Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Global Food Systems: Seed to Plate and Everything In-Between

Image: Cynthia with a copy of her book "From Changing
Diapers to Changing the World" at Capitol Hill in DC

Today, I’m back on Capitol Hill with CARE talking about...drumroll please...food security! Although I often lobby Congress about nutrition, usually I’m talking about child nutrition in the first 1000 days of life. That is definitely part of food security, but it’s just one tiny aspect of the great big issue.

Image: Toddler eating carrots off a plate

What is Food Security?

Food security is all about strengthening food systems to help the world weather all kinds of crises. Food systems encompass everything from seed to plate and ALL that happens in between. 

The main legislation that authorizes the U.S. to do its part in protecting global food systems is called the Global Food Security Act (GFSA). In 2016, it put our Feed the Future program - which addressed root causes of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition - into law. That successful program lifted approximately 23.4 million people above the poverty line with its innovations! Yet it will expire soon and must be renewed by 2023. 

Image: Panelists at 2022 CARE conference talk about the 
importance of the Global Food Security Act

The Global Food Security Act focuses on long term sustainability and resilience of food systems. We have seen in the last two years how disruptions in food supply from disease or war can globally affect food access for the vulnerable and food price increases for everyone. Emergency food helps people eat now. Strengthening food systems helps build long term resilience for all kinds of future emergencies. 

Build a Better GFSA

We are at a real crisis point with food security. More people in the world were already food insecure even before COVID-19 and war in the Ukraine started. We need to build up food systems, so we won't be so vulnerable to these kinds of shocks as well as things we can't even yet imagine. 


How does CARE want to make the next Global Food Security Act even better? As always, we know that putting women and girls at the center will improve policies. CARE believes the next GFSA should include:

  • More support for savings groups that help women and girls involved in agriculture become more independent
  • More support for small-scale farmers, particularly women, giving them better access to markets, credits, tools, fertilizer, and other assets
  • Better integration of nutrition into food systems programming, including elevating women as household decision-makers on nutrition. 

How Can YOU Help? 

Call your representative this week and say, “My name is ______ and I’m your constituent living in _____. A new Global Food Security Action will be introduced soon by Representatives Betty McCollum and Chris Smith. I am asking you to be an original co-sponsor to support food systems and help make our world more resilient to disasters like disease, climate disasters, and war. Thank you.

Image: Cynthia with Congresswoman Cori Bush


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tending and Mending on #MemorialDay

Memorial Day has meant different things to me in my life. When I was too small to understand about war and service, it was simply vacation from school and time with my parents. Cookouts or travel were an expected part of the day. As I got older, it became a day to remember and honor those who sacrificed for our country. I started taking part in parades or acts of service.

This year - partly because I personally know more people with COVID-19 than any other point in the pandemic - I didn’t feel like going to any parades or BBQ’s. After a hard bunch of weeks for activists who care about reproductive rights and gun violence, yesterday had to be a day of tending and mending for me.

Tending

Image: A bed of chard in my garden
The school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX broke my heart and made me angry all over again. It came while I was still upset about the impending roll-back of Roe vs. Wade. If there were ever a time to take a step back and tend to my own soul, that was it. I began the day by caring for our backyard vegetable garden. In tending to the garden, I tended to myself. My dear friend Pamela Dolan released a book this spring called Contemplative Gardening. In it, she talks about the benefits of gardening as a spiritual practice. She says,

“When we garden we practice hope, putting our faith in nature’s ability to bring forth life, to create something beautiful and nourishing from the modest ingredients of soil, seed, and time. In other words, gardens are places of health, hope, and healing.” 
—Pamela Dolan  

If you are an activist, I urge you to take time and do whatever you need to do to restore your own light. This quote posted by the facebook page Zen Taoist Buddism Thich Nhat Hanh Dalai Lama spoke to me:

Image: Illustrated boy sitting on a stone with Regina Lake quote

“This my dear is the greatest challenge to being alive: to witness the injustice of this world, and not allow it to consume our light.”

Regina Linke

Do what you can to preserve your light. If you are an extrovert, that might mean sharing and spreading your light to have joy in making more of it. If you are an introvert, like me, it might mean staying home from those parades and parties, so you can cup your hands around a fragile candle flame to protect it from the wind blowing it out.

Mending

Image: Hand sewing 
With my family still sleeping, I took on some repair tasks I’ve been too busy to take on lately. I always get great satisfaction in using my own two hands to fix broken things and make them useful again, but I’m not always quick to do it. I went to my sewing machine where my youngest teen’s pants have been hanging for days, unwearable because of a big hole from an especially ambitious stretch. It took about 30 seconds to zip them through the machine and make them whole again. (See my earlier blog about doing the easy task first for inspiration to do a bigger task.) Then, I grabbed up needle and sturdy thread to tackle the canvas on a piece of patio furniture that had unravelling seams.

