A Sunday Op-ed message from Kelly Martin.
Kelly, I hope that your Mother’s Day was as wonderful as this message!
A mom’s wish: a clean planet for our children
Being a mother of three small children isn’t easy. It’s a seemingly endless juggling act between providing my children with the love and support they need, holding down a full-time job, caring for my marriage and sneaking in a few moments for myself. At the end of the day, of course, I wouldn’t change a thing. Like most moms, I’ll do anything to protect my children, and that’s why I am motivated to fight climate change. Worrying about the climate isn’t quite as bread-and-butter as getting kids to school on time or picking up the groceries, yet I couldn’t have a bigger worry for their future.
Most mothers know children are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses from air pollution because their immune systems and organs are still developing. My children’s generation will face the threat of climate disruption that will have untold impacts on our health if we don’t take action soon.
For me, knowing that the largest source of climate pollution in Western North Carolina is right here in Asheville — Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant — brings the issue home. How many children in WNC would benefit from the cleaner air and water that would come from phasing out this plant and powering our communities with clean energy? If we multiply this by the hundreds of communities across the country that are decreasing their reliance on coal and investing instead in a clean energy, we can begin to see the ripple effects: healthier kids, healthier communities and stronger families. On Mother’s Day, reflecting on what is happening and what our future can look like brings me hope.
Thousands of North Carolina citizens — many of them mothers like me — have taken action this year to stop climate change. In courtrooms, the General Assembly, Utilities Commission public hearings and Duke Energy’s corporate offices, North Carolinians are calling for a clean-energy future that changes the course on climate change.
Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, is also a mother of three. She has the experience and knowledge to develop and implement clean-air standards, like the pending Carbon Pollution Standard for new power plants that will protect our children’s health and address the causes of climate change. She will continue the EPA’s mission to ensure our air is clean and the health of our children and families is protected. We need a strong EPA to protect our kids and a strong leader like McCarthy at the helm. and I hope Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr will vote to confirm her nomination.
This Mother’s Day I plan to spend precious time with my family. And when I return to work on Monday, I hope more moms will join me in advocating for a clean and safe future for our children.
Kelly Martin is the N.C. Beyond Coal Campaign representative for the Sierra Club.