If I traveled to a busy metropolitan area like New York, I would expect to breathe in more ozone pollution and be cautious about keeping an inhaler around for my youngest child. But I’m surprised to see that even the beautiful Knoxville area gets a failing grade for high ozone days from the American Lung Association! In fact, Blount County, where Lamar Alexander Parkway leads to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, gets an F for high ozone days in the ALA’s latest State of the Air report.
No wonder the former US Education Secretary and Tennessee native, US Senator Lamar Alexander, is speaking up these days to clarify that he understands the well-established science on human-caused climate change. He spoke recently about this with Moms Clean Air Force. I appreciate that Senator Alexander wants to preserve the natural beauty of Tennessee’s mountains for future generations to enjoy.
Regional findings of the Third US National Climate Assessment are that our forests are at increased risk from insects like the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid as well as from pathogens, while summer heat stress on livestock and water availability are other likely climate change consequences for the Southeast.
What hits closest to home for me is that the same air pollution contributing to climate change is also putting our children’s health at risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that dirty air can trigger breathing problems especially for children with asthma. In addition to pediatric asthma, Tennessee has adults at risk for breathing problems with adult asthma, COPD and cardiovascular disease.
As a mother and someone who cares for my neighbors, I simply cannot stand by and let our state’s decision makers not realize how important human health and natural resources are to Tennesseans. That’s why I plan on joining with others in Moms Clean Air Force Tennessee this spring in Nashville.
“The focus of the Mama Summit is to emphasize the impacts of climate change and air pollution on our children’s health, while promoting strong policies that will offer children much needed protection,” explained MCAF Tennessee Field Organizer Lindsay Pace. “It is important that our Tennessee state leaders know we are paying attention to their actions.”
The Mama Summit on March 31 is everyone’s chance to speak up for clean air and a clean state. Replacing dirty fossil fuel energy sources with cleaner, renewable energy is obvious for anyone thinking of future generations. These issues are too important to be partisan, and you don’t even have to consider yourself an environmentalist to know it makes good sense to support a healthy economic future with healthy people.
Please join me for a gathering of moms, pediatricians and other concerned Tennessee citizens at the State Capitol building in Nashville on the morning of March 31. You can register here for the event that gives everyone a chance to use your voice to speak up for sound policies. If you are in another state, you can check here for a Mama Summit in your area. Even if you can’t make it to your state capital in person, you can always join the Mama Summit online. I look forward to seeing you in Nashville!
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