Image: A large tear in patio
furniture canvas



As I worked, I thought about whether our nation is unravelling and what it will take to fix it. I had let this patio task go far too long and there were many sections two feet and longer needing repair. If I’d gotten to it sooner, it wouldn’t be so bad now. That seems like a metaphor for America today.

I heard someone on the radio say that on Memorial Day we honor those who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms and our American way of life. Hmm. What is our way of life in this moment? Being scared of shooters at school? Being forced to carry a child to term, endangering a mother’s mental or physical health? Being afraid of a police traffice stop simply because of one's race? Seems like the best way to honor those heroes is to create an America free of those fears.

Our democracy needs many hands to mend what’s broken. By writing my book From Changing Diapers to Changing the World, my intention was to train more activists to take their first advocacy actions and inspire the current advocates to keep going. Working alone at my big canvas tear, I thought about the saying, “Many hands make light work.” For America, it’s going to be heavy work no matter how many hands are working at it. But we must have more helpers. No doubt about it.

It’s clear to me we will have to have many hands working at many kinds of tasks. Of course, it will take activists working on lots of different issues. But it will also take people of strong character running for office and teams of people to get them into office. It will take citizens holding the line to prevent voter suppression through unfair redistricting and intimidation. It will take boldness from those already holding office. And, yes - whether or not we like it - it will take donors and money.

What’s next?

For me, now that I’m feeling a bit more restored, I’ll be taking actions to mend our democracy. I’ll do it to honor fallen members of the military who protected our democracy with their lives and in honor of the 19 children and two teachers who died at Robb Elementaryand the 20 children and six adults who died at Sandy Hook Elemetary 20 years ago…and the 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High…and so many others I could list. I’ll be donating to candidates I believe will do better than their opponents at mending and tending our country.

If you would like to join me in advocacy actions against gun violence, here are some suggestions below. I wish you all strength and peace to mend and tend. Don’t allow the world to consume your light.


• Send a message demanding your senators take action gun safety legislation → https://bit.ly/hold-lawmakers-accountable
• Get involved with your local Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action groups → https://bit.ly/join-chapter
• Find a Wear Orange event near you → https://bit.ly/find-wo-event
• Make calls from home with GSAN → https://bit.ly/make-calls-at-home
• Join our Summer Series to get texted 1 action a week → https://bit.ly/series-summer

Image: Five actions (listed above) to take to help end gun violence


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

5 Things I Do to #KeepGoing After a School Shooting

Here we are again. Heartbroken. Sickened. Angered by the repetition of another school shooting in America. This time at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX. To paraphrase something I saw on facebook today, “The most disheartening word in any news about a school shooting is ‘today’s.’” Lord help us, we know this won’t be the last American school shooting. With that heavy knowledge, I’m struggling to get through the day. I see many of you are, too. So, I thought I would take a look at what I'm doing to get through it and offer practical suggestions for how to keep going in the fight against senseless gun violence the day after a school shooting. Because we must keep going.

The first two suggestions are for everyone. The others are for those that have emotional capacity to act on behalf of those who need more time before getting back into the fight. It's important to realize that some in the movement are victims and survivors who are deeply triggered by every fresh tragedy.

1. Get Dressed

Image: Moms Demand Action t-shirt
I know the feeling to call in sick and stay in your PJ’s with your head under the covers is strong. I feel it, too. But get up and get dressed anyway. Wear something that usually makes you feel strong even if you're not feeling it standing at the closet. 

If you have a red Moms Demand shirt or a Wear Orange shirt, wear it. As you move about your day, you may bring comfort or inspiration to those around you. Someone may see you and think, “I feel better knowing she’s out there fighting to change this.” Others might even think, “This is the last straw. I’m gonna finally join.”

If dangle earrings or a big necklace makes you feel better, put that on as well. For me today, it is the little silver octopus studs my youngest gave me a few years ago. Their cuteness makes me think of how much she loves me and knows what makes me smile. The love of my kids gives me strength for this work. So, yes, it is an octopus earring day.

2. Take care of yourself

This looks different for everyone, so do what works for you according to your physical abilities and mental needs. When I need extreme physical activity to burn the anger away, I head to my punching target downstairs (an addition during pandemic frustration). Today, I was more sad than angry. I went into nature to smell the loamy earth, surrounded by the sound of wind in the leaves high in the trees. I contemplated the resilience of grass and honeysuckle in the park. No matter how much you cut it back, it always grows in thick. That’s why they call our kind of work “grassroots advocacy.” The roots are deep and the grass always comes back.

