CLEAN FUTURE FOR COLORADANS

A United Nations report said that we’re “firmly on track toward an unlivable world” (2022). Meanwhile, another peer-reviewed study predicts that our children and those under 40 will experience up to seven times the extreme weather events as those over 40 (2021).
Colorado’s families are on the frontlines of climate change. With each new year comes more debilitating record-breaking heat and red air quality days. Meanwhile, we’re facing a severe drought in the entire region and we no longer have a wildfire season that’s limited to part of the year. It’s a year round threat and the intensity of the fires are growing.
While global and national action moves at a slower pace than the crisis requires, states and local governments can make a lot of progress, especially a state like Colorado. We can do that through the state legislature, city councils, county commissions, rulemaking board and commissions, and other options.
CREATING A THRIVING, HEALTHY FUTURE FOR OUR KIDS BEGINS WITH CLEANING OUR AIR ASAP.
Air pollution is harming our kids today. It’s causing respiratory issues, premature birth, and other severe issues. The Denver/Aurora metro area is now the 7th worst for ozone pollution out of 229 metropolitan areas across the country. Several counties across the state have also received low or even failing grades for air quality. Bottom line, air pollution threatens our health today as well as our kids’ future tomorrow.
Transportation, electricity generation, and the oil and gas industry vie for the top spot of biggest polluter in our state. The good news is there are many ways we can improve air quality and parents across Colorado are working together to make them happen.

MORE ABOUT THE ISSUE

Current Air Quality Conditions

One of the ways Colorado Mountain Mamas works to make change is through Colorado’s regulatory boards and commissions because a little bit of public engagement can go a long way. We have successfully mobilized parents to submit written comments, testify in favor of, and sign petitions in support of bold climate policies in front of the Public Utilities Commission and Air Quality Control Commission multiple times. It’s been key to some of Colorado’s more important actions to combat climate change and clean our air.

We worked to help Colorado’s shift to low-emission and zero-emission vehicles. We have supported and continue to work on methane emission reductions.  We support clean, renewable energy and retiring coal-fired power plants.

But there’s more to do and we need your voice in the fight!

Air pollution damages everyone’s health, but unfortunately kids are particularly susceptible to its damage:

  • 1 in 12 kids in Colorado suffers from asthma.
  • Smog damages the still-developing lungs of young children causing problems that can last a lifetime.
  • Air pollution affects our reproduction systems, causes developmental problems, lowers the ability of our respiratory systems to fight illness, and can cause early death.
  • The same chemicals that cause our Brown Cloud are also causing climate change.

IT HAS TO STOP.

The same industrial activities that are causing the climate crisis also damage our health now. During oil and gas operations, climate-changing methane is released as well as other chemicals like benzene, a known carcinogen.

Smog created by burning fossil fuels leads to respiratory problems, reproductive damage, heart disease and developmental problems.

Ozone pollution forms in the presence of heat, warmer weather leads to more ozone pollution creating a vicious cycle.

Curious what all of the lingo around Colorado’s air quality means? Take a look at these videos:

CURRENT PRIORITIES

CLEAN TRANSPORTATION

Nationally, the transportation sector is the number one emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of fuel used for transportation is fossil fuel – gas and diesel. This means there is huge potential to clean up how to move around.

Hybrid and electric vehicles are gaining popularity in Colorado quickly. With new models being released every year, significant tax breaks, and the clean air benefits, it’s no wonder!

Electric vehicles are so much more efficient than traditional vehicles that they are always cleaner regardless of the energy on the grid but get even better as the electricity to charge them gets cleaner, a trend we are enjoying in Colorado. They are also cheaper to maintain which means savings for the family budget in the long run.

Another solution? Electric school buses and other accessible public transportation options.

A recent study found that children on diesel school buses are exposed to 5 to 15 times more air toxins than the rest of the population. Every day parents put their kids on school buses, they’re putting their kids at unnecessary risk. We have been working with Colorado’s decision makers to ensure funds from President Biden’s infrastructure deal go toward replacing our state’s dated buses with ones that won’t harm our kids’ lungs.

