At Moms Clean Air Force, we know media matters. It’s why we are passionate about sharing news coverage of our staff and volunteers. We also know that what is reported and how well it is reported also matters. With the upcoming Presidential debates, our members are demanding that moderators in each debate address climate change, and so can you. Our co-founder and Senior Director Dominique Browning recently shared her top debate question with the New York Times: “What is your plan to reduce climate pollution in order to protect the long-term stability of our economy?” Moms want answers. And we know that our voices – and votes – have power.
A MESKWAKI MOM IN IOWA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
Much of Iowa is still reeling from the Derecho storm that swept across the Midwest in August. For Stephanie BadSoldier Snow (pictured above), a Moms Clean Air Force member living in Central Iowa with her two teenage children, the severe weather event’s magnitude is charged with meaning. In her powerful op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Stephanie, who is Native American and a Meskwaki community member, shares her perspective on all that her community lost in the storm and what her ancestors have to teach her about resilience. She writes, “Without immediate action to address the root causes of climate change — carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels — our communities will face increasingly frequent and severe weather events, causing the kind of disruption, death, and damage that swept across our lands in August. That’s why we need Iowa’s leaders to make solving climate change a priority.” Recalling her beloved great-grandmother, Stephanie asks her leaders to address the climate crisis with the same focus on sustaining life: “The Meskwaki deeply love this land. In order to honor this rich history, and to prevent the kind of suffering caused by the derecho in the future, it’s time for our leaders to take a lesson from my great-grandmother. I am looking to our state representatives, especially Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, to become fearless climate champions for Iowa.”
“WE ARE MILLIONS OF LATINOS WITH THE POWER TO VOTE”
Noticias Telemundo profiled (in Spanish) Columba Sainz, our Arizona field organizer, for a look at what it is like to balance parenting and climate activism amid both a global pandemic and rising temperatures in her home state. As a Latina mother of three, Columba explains that her work with Ecomadres “helping other mothers fight for the well-being of their families” is a source of pride. In Phoenix, where Columba lives with her family, she says too many Latino families are fighting incredible odds just to stay healthy: “Here in Arizona, in the midst of a pandemic and extreme temperatures, there are families who have to choose between using the air conditioning, paying the rent, or buying food. We call this environmental injustice, because no one should make these decisions at a time when there is no work and there are wildfires burning in several states, spreading smog.” But Columba knows that Latino families also have power: “We are millions of Latinos with the power to vote. It is crucial that we know that things can change. We have the power to change the course of this country.”
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND THE RAVAGES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Heather McTeer Toney, our national field director, speaks to the power of black women as climate activists and voters in a short video co-produced by NowThis and OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). Heather considers how decades of housing discrimination have forced Black communities to live in highly polluted areas—at the same time that they are increasingly and disproportionately impacted by the ravages of climate change. Speaking as a mom, Heather makes clear that, by voting, “we want to ensure we’re protecting our children from the ‘right now’ impacts of air pollution, as well as future impacts of climate change.”
Heather continues to explore the issue of environmental justice in a provocative essay for Dame magazine. Despite climate disasters growing more extreme, common, and destructive, Heather writes, our response is not matching the moment. Heather knows that she cannot afford to be lax about her children’s future, so it’s why she is willing to look at each climate crisis-induced event with fresh eyes: “Climate disasters are happening more frequently but are getting less ‘top of the hour,’ urgent coverage from news and media sources. And it’s no wonder: Between the daily shock of another Trump administration scandal, racial injustice, and coronavirus pandemic updates, there’s scarcely any room for climate incidents of any kind. Disaster philanthropy has shifted in how it addresses major weather events, yet the need for immediate assistance has not. What’s even scarier is that many of the same regions are being hit repeatedly, thereby supporting conservative’s case for ‘sacrifice zones’ across our country. Have we developed a sense of normalcy around these unnatural disasters? Climate complacency is real.”
MORE MOMS IN THE NEWS
- In case you missed it, our September “Stay-In & Speak Out for Climate Action” concert event featured guestappearances by several congressional representatives, who answer questions from children about the climate crisis.The event was headlined by Latin-Grammy Award winning artist, author, and activist Mister G and Chilean Jazz Vocalist Claudia Acuña, who performed for a virtual audience in the historic Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts. You can replay the event here and catch up on news coverage in this music industry outlet here, local Northampton coverage here, and Noticias Telemundo here (in Spanish).
- Over the last decade, the Graphic Packaging International cardboard production company in Kalamazoo has been reprimanded by the State of Michigan for odor complaints eight different times. To raise the issue of health and quality of life concerns, Brandi Crawford-Johnson, a member of Moms Clean Air Force’s Michigan Chapter, has been petitioning to have the company examined by the EPA and the state. Brandi has been interviewed by numerous media outlets about her campaign, including WKZO, Michigan Live and FOX17.
- Heather McTeer Toney, our national field director, is one of 40 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are published in the All We Can Save book of essays.
- Actress and activist Jane Fonda’s new book What Can I Do? is a call to climate action and chronicles her time fighting against climate change everywhere from Hollywood to the U.S. Capitol. The cover features an image from a 2019 Fire Drill Friday event in Washington, D.C. and shows Jane Fonda locked arm-in-arm with activists – including our own Heather!
- Columba Sainz, our Arizona field organizer, was recently named one of 31 female influencers who embody Phoenix’s unique cityscape of women making a difference in a variety of career settings.
- Michelle Uberuaga, one of our Montana field organizers, and state chapter member Melissa Hornbein, were quoted in a news article about the state’s climate solutions plan. As Melissa said: “Now we need to get to work implementing these actions, generating additional, science-based responses to the climate crisis, and transitioning Montana’s economy and its workers to a more sustainable and profitable future.”
- As the West Virginia Gazette-Mail reports, Moms Clean Air Force’s West Virginia Chapter is one of several groups in the new West Virginia Climate Alliance. In conjunction with this launch, the Alliance has issued a “A Citizen’s Guide to Climate Change,” a 16-page report on the climate crisis – and proposed solutions.
- In response to the Trump Administration’s rollback of methane safeguards designed to protect public health, our New Mexico field organizer Celerah Hewes and state campaigns project manager Patrice Tomcik teamed up to express their outrage in this Medium opinion: “As parents of young children, we envision a future where all children everywhere breathe clean air and thrive on a livable planet. The Trump administration’s rollback of methane pollution safeguards sinks this vision. It amounts to a thinly veiled attempt to limit oversight of the oil and gas industry at the expense of our children’s health. Moms across the country are rightly demanding that EPA Administrator Wheeler do his job and protect the health of our children from the harms of methane pollution. Our kids deserve nothing less.”