Living in Los Angeles is not for the faint of heart. We live with the constant threat of tsunamis, wild fires, earthquakes (too often referred to as “The Big One”), and contaminants in our air. You can say it’s the price we pay to live in average 72-degree climate and under the most gorgeous skies, not to mention our sunsets, mountain ranges, sushi and beaches (albeit freezing waters!).
Last week was an intense one, to say the least, with the constant news barrage regarding the radiation particles coming to our coast from the tragic nuclear power plant explosions in Japan. It is devastating to see what is happening in Japan, and even more so when you can see the exact same thing happening to you at any given moment. It makes you much more aware of the planet we have been placed upon and our responsibility to it as living organisms that are here to protect it. It makes you feel more alive as part of an evolutionary chain that calls Earth a planet that is a living being, just as much as you and I. It moves, it changes, it shifts, it breathes, it evolves.
I was in this state of mind when I received an email from the Environmental Defense Fund inviting Roxana and I to join a group of moms fighting to save the Clean Air Act Amendments proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From that email I learned that the Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1970, yet the last amendment made to it was in 1990. Twenty-one years later, a new set of rules—Mercury/Air Toxics Rule for Power Plants– have been issued by the EPA to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from power plants, the most dangerous being mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases. These toxic air pollutants are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects, like brain damage in exposed infants and asthma in children. In fact, nearly 5 million children suffer from asthma and childhood cancer rates are rising dramatically. Roxana’s children are part of the asthma statistics.
We have decided to accept the invitation to join the Moms Clean Air Force project that aims to prevent Congress from limiting the EPA’s authority to ensure clean air for everybody, especially our kids. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation estimated that 80 percent of Latinos live in areas that failed to meet one U.S. EPA air quality standard, so the Latina moms’ voice is a critical part of this project.
We rarely get political in SpanglishBaby, but this is Earth politics and a self-empowerment issue to protect the air our children breathe. As I already mentioned, it is a personal issue for us as well since Roxana’s children (one of them my godchild) suffer from asthma, and my family lives in one of the nine most polluted places in the world and the city with the most ozone pollution in the United States; air pollution that causes 9,200 premature deaths per year in California. How’s that for this hitting close to home?
Those that know me, know that I don’t believe in coincidences. My mantra is always “everything happens for a reason.” If we are being called to speak out about and help defend the Clean Air Act as concerned parents, then there must be a higher reason for it. We hope you allow us this space and help us by speaking out, sharing our posts and commenting on the ruling.
Public Comment on the PROPOSED MERCURY AND AIR TOXICS STANDARDS
The public has 60 days to comment on the ruling, and it’s really important that as many concerned parents as possible participate in this process. Please comment by emailing the EPA.
Comment email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emails should reference these Docket ID numbers.
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0044 (NSPS action)
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234 (NESHAP action)
Disclosure: We are receiving a small honorarium for our time writing, speaking and participating in events as part of the Moms Clean Air Force. Be sure that we would not associate our names, likeness and blog if we did not believe in the cause.