By Abbie Walston, Moms Clean Air Force
Last weekend, after our journey up to the North Pole on the Polar Express, I forgot to ask you for what I really want for Christmas. Perhaps it was the excitement of traveling on a train through the frigid wilderness, the warmth of the gingerbread cookie and hot chocolate in my tummy, or the look of delight on my child’s face as he listened to the little silver bell ringing that distracted me from telling you the gift I would like most.
Santa, won’t you give me the gift of clean air this Christmas? I want my son Joshua to be able to breathe easily. I want your help to protect him from:
1. Asthma! Winter is an especially tough time for children with asthma. Emergency room visits due to asthma increase in the winter months, so instead of bundling up to build Frosty the Snowman, some children spend frigid winter days in the hospital. The best way to minimize asthma attacks in the winter is to control triggers, and limiting air pollution is a great step toward healthier children.
2. Allergies! I suffer from seasonal allergies, but I’m fortunate that it is an annoyance, not a serious health problem. However, as climate changes due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, seasonal allergies are on the rise. Plants produce more pollen and allergy sufferers feel the effects. Children who live in areas with air that have higher levels of a variety of pollutants also have more allergies.
3. Mercury! According to 23 of our nation’s leading scientific experts on mercury: “the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) will protect the health of thousands of Americans each year.” I want halibut, tuna, and my own breast milk to be as low in mercury as possible, and I want coal-fired power plants to stop spewing mercury into our air and our food. Did you know that air pollution is even linked to obesity and diabetes?
Clean air is a gift that everyone can enjoy. Rudolph’s nose may guide you through heavy fog and snow storms, but let’s clear the air and get rid of the smog so he can breathe easy. Please Santa, won’t you join the Moms Clean Air Force in our mission to give children clean air? I know you have magic, but we don’t need that for clean air. We just need our representatives to tell polluters to clean up their act. And while you’re at it, could you please stop giving out coal to those on the naughty list? Even naughty people don’t deserve dirty coal!