Why I Risked Getting Arrested For My Child


By Harriet Shugarman, Moms Clean Air Force guest blogger

What is the connection between the proposed XL Pipeline that would carry Tar Sands Oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas, and my children’s health? And why would I risk arrest to stop this pipeline from being built?

My son suffers terribly from seasonal allergies;  he is also extremely allergic to poison ivy, something that is prolific in my neighborhood. Doctors are telling us that seasonal allergies are on the rise, and that poison ivy is lasting longer and appearing later into the fall and earlier in the spring. Scientists are noticing too, and are looking more closely at the links between climate change and public health.

My son’s allergies require him to take countless allergy medications that mask some but not all of his symptoms. He loves fall soccer and spring lacrosse, but everyday he plays, he pays the price for being outside. Also, each fall and spring it seems we take a trip to the doctor, for stronger medicine than we can get over the counter to treat his annual and reoccurring reactions to poison ivy. We joke that he is “allergic to New Jersey,” but unfortunately it’s not a joke and we see his suffering, and his allergies, getting worse and worse every year.

According to studies published by the US National Library of Medicine, the US Department of Agriculture, and researchers at Harvard and Duke universities, increases in carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that in its manmade form is the number one contributing factor to climate change – is aggravating allergies and worsening the toxicity levels of poison ivy. High CO2 levels were shown to produce more allergenic forms of urushiol, the toxin in poison ivy that makes you itch.

Also, ragweed, a common cause of seasonal allergies in adults and children, produces “super charged and more potent” pollen with increases of CO2, causing more sneezing and asthma like symptoms. Studies are also pointing out that this CO2 laden pollen is more allergenic then other forms of pollen.

10 Worst Cities for Fall Allergies

The USDA found that, “jumping from preindustrial atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (280ppm) to 1999 levels (370ppm) doubled the amount of pollen that ragweed produces.” And according to a recent article on Rodale, “Allergies account for about half of asthma attack triggers, meaning skyrocketing pollen counts of fast-growing trees in the spring and ragweed in the fall are landing more people in the hospital for asthma symptoms.”

For my children’s health and for their future I have drawn my line in the sand and will be asking our President to stand with me and help me fight for my children’s health and for their future. This proposed pipeline is one giant nail in the coffin perpetuating our dependence on fossil fuels and slowing down our move to a carbon-free energy future; a necessity to ensure cleaner air for my children to breath.

For information and many ways you too can fight for clean air for our children’s health, JOIN MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE.

Follow the protests at TarSandsAction and check back for ClimateMama blog updates or on twitter @climatemama.

More: Oil Pipeline Won’t Actually Create That Many Jobs

And: 7 Signs Your Lungs Are in Danger


Aud Nordby
Aud nordby4 years ago


Penny C.
penny C4 years ago

Thank you.

Joe Shults
Joe Shults6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson6 years ago

We have techknowledge to advance past oil...to bad we think in terms of money when it comes to a plant that no amount of money can buy back.

G A Rieck
G A R6 years ago

everytime I hear a politico talk about leaving national debt to our children or grandchildren, I wonder why no one says anything about leaving clean air or water to our children or grandchildren.

Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

To Roseanne: Very happy for you and oil working for you. It does NOT however work so well for others like in the middle east, Alaska Exxon/Valdez spill, Gulf spill and Yellow stone are only a few. It is not just oil, it is massive live stock farming and its massive waste being washed into rivers, pollution into rivers from all types of industry, power plants. Its Nuclear power plants, strip mining, mountain top removal, fracking, clear cutting of forests to grow Palm Trees, soy beans, its wood cellulose in food, its chemicals, mercury, and dyes in our foods that cause cancer and disrupt hormones. When we pay all of these agencies to protect us from just that?
Again, good for you that it hasn't destroyed your water, food and no one has been stricken with cancer, because it angers me to watch a loved one die at a youngish age from a cancer caused from poisons in our food industries, work environments etc., and these agencies we pay, work for the other-side!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

great article.. thanks

Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

These neanderthals think everything and everyone was put here for them to make profit, No matter the consequences! They are INCAPABLE of learning, growing, evolving. They care not for their own children's future planet, let alone ours! They all complain about regulations? Well they do NOT own the planet and have NO right to DESTROY everyone's air, water, soil and freedoms, just so "they" can make profits? ( profits that they do NOTHING to better the world with) and too bad they cannot regulate themselves? TOO WEAK!
We have the ability to actually live in a total awesome, responsible world, but these neanderthals and their fantasy world, insanity and selfish irresponsibilities keep the rest of us stagnated in their chaos!

Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

I don't know where my comment went?

Melissa Franklin
Melissa Franklin6 years ago

Kudos to you!!!!