Air pollution impacts our kids’ health whether you live in a community with oil and gas operations nearby or not, in a rural area or a city, in the mountains or on the Eastern Plains. We pick our priorities based on how we can tackle the issue of pollution to promote cleaner air for our children.
What’s so bad about pollution?
Did you know the American Lung Association gives failing grades to seven Colorado counties in their recent State of the Air report? Most of those counties are on the Front Range but the rest of the state regularly experiences harmful smog, carbon, and ozone pollution, too. Our air can’t handle more pollution – from any source – and we must do everything we can to make sure that the air our children breathe won’t make them sick.
Extended exposure to ground level ozone – common around oil and gas activity – can cause respiratory diseases, allergic or immune problems, and permanently scarred lung tissue in children. It also causes health problems like acute eye irritation, chest congestion, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and even premature death in the sick and elderly.
Ozone and carbon pollution from can also aggravate bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and other cardiopulmonary diseases. What’s more, babies and children are more vulnerable to many of the associated health effects generated from dirty energy operations because their lungs are still developing. Already in Colorado, approximately 1 out of 10 children have asthma.
How we work
The negative impact of air pollution on our kids’ health is why we do what we do. In 2013 and 2014, we worked tirelessly to push for a healthy balance in the Air Quality Control Commission rules for oil and gas production (read more about it here or here). Through that rule-making, Colorado became the first state to limit methane pollution from oil and gas operations. It’s this type of leadership that we expect of Colorado – we are a state that can take on a challenge, find balance and make sure future generations have healthy air!
So, how did we do it? We did what we always do. We organize creative events with our kids to reach local elected officials, other decision-makers, and the media. From meeting with firefighters to hosting a costume-and-climate Halloween party at the Butterfly Pavilion, we make each outing both educational to the media and decision-makers, as well as entertaining for our kids and parents. We also use our online presence to draw attention to the issues impacting our families all across Colorado. Check out our Facebook page or Twitter feed for examples of previous events – be sure to follow us too!
In 2015, our focus is on building support within Colorado for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan – the first ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. It’s the single greatest step toward fighting climate change-causing pollution that we, as a nation, have ever taken.
Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for nearly 40% of the pollution driving climate change and dirtying the air our children breathe. Thanks to our state’s history of leading the nation in clean energy, Colorado is already almost to the goal. If finalized, the Clean Power Plan will be something to be proud of: we will be leaving our kids an important clean air legacy.
We also believe that one of the best ways to clean our air and create a healthy environment for our children to grow up in, is to increase our homes’ and cities’ energy efficiency. If we use less energy in our day-to-day lives, we’ll lessen our reliance on dirty fossil fuels. Using less energy helps our pocket books and reduces the amount of pollution that dirty energy pumps in out our air our kids breathe.
Thankfully, Colorado is already a national leader on encouraging renewable energy. Despite knowing voters support clean, renewable energy, numerous annual attacks against are lodged against our state’s renewable energy standards every legislative session. There’s no rest for the weary: we need to make sure that our legislators, and power companies, know that Colorado moms stand up for our kids’ health! Renewable energy is clean and sustainable, compared to dirty fossil fuels, which are neither. Standing up for renewable energy is standing up for our kids’ clean air.