On Wednesday Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF), an organization created to harness the power of moms, hosted its first Twitter Chat for moms on the disparities in African American asthma rates compared to the general population. As stated on its website; “Our children can’t fight for themselves. We have to fight for them.” Who better to engage on the issue of clean air and asthma rates than moms who have to deal first hand with the fear they have every time their child suffers from an asthma attack, let alone the financial burden created by the high medical bills a child with asthma incurs.
Some frightening statistics led to the Twitter Chat:
- African American children have a 260% higher emergency department visit rate, a 250% higher hospitalization rate, and a 500% higher death rate from asthma, as compared with Caucasian children.
- From 2003-2005, African American children had a death rate 7 times that of Caucasian children.
- African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 4.5 times more often than Caucasians in 2004.
- In 2006, African Americans were three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than the White population.
- Children in poor families are more likely to ever have been diagnosed with asthma.
Themes from the chat included using the power of these startling statistics to educate moms in communities that are directly affected and empowering moms with the information they need to virally spread this message to other moms on the ground or via social media.
One of MCAF’s major focuses has been on political action, directly targeting the EPA to create stronger air pollution rules. Its cause was given a boost on Thursday when the EPA announced tougher standards for coal fired power plants which will reduce emissions from hundreds of power plants by millions of tons; improving the air quality of 240 million Americans and preventing as many as 34,000 premature deaths.
What other sustainability initiatives and organizations should engage the power of moms in the fight for change? Women are already a powerful force in the economy; how can that force be leveraged for good?
Chelsea Souter holds her MBA in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School and has a strong interest in impact investing, international sustainable development, and storytelling for implementation.
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