I was a little reckless in college. Passionate. Opinionated. I was in love with environmentalism. I recycled regilously. I sent letters to politicians advocating change and supporting their eco-friendly decisions. The more I got involved, the more I wished I had time to change my major or even double major so I could just stay in the wonderful world of people who were as angry about pollution as I was. I went to college in Oklahoma where there are some significant issues with pollution and poor air quality. I truly enjoyed my weekends spent slogging around the Tulsa waterways picking up trash. I loved the people I met through those groups and recently, when I found my t-shirt from the Environmental Club I was VP of on campus and honestly wished for those days of camaraderie. Since then, I’ve grown up and learned a lot about how to NOT turn people off when inviting them to join you in a cause. Also, I haven’t cornered anyone in my family with a non-reusable drinking bottle and demanded they listen to my lecture on plastics in landfills and BPA and waste and …
I’m a mother now. I can’t engage a complete stranger in a debate about the evils of GMOs without consideration for my children. I want to be involved, but there are limited opportunities in my town. A few months ago, I was introduced to the group Moms Clean Air Force and started to educate myself a little bit more about the need for advocates right here in Ohio. Were you aware that based on air pollution data Ohio is the most toxic state in the entire country? That pollution is partly comprised of mercury. Ohio is home to 8 of the 100 top polluting factories in the US. I can’t say that I’m proud that the Buckeye state is number 2 in the nation for mercury pollution from power plants. There are millions of children in the US whose lives have been devastated by asthma; asthma which can be triggered by environmental irritants.
As a parent, I don’t want this to be the future of my children, or my grandchildren. I want them to be happy and healthy. I want them to be able to continue to play outside daily, without fear of poisoning. I’m not being dramatic, either. Sadly, more cancers and illnesses are being linked to the contaminated air we breathe. Mercury itself is a neurotoxin. This is why they always warn pregnant and nursing women to keep their consumption of tuna (and other fishes) low. Mercury accumulates in the fatty tissues of the body, like the brain, and slowly poisons it’s victims. Over 400,000 newborns in the US are impacted by mercury every single year.
Tuesday night, I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with Moms Clean Air Force OHIO! That’s right, we have our own satellite office in Columbus. I had met with Jenny (who runs the office and it’s contacts) in December and came away from our time amped up and excited to be more involved. When I got the invitation to the event on Tuesday night, I hunted down a sitter right away. On Tuesday, the 3 ladies from the Columbus office and MCAF’s founder Dominique Browning hosted an event to introduce Ohio mothers to the real issue at hand regarding air pollution. Fresh off the victory of new standards for mercury and air toxics standards by the EPA, we are all bolstered with the hope that this is the first step for a better future for our children.
I loved this event. I loved spending time with the other mothers and hearing them ask questions. Listening to Dominique and Jenny speak was inspiring and empowering. There is nothing like real mothers speaking from their hearts to stir up your own emotions and passions. I am excited to continue to learn about the air quality in Ohio and get more involved with MCAF-Ohio. I hope that you, as readers and especially those here in Ohio take the time to read about MCAF and what we are trying to accomplish. Please consider signing up to be another voice to Congress asking them to stand up for our children. They are our joy and our future, let’s make sure they get to enjoy their lives in good health.