Mothers are some of our greatest advocates in the fight for healthy air. Many of our amazing volunteers are mothers who know how important it is to protect children's health by safeguarding clean air protections.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the dangerous health impacts of air pollution for a number of reasons – their lungs are still developing, and they are more active and spend more time outdoors. Children with asthma are especially at risk from air pollution, as air pollution can trigger asthma attacks that can lead to scary trips to the hospital – something every mother of a child with asthma worries about.
To learn more about what motivates some mothers to advocate for healthy air, we spoke with Laura Turner Seydel, co-founder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air, a program of the American Lung Association of the Southeast. Mothers & Others for Clean Air is a partnership of leading public health and child advocacy organizations that work to advance public policy to improve air quality and fight climate change, which harms human health and makes air pollution harder to clean up. According to Laura, a mother's desire for her child to have healthy air to breathe is universal.
"From that first breath, when your child enters the world, every mother wants the air their children breathes to be clean," Turner Seydel said. "Moms have all kinds of interests, but I don't think there is a single mom who doesn't want the best for her children. We are uniquely positioned and privileged to speak up for the health of our children; I've seen that in every community and continent I have visited. While we are diverse in our interests, mothers will work tirelessly to protect their children's health, so I wanted to bring together mothers and healthcare professionals to speak up for clean air. I am committed to doing my part so that not only my children, but all children, are breathing clean, healthy air."
Lyndsay Alexander Moseley with her son
Laura Kellogg, Claudia Ramos, Karen Jakpor, and many other mothers are clean air advocates and working to safeguard children's health from the dangers of air pollution. In fact, American Lung Association's own Assistant Vice President and Healthy Air Campaign Director Lyndsay Moseley Alexander said that after her child was born, her drive to clean up the air we breathe became personal.
"My infant son provides a daily reminder of the vulnerability of children," Alexander said. "His airways are so tiny, and he certainly cannot control pollution in the air he breathes. That's why it is so important that we continue to fight for air pollution limits that are based on what the evidence shows is needed to protect public health. And of course, why we need to address climate change."
The good news is America's overall air quality is improving steadily, thanks to the implementation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act – fueled in part by the remarkable advocacy efforts of moms across the country who are making their voices heard. The bad news is there is still a lot of work to do. The Lung Association's recent 2017 "State of the Air" report said that four in ten Americans are still breathing unhealthy air.
The American Lung Associations is so appreciative of all moms helping to clean up our air. And everyone, not just moms, can help make the air cleaner for all Americans! Take a moment to send a message to decision makers in Washington, D.C., today to urge them to protect children's health from air pollution and climate change.
Make sure to join our Lung Action Network and help us advocate for policies that will save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.