This post was written by Maureen Reno, she is a mom and an environmental and energy economist who sees many similarities between her family’s behavior and EPA’s work cleaning up our air.
It was a gorgeous New Hampshire Sunday afternoon in mid-June. You know, one of those days with a cool breeze, before the heat and humidity settles in for the summer. Perfect weather to be outside gardening, biking, hiking, or doing just about anything as long as you’re outside. But, my husband, Matt, and Satori, our four year old daughter, were inside.
Before leaving the house to run errands, I gave them both the job of cleaning Satori’s toy room, A.K.A. the former family room. Why not just call it the family room you ask? Well, because the toys have taken over. Now, no adult dares to step within their territory for fear of injury. Upon my return, I found them both as I had left them hours before, still in their PJ’s among a sea of toys.
Matt reported that he tried to break up the cleaning effort into smaller tasks with a series of positive reinforcement techniques, bribes and, ultimately, threats of giving all of her toys away; to no avail. So, I knelt down to look into my daughter’s sweet, little face and asked her why she didn’t help daddy clean. She murmured, half choked, “But, Mommy, I don’t know how to clean up all of these things.”
Moms know that when faced with a daunting task we sometimes need to push. With a days’ worth of cleaning staring her down, Satori knew the right thing to do, but to her, the task was too big, the deadlines too tight, and the work too hard. Sound familiar? These are the same excuses we hear from a few of the less responsible power companies who think that the cost of cleaning up their mess is simply too much to ask. Since the cost of mercury pollution is not borne by polluters, the cost of cleanup becomes uneconomical and difficult to justify to shareholders. Like our kids, they will continue to avoid clean-up if left unchecked.
Moms are understanding, but we expect results. Teeth must be brushed, vegetables must be eaten and pollution must be cleaned up. When it comes to polluters, the dangers of ignoring moms are much greater than a cavity. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is especially harmful to children’s brains, hearts and lungs. It can inhibit their ability to learn, speak and even walk.
As a mom, I was worried that the Senate would approve a resolution (S.J. Res 37), proposed by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, that would kill America’s first rule governing mercury emissions. So, I was relieved that the motion failed, albeit by a slim margin, of 46-53. I was also grateful to see that New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, crossed party lines to vote against the measure.
From one mom to another: Thank you, Senator Ayotte.