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Education

Education

Now’s The Time…

If you follow Econesting, you know I love children and I am passionate about the attacks on the Clean Air Act. I fear our kids will suffer if it is gutted. Not only do I write for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force, but as a parent of two children, a former teacher, and a Board of Trustee member of The Randolph School, I care deeply about the future of our children. I am passing on some important and timely information from one of my favorite writers, Dominique Browning, who is the author of the blog, Slow Love Life and lead blogger of our amazing MCAF team. I hope you will join us in the fight for clean air. Thank you!

Countdown for Writing to the EPA
by Dominique Browning

I don’t want to nag, though we all know moms are great at that. But I’m going to remind everyone that as of Monday, August 1, we have only FOUR MORE DAYS to write to the EPA  in support of their NEW Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. This regulation will cut down the poisonous emissions from coal-fired electric plants. Fetuses, infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxic coal pollution.

Pro-polluters have been working overtime to cut funding for the EPA and block anti-pollution regulations. They’re spending millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions–to protect their right to pollute!

Motherhood is powerful too. We have to make our voices heard.

This is only the beginning of our fight. Please join the Moms Clean Air Force now and make a difference for your kids.

Someday your children will thank you. Right now, you have to fight for them. Every day for four days, I’m going to nag–and include a great reason to write to the EPA now. But my A Number One Reason will always be the same: my two beloved sons, for whom I will always fight like a mama bear, Alex and Theo. I’ll bet you feel the same way about yours.

Here are GREAT REASONS to write to the EPA now.

1. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. No politician wants to make a mom mad. The EPA needs to hear that you want it to protect your right to clean air. Sometimes being a great mom means being an active citizen.

2. WE’VE MADE IT EASY–AND YOU CAN FIND THE TIME. It is faster to write to the EPA than it is to change a diaper. Sometimes being a great mom means being an active citizen. Make your voice heard!

3. POLLUTION CONTROL MEANS MORE JOBS. Green jobs are rising dramatically. Retrofitting coal stacks with scrubbers means more jobs for people in the industry–and a stronger industry overall.

4. HOW DARE THEY HARM OUR BABIES! Fetuses, infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxic pollution. Childhood cancers are on the rise. So are asthma attacks.  Pregnant women are warned against eating tuna fish because it is full of mercury. And polluters keep on fighting for their right to pollute.

Credit: Lainey Fink

Worth Fighting For

I visited my mom for her birthday last week. She always possessed a practical, no-nonsense attitude. Mom is the personification of a hip 80 year-old, but she reminds me often that growing up during the Depression gives her an edge of realism. Her mind is as sharp as a tack, so even at her advanced age, she’s truly light years ahead of her pack. Mom is still a voice of reason.

Since Mom’s body is not as sprite as her intellect, she walks and walks to keep fit. As she was preparing for a recent trip to visit relatives in Spain, Mom tells me, “I’m walking longer everyday to get ready for the trip. When I want something bad enough, like staying healthy, I become an advocate for it. I’m fighting to keep my mobility. As long as I can still breathe, there’s always something worth fighting for.”

What comes to mind when you hear the word advocacy? I asked Mom to define it: “Advocacy is the efforts and struggles of one person or a group of individuals to take action.”

I shared my mom’s vision of advocacy when I was a teacher. When a parent came to me with the notion their child had been wronged by the system, I would say, “I will help you, but you are your child’s best advocate. No one else can fight their battles like you can.”

Whether we advocate for ourselves, like my mom is doing to stay fit, or we take on the school system like I suggested to parents whose children were not being well served, or we band together collectively for our children’s future health, like my friend and MCAF colleague, Dominique describes in Applesauce And Mercury In Fish: The Connection, the focused goal is to ensure that something important gets done.

In the case of clean air, advocacy is a handy word and a powerful tool. To ensure that our children’s future includes clean air, how about we put advocacy into action? Believe me, you’ll be in good company with the League of Women Voters, National Audubon Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, World Wildlife Fund, and over 200 other groups…lest not forget the 75% of voters who support clean air.

Want to learn how to advocate for clean air? The Moms Clean Air Force is an advocacy group. We will help you. This is our job. But, you’ve got to take the first steps…

3 Steps To Effective Advocacy and 3 Ways To Support Clean Air

Present clear reasons for your requests
Here you go:
1. Your Family’s Health
2. The Economy
3. The Environment

Provide accurate and helpful information
Here you go:
1. What are the benefits of the Clean Air Act?
2. Why is cleaning up the mercury in coal plants important?
3. Why do power companies need regulations?