Colorado has been quickly building out charging infrastructure to connect us to where we want to go.

Looking to plan a road trip this summer?

Check out the fun ideas we’ve put together for the Colorado family road trip – electric style!

CLEAN ENERGY

Energy generated from renewable sources like wind and solar is cleaner than traditional fossil fuel sources like coal, oil and natural gas. Clean energy means cleaner, healthier air for our kids to breathe.

It also means addressing the looming climate crisis so we’re not saddling the next generation with our mistakes. That’s why we fight for more renewable energy, energy efficiencies and to retire outdated and expensive coal-fired power plants.

Did you know?

The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is the primary agency responsible for ensuring we reach these goals. Join Colorado Mountain Mamas in asking the AQCC to take urgent and bold action to meet our responsibilities. It’s as easy as signing your name to this letter right now (will only take one minute!) so our kids can have a healthy, more secure future!

DECISION MAKER EDUCATION

Candidates, elected officials, and decisions makers get saturated with information from a lot of different sources – especially industry interests who have excess time and resources to spend on educating them.

The best way to combat this within our current system? Be our own advocates. When decision makers hear from families in their area, it makes a big difference.

We mobilize parents to educate candidates and elected officials about opportunities to tap into federal funds for clean transportation projects, implementing the Colorado Climate Action Plan, how they can support important legislative bills, and other steps they can take in office to clean our air and combat the climate crisis before it gets worse. Each spring we even have a grassroots lobby day at the Capitol to pair supporters with their elected officials for important conversations! Until then, Check out our factsheet here and send it to your local elected officials and candidates [link to come].

This kind of civic engagement is one of the best ways to get our kids involved too! From hikes with elected officials to delivering a singing telegram to delivering coal with a real reindeer to creating a Girl Scouts Climate Change Patch, we are always thinking of ideas on how to make meeting with decisions makers effective AND fun for families! Join us and share your ideas.

Are you (or is someone you know) a Girl Scout? Learn about how you can earn the Climate Change Patch!

PREVIOUS WINS

2022 STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
CLEAN AIR WON!

We were honored to be part of a diverse coalition aimed at cleaning Colorado’s air and making a just transition to clean energy. Parents across the state helped us call, email, and petition legislators to show that clean air was a priority for families, no matter their family’s demographic or location.

The bills that passed will:

  • Fund programs that help school districts replace diesel school buses with electric school buses, offer rebates for electric bikes, and offer free fare on public transit during the peak of the ozone season
  • Establish a program to regulate air toxics in our state – this program allows Colorado to establish health-based standards and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in the air we breath
  • Establish a new board to review and implement the newest energy codes for buildings which is expected to save energy compared to previous codes

Read our wrap-up blog and thank your legislator here!

COLORADO CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Colorado has the potential to be a national leader in fighting the climate crisis.

The Colorado Climate Action Plan, passed in 2019, requires the state to lower our carbon pollution emissions, as compared to 2005 levels, by
0%
by 2030
0%
by 2050

EARLIER NOTABLE WINS

We’ve been organizing parents for clean air since our first campaign around methane safeguards in 2013. Even though we weren’t an official nonprofit back then (just a loose collection of parents), we won! We eventually became Colorado Moms Know Best and then merged with another nonprofit to become Mountain Mamas. One thing that’s stayed the same? Our strategy of getting parents and kids to take action for clean air is still winning. Check out how:

Passage of Climate Legislation to Implement the Colorado Clean Energy Plan
Confirmation of Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior (National)
Confirmation of Tracy Stone-Manning as Director of the Bureau of Land Management (National)
Stay Updated, Follow Colorado Mountain Mamas:

Mountain Mama’s Colorado staff members work statewide yet are currently based out of Denver, which occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Hinónoʼeitíít (Arapaho), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne), and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) peoples.

Learn why land acknowledgments are important here and start finding out more about the history of your location here.

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