Honoring Kick-Ass Moms Everywhere
Celebrating The Hardest Job Out There & The Moms I Admire Fighting For Clean Water
I love to say that the most dangerous thing in the natural world is a pissed-off mom.
In my work, nine times out of ten, the people who reach out to me are moms, concerned for their children and their families. I’m always inspired by their strength, courage, and determination. Moms are tenacious. They know when something is not right with their kids or with the water. They have that sixth sense.
Many of them are just like me when I began. They’re curious and won’t take no for an answer.
When I started my work in Hinkley, California, I was a single mom of three little kids and now, I’m a grandma! And I’m still working to create a more sustainable world for them with clean water for all. Water IS life.
One of my favorite books to read with my grandchildren is Dr. Seuss’s classic, The Lorax. It’s a story about responsibility and the natural environment. The author said it was one of his personal favorites and that he had written it out of anger about what he saw as corporate greed ruining our natural world.
We all know the famous quote, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Every time I find myself getting angry about the drinking water crisis or corrupt systems moving too slow, I try to remember this book. I remember this work is not for me, it’s about my kids and grandkids and your kids and grandkids too. We are working for future generations, to make the world better for them.
People who contact me share my feelings of frustration. They see the devastation firsthand, knowing there’s been a breakdown in the regulations meant to protect them. Many have reached out to their local officials to no avail. Frankly, they don’t know what to do or where to turn. Damn, I’m so sick of this shit! I can’t tell you. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it better for everyone.
But I want you to know I’m here working to rally as many folks as I can. I offer my encouragement and motivation to stay strong in the face of uncertainty like we’ve never seen before. We are in the fight for our lives. This is our moment.
Moms Making A Difference
As we get ready to celebrate moms everywhere this weekend, I want to offer a special shout-out to the moms who have lead the charge in so many towns including Flint, Hannibal, and Tonganoxie. Just to name a few!
It was LeeAnne Walters, a mother of four, who helped expose Flint’s toxic water crisis. Her home became what is now considered ground zero there, with the water from her home taps testing as high as 13,500 ppb. The EPA classifies lead at 5,000 ppb as hazardous waste! She spearheaded the charge on citizen testing in her city, helping expose what was really happening in Flint. She’s gone on to testify before Congress and became a 2018 Goldman Prize Recipient.
It was a small group of moms in in Hannibal, Missouri, who started a petition and ran for city council (and won) and then passed a resolution to remove chloramines from their water treatment process. Chloramines are cheap disinfectants linked to rashes, respiratory issues, and cancer.
Kansas moms from “Tongie,” as the locals call it, started emailing me back in 2017 asking for help to fight a massive Tyson Foods chicken-processing plant (also called a slaughterhouse) coming to their town. Tyson is one the biggest waterway polluters in the U.S, and many of the pollutants it releases aren’t regulated or measured. But those moms ran Tyson right out of town!
Andrea Amico, a mom in New Hampshire who created a group of moms to push for clean water, received a great gift this week: a new water treatment facility! After seven years of advocating for her town to clean-up the PFAS detected in their water, the new plant opened at Pease International Tradeport. Her group’s continued activism and determination helped push officials to do the right thing and kept tabs on those who have been exposed. The Pease Study (the first of its kind) is now underway with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & ATSDR to look at the human health effects of PFAS exposure through drinking contaminated water.
Thanks to all the moms and caregivers, not just the water warriors, but to those doing the best they can to raise kids in this crazy world. You’re all kick-ass to me! I hope you can enjoy some time this weekend with those you love in whatever way you celebrate. Mimosas, gardening, or signing petitions!
Add Your Voice
Here are a few actions you can take today to help make a difference.
Moms Rising: Investing in our Care Infrastructure
Earthjustice: Protect Public Lands & Water