Green Parenting: Interview with Dominique Browning of Moms Clean Air Force

We are beyond thrilled to be hosting our largest event of the year next week in NYC, the 2012 Mommybites Summit. This year, as an effort to show our growing commitment to education and giving back to the community, we sought out a charity that was near and dear to our hearts. Well as you can imagine, the number of charities we all support is quite numbered but the team knows my heart beats green and my passion for the environment is one that resonates loudly with our community.

The charity we chose to champion and give prime billing at the Summit is Moms Clean Air Force. The mission of the MCAF is quite simple: clean up our air. As they say, being a good mom means being a good citizen and fighting for clean air is something we must all do because you can’t ignore it. I love this paragraph from their website:

Moms have passion and power — an unbeatable combination. We are harnessing the strength of mother love to fight back against polluters. Moms are joining together, to come out in strength for our kids’ right to clean air — just as our parents fought for us, forty years ago, to get the Clean Air Act signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Moms Clean Air Force is nonpartisan–because clean air should be more important than politics… Air pollution isn’t just dirty. It is toxic. We show you how pollution connects to disease. Moms will do everything they can to keep their children safe and sound. We look for the healthiest foods we can afford; we avoid toxic chemicals in our products. But there are some things we simply can’t buy. Clean air is one. We need job-creating regulations to assure that our children have clean air right now, and for their future.

So I chatted with the founder and senior director, Dominique Browning (who also happens to be the former editor-in-chief of House & Garden and author of one of my favorite books, Slow Love) to talk about MCAF, her thoughts on the environment and our top air quality priorities.

Why did you start Moms Clean Air Force?
I started Moms Clean Air Force when I realized there was no way for parents to join their voices to fight toxic air pollution on behalf of our children’s health.

What’s the one thing everyone should be doing but isn’t?
What everyone should be doing? Not taking our right to clean air and clean water for granted. Everyone should be telling washington: listen to your mothers! The Clean Air Act is sacred, and should be kept strong.

What’s the most popular misconception about clean air?
The most popular misconception: if the sky is blue the air is clean! Not true! Our skies are cleaner now than they were fifty years ago. But many pollutants are invisible–and toxic. And greenhouse gases? You don’t see those, and they are literally changing our ocean water and the balance of our air, tipping us into global warming.

The second most popular misconception: that air has no connection to food, and water. For instance, we know fish is contaminated with mercury. but most of us don’t know that the mercury got into the fish by way of air pollution!

If you could change anything about what you do, what would that be?
Change what I do: I would calm down. Then again, no I wouldn’t. We should all have a greater sense of urgency about cleaning up our world.

What publications do you read for the most up-to-date information on the environment?
I read Joe Romm’s Climate Progress every single day.

Can you explain Naptime Activism and why it is effective?
We know moms are really busy. Especially moms with babies. So we make it easy to be engaged citizens–while the baby naps. Sign a petition, make your voice heard–with enough time left over for a nap yourself! It is effective because we respect the craziness of a mom’s schedule–but we don’t count her out either. Sometimes, being a good mom means being an engaged citizen.

With the upcoming election, what should moms look for from our candidates on clean air policies?
During the campaign, all moms should be demanding of candidates: what are you doing (what will you do) about climate change? What are you doing to keep mercury out of our air, water, and food? What are you doing to make sure that natural gas is developed in a way that doesn’t make our pollution problems even worse?

Why are there only three states listed on Moms Clean Air Force website? What can we do to get our states listed and/or involved?
We hope soon to be working in Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania. But we also hope that moms from any state will contact us to start their local chapter. We will support you with materials, direction, and whatever you need!

Where do you get your pollution facts and information from?
We’re very lucky to be working with the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the most respected organizations in the world. We check everything we publish with them, because I know that their scientists are top notch. This means a great deal to me, coming from a journalism background.


Thank you, Dominique, for taking time out of your very active day to answer our questions. You can see how her passion has ignited a fire in the bellies of many celebrities, leaders and moms worldwide. We look forward to seeing Moms Clean Air Force at the Mommybites Summit and getting more moms involved in fighting for clean air!

*All images courtesy of the Moms Clean Air Force website.

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10 thoughts on “Green Parenting: Interview with Dominique Browning of Moms Clean Air Force

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