We were delighted to talk with Dominique Browning, the co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force, a non-profit organization which harnesses the strength of mothers’ love to fight back against polluters.
Dominique (pictured below with Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015) knows that moms have passion and power — an unbeatable combination.
She’s built an amazing team of bloggers and celebrity supporters, as well as a forum for concerned parents to work together through Mom’s Clean Air Force’s online action center, making it easy and fast for busy parents to make their voices heard.
What inspired you to start Mom’s Clean Air Force?
Dominique: My children–and all of our children–are the inspiration for Moms Clean Air Force. We are fueled by Mother Love.
What kind of world are we leaving behind for them? And how are we modeling good citizenship for them? There are some things money cannot buy–like clean air and clean water. No home air filter system is strong enough to fight pollution! You have to engage with politicians and with laws to protect the air. That’s what we’re doing with Moms Clean Air Force–fighting air pollution to protect our children’s health.
How has it changed your perspective?
Dominique: My perspective is wildly changed. I thought the Clean Air Act, signed into law in 1970, had done what needed to be done. Was I ever wrong!
The skies are bluer, and a lot has been improved. But I had no idea how many invisible toxins were spewing into the air from coal-fired power plants, industrial boilers, cement plants, and, of course, cars and trucks.
What is the biggest air pollution issue we are currently facing?
Dominique: The biggest air pollution problem we face is global warming. And yes, that’s a pollution problem: Greenhouse gases. We’ve upset the natural balance of this precious substance that gives us life. Air. We are changing our climate, and we are creating enormous problems, that will last several generations. We must stop polluting our home.
How does that impact the health of our families?
Dominique: Asthma rates among young, under four, children are skyrocketing. Asthma is triggered by air pollution. Mercury has contaminated our fish to such an extant that pregnant women are warned not to eat tuna! Mercury is a terrible neurotoxin that harms the developing brains of fetuses and toddlers. And their lungs and hearts, too.
Do you think we past the point of no return, or is it still possible to stop or even reverse some of the contamination?
Dominique: We are absolutely 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 learned about the concept of nap time activism from Peggy O’Mara. Can you give us an example of how a busy mom or grandmother can make a difference during those brief breaks those of us with small children can carve out?
Dominique: Yes, we created Nap Time Notes. It takes a few seconds to sign a petition or send an email to your political representatives. It takes a few minutes to hand write a note to your Senator telling her or him that you expect a vote to strengthen pollution controls.
There are lots of things busy women can do to make their voices heard–and believe me, no one wants to make a politician angry.
It is time to tell Washington, “Listen to your mothers!”
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