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Moms Clean Air Force

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There are some things we simply can’t buy. Clean air is one.

That's why Moms are joining together, to come out in strength for our kids’ right to clean air — just as our parents fought for us, forty years ago, to get the Clean Air Act signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Moms Clean Air Force is nonpartisan–because clean air should be more important than politics.

At Moms Clean Air Force, they believe in Naptime Activism. Their online action center, makes it easy and fast for busy parents to make their voices heard—while baby naps.

Learn how you can do your share to further this worthy cause.

Q: When was Moms Clean Air Force founded?
A: We launched our website at the end of August 2011; we had months of brainstorming and marshaling resources earlier.

Q: What is the meaning behind the title of your organization?
A: Moms really are a force to be reckoned with. We wanted a name that was powerful and the idea of a “force” really conveys that. We are fueled by Mother Love, so we thought it would be appropriate to include “Moms” in the name as well. As our mission is fighting air pollution to protect our children’s health, Moms Clean Air Force seemed to be a perfect fit.

Q: How did you know this was the time to start your company?
A: We are inundated with suggestions for how to buy our way out of problems: buy organic food, buy BPA free plastic. But you cannot buy clean air. You can buy the right to pollute--but you can't buy the right to protect the air. I realized there was really no effective way for parents to join their voices to fight toxic air pollution on behalf of our children’s health. I have always been interested in global warming; I think it is the biggest problem facing humankind. The idea of forming an organization that would both empower parents and work towards solving such a major issue really hit home.

Q: Who was your biggest supporter when you decided to design organic clothing?
A: My work with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) -- started with a call from one of those friend-of-a-friend connections that can change a life. Their marketing director had been a reader of House & Garden, where I served as editor in chief for more than a decade. She explained that they had been thinking about how we to reach people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists with the news of the work EDF was doing.

My biggest support has come from a couple of donors who are also mothers, and deeply concerned about the environment.

Q: Did your passion for clean air begin before or after you became a mom?
A: I never really thought about clean air, even when I was a parent of young children. I sort of assumed the EPA was taking care of things, because of the Clean Air Act. And it was. Things have gotten much, much better. But then I began to read about mercury in tuna fish. And I connected the dots, finally. That pollution in our food is coming from our air. From the poisons spewing out of coal-fired power plants. My concern about global warming grew out of that--because those coal plants are huge contributors to carbon pollution.

I have been obsessed with global warming for a long time. Even when I was at House and Garden. I’m a gardener I see how things are changing. Global warming, when you get right down to it, is an air pollution problem. Our planet is our home, it’s where my children and I hope one day my grandchildren will live. Thinking about my children’s future definitely fueled the fire behind my passion to do something.

My children–and all of our children–are the inspiration for Moms Clean Air Force. Even now, as my children have grown up and left home, I realize I’m still their mom. It has made me think about what kind of world we are leaving behind. What have I done as their mom to try to make that better? How can I model the importance of citizenship—of participating in our democracy—to my grown children?

Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you face spreading your mission to the world?
A: Communicating the problem in an effective way is always a challenge. We constantly have to think of new ways to communicate the problem, ways that reach beyond the polarized debate, and ways that connect it to tangible effects. I see global warming as an air pollution problem. But quite apart from climate change, air pollution has a direct, terrible impact on our health. Children and older people are much more vulnerable to it. A lot of people take our right to clean air for granted. Everyone should be telling Washington: listen to your mothers! The Clean Air Act is sacred, and should be kept strong.

Q: How important is it to have a foundation like Moms Clean Air Force founded?
A: Air pollution is at the heart of our biggest environmental problems. Parents are such a powerful force. We know moms are really busy. Especially moms with babies. So we make it easy to be engaged citizens–while the baby naps. Sign a petition, make your voice heard–with enough time left over for a nap yourself! It is effective because we respect the craziness of a mom’s schedule–but we don’t count her out either. Sometimes, being a good mom means being an engaged citizen.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of the work you do?
A: I love knowing that I am doing everything in my power to leave the world a better place.

Q: Tell our readers why it is so important that they JOIN THE FORCE.
A: It is the voices of our members that make Moms Clean Air Force so powerful. It is easy to get overwhelmed by hearing about air pollution and its terrible health effects, and feel helpless. Not only does Moms Clean Air Force provide the means to do something that will have an impact, we have many resources on our website that help educate you on the issues as well. Your voice counts, for much more than you might realize! No politician wants to make a mother angry.

We are not past the point of no return. There is hope: our action can make great changes. Many power plants, for instance, have already stopped spewing mercury. We have to get the bad actors to filter the air. And global warming will be addressed by everyone who understands the benefits of energy efficiency, and of not polluting our air. We want politicians to hear the voices of thousands of moms, and to know that we care about our children’s health—and our grandchildren’s.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of giving back to their community but doesn’t know where to start?
A: Go where the love is. If you have something that you love to do, let yourself move towards that and stop trying to control the outcome of everything. You can make a living and do something that you feel passionate about, it just might not be so obvious what the answer is. So you have to open your mind to possibilities.



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