This post was sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force. All opinions are my own.
When my daughter was little, she had breathing troubles.
We had a standing weekly appointment with her pediatrician. We had a routine and a game we always played when I gave her regular nebulizer treatments. She had three or four different prescriptions for allergy medicine and nebulizer medicine and steroids for when things got really bad.
Thankfully, her breathing has gotten much better. We moved from a more polluted area near a busy street and airplane flight path (our cream-colored patio umbrella turned a dingy gray from the exhaust and other things in the air) to a less smoggy area. She got older and I think outgrew it a little. But the importance of good air quality stuck with me. I’ve seen how hard it can be on little kids when the air is bad.
So when I was invited to a Mama Summit in Aurora, Colorado last Monday, I was excited to see what they had in store.
There were toys for the kids to play with, and a craft area where they could write.
There were delicious tacos (SCORE!!)
There was music, and poetry.
And there were speakers – city council members, and local advocates for clean air, and moms whose children have been affected by the poor air quality. I learned that even though we left a smoggy city to move to Colorado, there are seven counties here in Colorado who earned a failing grade for high ozone days. Five more earned a D.
Aurora City Council member Crystal Murillo
Fortunately, there are people working to change that, and there are many ways for local citizens to get involved in fighting for clean air. If you’re interested in getting involved in working for cleaner air, Christine Berg, a Colorado field consultant for Moms Clean Air Force (and the mayor of Lafayette, CO) has the following suggestions:
5 ways to Improve Air Quality Right Now:
Ask your county or city to join your state’s association on recycling and composting and to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the entire city. (On a personal note, we’ve been composting for a while here at our house. You can read more about how to get started here.
2) Plant Trees
Planting trees and plants along roadways can reduce particle concentrations by acting as a barrier between roadways and schools or playgrounds. They provide shaded space that encourages active transportation (such as walking and bicycling) as an alternative to vehicle use. If your city is not a member, become an active member of Tree City USA.
*We have a number of state and city parks that are always looking for people to help plant trees and do other volunteer work to clean up our green spaces.*
3) Don’t Idle
Encourage your city to adopt an Anti-Idling Ordinance to improve air quality in areas frequented by children. Anti-Idling ordinances in areas such as schools, playgrounds, daycares and hospitals reduce the number of respiratory illnesses, especially in children.
4) Take the Pledge
Ask your city to commit to a municipal clean energy goal. So far there are nine Colorado cities and counties that have taken the pledge to convert to 100% renewable energy!
5) Sustainability Board or Commission
Join your city’s sustainability/climate resiliency board. If one doesn’t exist get it started. These boards advise or support the mayor and city council and are made up of citizen volunteers. Usually, you need to be a resident of the city where you want to be a member. You may also need to be registered to vote there, but that’s not always a requirement. Many boards have empty positions and would love to have you be involved!
I’m trying to raise my kids to have a concern for our air quality and environment as well. We hike in the foothills to appreciate the beauty of this amazing state, and I talk to them about how to care for it. We talk about how the trees provide so many things for us – homes for various animals and birds and insects, clean air for all of us, food and flowers to eat and appreciate. I think one of the best ways to make sure my children grow to be people who want to take care of this planet is to teach them to love it now.
If you’re interested in getting involved in working for cleaner air, you can visit Moms Clean Air Force for more information and tips to get involved. You can also work to plan a Mama Summit in your own city. Finally, visit Colorado Moms Know Best to learn more about protecting Colorado’s outdoors and quality of life, especially our clean air.