Everyone has the right to pollution free air. It’s a fundamental right and gift from God. (Genesis 1) Still in the United States, we have to fight for clean air. There are a variety of industries who don’t care about the quality of air if it means they will have to spend money to keep the air clean. Most American cities now have smog warnings so people at high risk including infants, asthma sufferers and the elderly have to stay indoors on those high smog days. Polluted air doesn’t just affect your family but everyone around your family. Imagine days where outdoor sports and play dates at the park get canceled or postponed because our air quality is too poor to be outside. The Good News is everyone has a role to play in helping keep our air clean.
Speaker or Video program
Moms Clean Air Force Organizer, or a local Doctor or Pediatrician who is an expert on Asthma. Play video Global Pandemic - Air Pollution | Romain Lacombe | TEDxAthens (19 mins)
- Do any of your kids already show signs of asthma? Can we pray for them now?
- If you have to keep your kids indoors, what’s your favorite play activity to do with them?
- How are we called as Moms to work towards healthier air?
- What actions can we take individually to help not contribute unnecessarily to air pollution?
- How as Moms can you advocate for healthy air in your community, so all children can benefit?
- What changes will you commit to at home to reduce your family’s impact on polluted air?
- EEN Handout 5 Ways to Reduce Air Pollution
- Visit Moms Clean Air Force Smog Section on Website order pamphlets from Mom’s Clean Air to hand out at meeting.
Additional activities for off MOPs meeting week
Visit hospital ward with asthma wing. Implement a no idle policy for your church, preschool or school. Have a bike, walk or carpool Sunday.
Air pollution is a common ailment of people around the world but in particular with children. Their little lungs are still developing, so they are particularly susceptible to particulate matter in the air. Even if you can't see it, there is air pollution everywhere. From invisible gases like methane to dust from construction to fine particulate matter coming from coal-fired power plants, there are lots of ways your child can be effected. So here are the ways you can not only protect your kids but also protect kids everywhere. Want know more? Check out this resource from our partner Moms Clean Air Force.
Deeper Explanation of the Handcard
When we designed the handcards, we wanted quick things that were easy to implement into your daily life, but some of you might be curious about why these simple things can actually add up to big changes. Here are some ways to mitigate the air pollution surrounding us:
1. Don't idle your car at church or school. Did you know that your car creates more air pollution when it's not moving then when it's driving? We should have said don't idle your car period, but we wanted to plant the seed about schools and churches because many churches and schools have no idle policies. If you would like to start this policy at your school or church, the EPA has a guide for you to start the process. If you want to go directly to the no idling page instead of all the support information from the EPA, here's the direct link.
2. Plant a tree at home, church or park. Trees are the lungs of the earth on land. We loose many trees in our cities and suburbs due to development every day. Trees trap carbon until they die, but since most of their life they take in CO2 to make sugars to grow, trees are considered a great way to reduce carbon. One tree might not end our carbon problem but if everyone planted one in America that would be 300+ million trees. It adds up. Trapping carbon isn't the only benefit that trees supply. Planting them near your air-conditioner condenser will lighten the work your air-conditioner because it won't have to work so hard which means you save money. It doesn't only work at home but at church too. Here are some tree planting tips:
- Plant native plants to the area. Native trees are much more likely to have growth success. If you are going to implement shading your air-conditioner make sure it's a tree that doesn't shed tons of leaves.
- Contact you local County Extension office or Nursery for help when picking trees.
- Get a living Christmas tree one year for Christmas. Then the whole family can plant it together.
- If your church has room, trees along the perimeter of the parking lot will create shading which reduces the heat that comes off the pavement which means it can help with air pollution. Shaded cars actually use less gas to start operation during the summer.
- Need a mission project for church members? Coordinate with a local park group or tree non-profit to help plant trees.
3. Use less energy at home and church. Change those light bulbs. We know changing your lights bulbs might seem like old news but do you know how many people still haven't switched to LEDs? Yes, LEDs are a bit more expensive but they have come down in price drastically. Here's why LEDs are better than CFLs. They are estimated to last 5 times longer than CFLs which means you will forget the last time you changed a light. LEDs use even less energy than CFLs and don't have the issues the CFLs have with people who have seizures. LEDs also operate cooler. There is a reason incandescent bulbs were used to bake in an Easy Bake Oven. They are hot. LEDs don't put off heat which means your light bulbs are not fighting your air-conditioning. LEDs don't have mercury so no special disposal is needed, but once they burn out take the time to recycle them. In 25 years when they burn out they should be even easier to recycle. Here's the one drawback about LEDs, your children won't ever remembering you changing light bulbs so be prepared for the conversation in their 20s when you get the call, Mom, my light went out what do I do?
4. Make sure your tires are fully inflated. Under-inflated tires actually causes your car to work harder which means more gas to make it to operate. In fact under-inflated tires can cause you to use up to 144 extra gallons of gas per year per PSI point. It's this kind of waste that all Americans can be aware of and do the right thing and make a small change. Learn how to to check your tire pressure and just add it to your routine and with all the savings maybe you can do something special with the savings. For more knowledge about tire pressure, check this article, Keeping Your Tires Inflated for the Environment, for Your Safety.
5. Contact your local officials and tell them to support clean energy. The great thing about wind and solar energy, beyond the fact that they are renewable, is they generate no air pollution when operating. It might be intimidating to contact your local official, but we have a solution! Have you downloaded and read our Bible Study, Healthy Creation = Healthy Children? You can simply read the study and do it yourself and once you get to the end, we have a whole section that teaches you how to advocate to your elected officials. One Mom contacting an elected official? You could possibly change a decision in your community or convince a congressperson to rethink a vote. It could really happen. You have the power and your faith in Jesus to convict people's hearts! So what are you waiting for?
