Moms Clean Air Force fights for fresh air

Each of us needs to breathe in order to live, and the cleaner the air, the healthier we will be.

A grassroots organization called Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) wants to protect our right to clean air and they’re committed to educating people about what’s at stake if we don’t.

This national movement is comprised of more than 100,000 moms, along with a few dads, and has support from celebrities such as Julianne Moore, Blythe Danner, Jessica Capshaw, Laila Ali and more.

There are chapters around the country, including two here in Michigan, and each one is a community of parents and others fighting air pollution. Children are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of air pollution and MCAF makes it easy for concerned parents to become engaged citizens.

Their website includes resources and articles about air pollution and its damaging effects, as well as proposed changes to laws and quick ways to contact political representatives. MCAF also has home parties where a representative from the organization brings food and knowledge to share with interested parents and others.

Starla McDermott, a field organizer for the MCAF, says the local West Michigan chapter is currently focusing its outreach on two areas: educating people about Proposal 3, and encouraging more discussions about climate change from all political parties.

“We are non-partisan,” McDermott says. “We’re all about the health of kids, so we don’t pick sides.”

The U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 to help clean up air pollution. That same year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created with the task of carrying out the law. According to their website, six of the most common air pollutions have decreased by 50 percent since then, industrial air pollution has been reduced by 70 percent and new cars operate 90 percent cleaner now.
That’s all good news, however, some lobbyists and corporations are now trying to change the current anti-pollution laws in the Clean Air Act and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Some people don’t realize the Clean Air Act is under attack,” McDermott says. “It’s been kind of quiet.”

More than 60 percent of our state’s energy currently comes from coal and 100 percent of it is imported. These coal-fired power plants emit mercury, arsenic, chromium and other toxic chemicals into the air, causing premature deaths and an increase in asthma, lung disease, heart attacks and harmful effects in the development of brains, hearts and lungs of babies and children.

Proposal 3, an initiative on the November 6 Michigan ballot, aims to strengthen our state’s renewable energy standard 25 percent by 2025. This means that 25 percent of our state’s energy would come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydropower and biofuels by the year 2025, giving our state cleaner, healthier air and water.

Opponents of the Proposal 3 ballot initiative argue that it will cost more to use renewable energy sources, but the 30 other states that already have stronger renewable energy standards have seen their costs go down.

The initiative also hopes to bring 44,000 high paying jobs to Michigan, with less than $1.25 per month added to the average family’s utility bill.   

In addition to educating people about Michigan’s Proposal 3 ballot initiative, MCAF is encouraging everyone to contact their politicians and ask that climate change be an issue discussed on the campaign trail. The organization believes climate change is one of the most important issues facing our world and it wants voters to be informed on what the candidates propose to do about it.

No one should take clear air for granted. Moms Clean Air Force will continue to fight air pollution for our health and that of our children’s. If you want to get involved, here’s how you can get started:  

-    Visit Moms Clean Air Force online to find out more.
-    Find out more about Proposal 3 that will be on Michigan’s November 6, 2012 ballot.
-    Get involved and take action.
-    Make a donation to Moms Clean Air Force.
-    Like Moms Clean Air Force on Facebook.
-    Follow @MomsCAF on Twitter.
-    Follow Moms Clean Air Force on Pinterest.
-    Attend the Urban Cycling Extravaganza on Saturday, October 13 from 4-9 p.m. at John Collins Park. Moms Clean Air Force is sponsoring and organizing all of the kid's activities for the event.
-    Attend the Grand Rapids Kid’s Marathon and Health Fair on October 20 at the David D. Hunting YMCA, starting at 1:30 p.m. Moms Clean Air force is a sponsor.

Source: Starla McDermott, Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force
Writer:  Heidi Stukkie, Do Good Editor

Photos provided by Moms Clean Air Force.

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