This is a guest post by Diane MacEachern, Founder & CEO of Big Green Purse, www.biggreenpurse.com
Thank goodness for moms!
Specifically, thank goodness for moms like YOU–women who are keeping the pressure on their elected officials to make a difference where their kids’ lives and our environment are concerned.
That was essentially the inspiring message I took away from the annual League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gala in Washington, DC this month. LCV works at the national and state levels to elect pro-environmental political leaders to Congress and state legislatures. LCV also monitors the voting records of elected officials and lobbies to pass laws and strengthen federal and state regulations. Every election season, LCV compiles the “Dirty Dozen” a list of the 12 members of Congress with the worst environmental records that LCV then works to defeat.
Their annual gala provides an opportunity for Hill staffers, local and national activists, and the folks who work in the trenches for environmental non-profits to reconnect with each other, get fired up for the work ahead, and thank political leaders who continue to advocate for our health and that of the planet. This year, all three featured speakers acknowledged the important role grassroots activists like you play in keeping momentum moving forward, despite the challenging times we face.
Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s Top aide and right-hand woman, spoke passionately about the President’s commitment to a healthier planet. If she said it once, she said it a hundred times: “He can’t do it alone.” While acknowledging how tough it is these days to pass new environmental bills, she also declared that neither she, nor the President, nor his cabinet are planning on throwing in the towel any time soon. “We need you to keep fighting,” she essentially said, to the audience’s sustained applause, “and the country needs you to keep fighting.”
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has been a tremendous friend to environmentalists throughout his long political career. He’s also stood alone on Capitol Hill as he’s argued for stronger legislation to protect our air and water, reduce climate-disrupting carbon emissions, and safeguard wildlife and wilderness. Coming from a “swing” state that favored George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, but Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008, Sen. Brown is acutely aware that each and every one of our voices matters…certainly at the polls, but also in the halls of Congress and our Statehouses, in our communities and neighborhoods, and in our schools, too.
Martin O’Malley, my own Governor of the state of Maryland, wrapped the evening up with a passionate defense of environmental protection. He’s optimistic not only because we’re seeing encouraging results right here in the country’s Chesapeake Bay region, but also because he keeps running into people like you: smart, knowledge, and not likely to give up.
In fact, as I left the LCV event, I found myself reflecting on you, too. Even if we’ve never met in person, I feel like I know a little bit about who you are. Because I’m that person, too…a concerned mom who’s busy trying to cross a million things off a “to do” list that never seems to get any shorter, and yet someone who keeps putting “keep my kids and our environment safe” at the top of that list.
Yes, the political climate is grueling. And, at least at the federal level, we may not pass too much environmental legislation any time soon. But that’s exactly why the work that each and every one of us is doing in our communities and with organizations like Moms Clean Air Force is more critical than ever before.
So thank you. And now…back to work!
Diane MacEachern is the founder of BigGreenPurse.com and the author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World. She is a long-time activist who has worked locally, nationally and internationally to protect our health and the environment.
Credit: Embrace Hope via tumblr