Share what you know with others for support
Here you go:
1. Tell the EPA you support the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards.
2. Join the Moms Clean Air Force and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to tell your friends to follow too!
3. If you blog, please add this badge to your side bar to show your support:
MomsCleanAirForce

When mom came home from Spain, she was immensely proud that she had kept up with the rest of the family. She chided, “You just need to advocate for what you want and then go out and get it.”

Who is your child’s best clean air advocate? You are.

Credit: Beth Hoeckel via Anthology

Nip Bud Nip

Believe me, you DO NOT want something called, Bud Nip or Chlorophopham sprayed on your food. Not only is it a plant growth inhibitor that puts the kibosh on potato sprouting, it probably sends kids into outer space too…or was that Sputnik?

As Congress continues to debate ways to regulate pesticides and restrict the EPA’s ability to protect our food, water and air, I couldn’t help but think that the little girl in the video below might just be the best advertisement for eating organic fruits and vegetables.

Bud Nip, Sputnik…whatever. It’s not good to send our kids the message that spraying pesticides on their food is ok. Plus, as you’ll see in this video, kids are too smart for that nonsense – they want pesticides like Bud Nip nipped in the bud.

Opening Up

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain closed in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

So, I’ve been writing these advocacy posts for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force because I truly believe our families are at risk of losing something vitally important – clean air. As you may have read, I am a teacher – joining this non-political team of uber-parent bloggers is a wonderful way for me to learn more about an important environmental issue, and to share the information with you. Do I have my personal political views? Sure, don’t you? But, that’s not what this blog is about. It is about the things that matter in creating healthy and sustainable lives. However…

Taking a risk for something I believe in has caused me to lose a few subscribers. I love my subscribers – losing even one is sad. But, please don’t cry for me because Econesting gains new Subscribers, Facebook and Twitter fans daily. I want to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, for reading all my posts.

Credit: Jordyn Cormier

Rachel Carson: The Power Of One

After listening to a Moms Clean Air Force webinar, it struck me that protecting the air our kids breathe can seem so overwhelming that one might feel powerless against the onslaught of information. I am reminded that one individual can, and did, change our nation’s pollution history. Rachel Carson used her extensive scientific knowledge, her prolific writing skills, and her love of nature, to make citizens aware of the dangerous chemicals in our air. She not only cleaned up a pollution problem, she led the way for the EPA to clean up the air for the future.

Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book, Silent Spring called for a ban on the chemical DDT, and other harmful pesticides. She provided scientific evidence of the devastating effects these chemicals had on living things – changing the way we viewed pollution forever.

Carson was already a renowned nature author and marine biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when she heard from a friend on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, about large bird kills that had occurred as the result of DDT sprayings. To no avail, Carson tried to gain the interest of a magazine to publish her findings about the incident. Then she decided to go ahead and tackle writing a book about the issue.

In Carson’s meticulous prose, Silent Spring describes how chemicals enter the food chain and accumulate in the fatty tissue of the bodies of humans and animals – causing cancer and genetic damage. Carson’s conclusion was that DDT and other pesticides had irrevocably harmed birds and animals. She also presented an alarming statement that the pesticide had contaminated the entire world’s food supply. In the most evocative chapter, “A Fable for Tomorrow,” depicts an American town where all life “from fish to birds to apple blossoms to human children had been silenced by the insidious effects of DDT.”

In the early 1960′s, The New Yorker picked up the story. Ater the release of the article, claims by chemical companies and terrified readers attacked Carson’s words: “If man were to faithfully follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.” ~ American Cyanamid Chemical Company

Much to the chemical company’s dismay, and because of Carson’s findings, DDT was eventually banned. Many believe Carson was one of the inspirations behind the formation of the EPA: “There is no question that Silent Spring prompted the Federal Government to take action against water and air pollution – as well as against the misuse of chemicals – several years before it otherwise might have moved.” ~ from a government natural resources expert after Carson’s death

Rachel Carson’s message still resonates strong today. Let the legacy of Silent Spring serve as an awareness wake-up call: All living creatures are vulnerable – the littlest ones have the most to lose.

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, what if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” ~ Rachel Carson

I highly recommend reading Silent Spring. One summer, my family visited the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Maine. It is a beautiful vacation spot, and an idyllic environment to view the habitats of coastal creatures. The tidal salt marsh is particularly fun for hands-on exploration. Teaching the powerful message that each and every one of us can clean up the air is a gift worth sharing with our kids.

Main Photo: Chris-Lamprianidis via Deviantart