to hear them talk about clean energy.
Vote Clean Air, Water and Land:
America’s next big contribution to the world should be our work in the clean energy field. With the support of our leaders, we can make the U.S. a pro-clean energy country.
This year 33 Senate seats are up for election and of course, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. We need all our elected leaders talking about clean energy.
Do you know where any of our candidates stand on the Wind Energy Tax Credits? Does your Senator believe the tax credits should be extended? The American Wind Energy Association states that extending the tax credits in one quarter alone could create over 37,000 jobs. The wind energy tax credit costs $1.6 billion a year, which is less than the $40 billion that the oil and gas industry receive annually. By creating a favorable scenario for businesses to start, we have the ability to create the next boom for our economy.
Clean energy is not just vital for our economy it is vital to our health. Asthma is one of the most common health problems associated with air pollution. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 14.4 million days of school were missed due to childhood illness due to asthma alone. I do not want my kids to miss out on their education because they are dealing with the health effects of not having clean energy sources. If our children are missing school because of this, how many workers are missing work to care for their children?
We need our leaders to see this as a problem that cannot be divorced from our economic needs, but rather it is all tied together. Clean energy can create jobs, keep our children healthy enough to go to school and learn, and keep our workforce healthy to work on the next great clean energy technology. Energy, health and politics are all connected.
3 Things you can do to advocate for clean energy:
- Tell Barack Obama and Mitt Romney that you want them to discuss their policy plans for clean air and the environment.
- Contact your Senator and Congressperson and let them know that you care about our economy AND clean energy.
- Join Moms Clean Air Force to stay up-to-date on the latest news.
Parents need our political leaders to know that we care about the economy and clean energy, and that we’ll be voting for a clean energy future for our families.
Leigh Garofalow is a mother of two children and was born an environmentalist. She writes two blogs: Green4U giving green living tips to the average person and What I Want My Kids To Know, a blog of thoughts and advice to her kids.