Food waste in America is beyond what most Americans even realize. Forty percent of produce is lost in transportation before even reaching the shelves of your grocery store. At restaurants and hotels, once the meal is served, twenty-five percent of the meal on average is thrown away. There is a lot of waste in our food system and that waste not only creates just the food but think about all the resources that are a part of the food production: gasoline for transport and tractors, petroleum-based fertilizer, water and all the work of the farmer.
Speaker or Video program
- What’s your favorite go to meal to get veggies into your kid(s)?
- What’s your favorite freezer meal for when there’s no time to cook?
- What is our call to care for God’s creation when it comes to preparing meals?
- What are some things you can think to do to help reduce food waste in your family’s routine?
- What can you do at church or school to help reduce food waste?
- What three things will you start doing at home to rethink how food is bought and consumed?
• EEN Handout 5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste - CreationCare.org
• Ways to Waste Less Food and Help the Environment - Moms Clean Air Force
• Composting at Home - EPA
• Jesus cared about the scandal of food going to waste and so should you - Christianity Today
Additional activities for off MOPs meeting weeks
Volunteer at the local food bank. See if you can volunteer a food reclamation non-profit. Help plant a church garden or help plan a church garden. Have a MOPs playdate at a You-pick organic farm. Have a picnic at a community garden.
Sometimes it's easy to think that small acts of creation care is meaningless, but in fact if they are viewed as a small act of gratefulness, gratitude or obedience then using one less straw or turning off a light that is not being used becomes part of your daily walk of discipleship. If we want to be intentional about our walk with Jesus, then taking care of creation alongside of honoring your husband, loving your kids, practicing the fruits of the spirit makes a whole lot of sense.
Deeper Explanation of the Handcard
When we designed the handcards, we wanted quick things that were easy to implement into your daily life, but some of you might be curious about why these simple things can actually add up to big changes. Here are some reasons reducing food waste can support positive changes in your community and for those who suffer from hunger:
1. Support your local farmers and produce. In the last ten years, America has seen an explosion in small local farming. Small farmers are a benefit to a community for many reasons. One, eating local produce reduces the amount of gasoline needed to get food to your table. Did you know the average piece of food travels 1,500 miles to get to your meal? If you could reduce 10% of your meal each time what kind of air pollution and gas reductions would happen? By supporting a local farmer, your food is fresher and more nutritionally dense. The minute your vegetables and fruits are harvested they start losing their nutrients. The average length of time a piece of produce travels to the super market is six weeks. By supporting a local farmer you are getting healthier foods for your family. Build a relationship with your farmer and if he is planting using organic methods then see if they have a local family fun day. It's a great family activity and it teaches your kids about where their food comes from. If your kids think all food comes on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic, then time to get the kids to the farm.
2. Split food at restaurants. We all know it. The food at restaurants comes in bigger and bigger portions. Restaurants say it's because their customers demand value. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that it's way too much food. So split your meals. In fact, I ask for a box the minute the food arrives at the table. If you can agree on one item split the food at the table. Americans throw away 25% of the food that arrives at the table in restaurants. Does that feel right? Can we justify hunger in America when we know 25% of the food at restaurants is being thrown away? So let's rethink the way we eat out. Let's be prepared to split and take home leftovers.
3. Grow some of the basics like lettuce and herbs. Did you know lettuce is the most fragile vegetable that we transport? Forty percent of the fruits and vegetables that are transported get lost in transportation. Forty percent. Think about all the water, energy, labor that went into growing our food that is waste before it hits our grocery store much less our table. Don't we all pull off exterior lettuce leafs when we get ready to prepare it?
Here's another fact. Eighty percent of the lettuce grown in January gets transported to the east coast from the most arid state in the country. Where is this lettuce grown? In Arizona! Please understand, we are not saying don't eat lettuce. We are saying you can grow it at home. It's essentially like grass. You can actually grow it indoors in a well lit window. Herbs are the same way. And don't you always end up throwing away half the bunch anyway? Either the bunch is too big and you don't need it or half of it goes bad before you use it all. What if you could pick just the right amount from a pot in a window? It's also a great lesson for the kids to learn how things grow. Just grow one thing and see how it changes meal time.
4. Donate food before it expires. It's hard. A lot of us are blessed with abundance. That includes full pantries. How often do you clean out your pantry? Do you have cans of food from the last decade? Funny but maybe not so funny. Put it on your calendar. Clean out your pantry every 3 months. It can become a job for the kids. It teaches them to read labels and teaches them the value of food. Not feeling it even though you bought it? Then donate it to the local food pantry. It helps others and it doesn't end up in the landfill. Keep track for one year how much you donated and maybe that will help you be a better shopper. Then you can take all those savings and just make a shopping trip for the food bank instead of a pantry clean-out.
5. Purchase food on a family plan. Don't make impulse buys. So read number 4 again. How many times did the impulse purchase lead to the regular purchase being left on the shelf too long? It's hard. We get it. A grocery store is full of items that are preying on your impulses. It's sad to think about but it's true. Today's victory of overcoming the temptation, can become next week's pitfall. That's why making a list and sticking to the list is so important and if you can plan out a week of meals even if it is the protein then shopping becomes easier. We know you don't want your kids to become part of the obesity-childhood diabetes problem. Shopping for whole fruits and vegetables that are on a list will help you achieve that goal. You want your family meals to reflect your Christian values of gratitude and honoring God. Changing the way you shop and eat can do all of that with some simple steps.