Image: A single red blade of grass 
I noticed one odd blade of grass that grew in as red among the green. I thought that was strange. Then, I turned the corner and saw a field full of red ones. That reminds me of how it is when I wear my red Moms Demand shirt alone and then walk into an event where a whole crowd of people are wearing them. I’m not alone. You’re not alone.

I also had a good cry. A sobbing, loud ugly cry thinking of the terror of all the children and the parents who were going about their day when they were suddenly told their babies were gone. I cried and cried. Then, I was done and felt I could move ahead for those parents who can’t do that today. It’s okay if you cry. It only reveals empathy. As I cover in great detail in my book, From Changing Diapers to Changing the World, a mother’s empathy can be her advocacy superpower. The ability to understand someone else’s pain and explain it to someone else is extremely powerful.

3. Take an easy advocacy action

Take an action that is comfortable for you. Sharing someone else’s tweet or Insta post about it? Writing a tweet or facebook post?  Calling your U.S. senators and reps, state senators and reps, or governor? Writing a blog? That’s what I did. You’re reading it right now. You can share it if you want. 

Here's an easy online action to contact your senators asking them to pass bold gun safety legislation.

The easy action is a warm-up for the next two things on the list. It builds confidence and inspires us to do the next thing. Don’t underestimate the easy action. It’s not unimportant because it’s easy. Your action combines with many others to make an impact. Also, it inspires others. I posted this image on facebook and a friend of mine replied she is joining Moms Demand. Reading that, I cried some happy tears.

4. Take a harder action

Okay, you did the first action. What’s next? Maybe this is where you’ll call the congressional offices because the phone call is not so easy for you. Can you write a letter to the editor? Newspapers report about school shootings, so you can reply to the newspaper with your own feelings and thoughts about what your elected officials should do. One of the quickest and most powerful ways you can reach them at this moment is to mention their names in the paper. Thank them if they are a champion of sensible gun policies. Call them out if they have done nothing to combat gun violence and death. Remind your community that elections are coming up and we have the power to vote officials in or out.

If letters to the editor are easy for you, try writing an op-ed. The 600-700 word length of an op-ed is always harder for me, but somehow the words come easier when I’m fueled by strong feelings. Here’s an op-ed I wrote about school gun violence in 2018 and one I wrote about home gun violence in 2020.

5. Sign up for an event

Sign up for something that will get you out of the house soon and into a community of action takers. It’s so important to know you are not alone. You are not an oddball for thinking it’s wrong that firearms are the #1 leading cause of death for American children and teens.

Moms Demand Action always has events coming up whether it is a monthly information meeting or something special. At the time I’m writing this, we’re just about a week away from Wear Orange day, a gun violence awareness day, on June 3, 2022. It's a Friday that kicks off Wear Orange weekend. There will be events and activities all across the country. Find one here. Sign up. Can't get to an in-person event? No problem. Here's a virtual event tomorrow 3:30EST with Everytown.


I’ll end with a story from the horrendous storms St. Louis had about a week ago. The torrential rain and booming thunder was so bad it kept waking us up all night. I felt like I barely slept at all. At 5:26 AM, the biggest boom of all shook the house. I know the time because I sat straight up in bed. But something else happened just as the lightning faded. I heard one solitary, incredibly loud “CHIRP!” Some little bird responded to the storm by letting the neighborhood know it was still there and still alive. The first bird of the morning. I got up and discovered the rain had stopped. I stood outside and little by little all the other birds joined in. By 6AM, the cacophony was so loud, you couldn’t even ignore them in the house. So, that’s my metaphor. Robb Elementary was another terrible storm. But we are still alive and still here. This blog is my CHIRP - a tweet, perhaps, when I post it on Twitter - that I add to all the other voices of moms and others saying we’ve had enough of this madness. Let’s be so loud they can’t ignore us in the House or the Senate.

Image: Raindrops on red hibiscus flowers the morning after a storm

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Speaking out About #Abortion

Image: A protest sign saying "Keep Abortion Legal"


Today, I'm sending out virtual hugs to everyone rocked by news of a leaked document about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning abortion rights. The possibility of the court overturning the Roe vs. Wade decision has been a key factor of every recent presidential election. It's not like we didn't expect this after Trump got three nominees confirmed to the court. Yet it's still upsetting to arrive at this day.

Now, it's time to rely on the experienced leaders in reproductive rights groups who have been preparing for this event. I am not one of those leaders, but I can share what I am learning...even if I'm hesitant to step up.

This is a tough issue to speak out about publicly. Our thoughts on abortion are often emotional & messy, but we must normalize talking about it. If we don’t, there are plenty of people willing to take up the space we leave them and fill it with fear and misinformation. Our silence is harmful as we know abortion bans hurt low-income folks far more than others. People struggling in poverty have fewer resources to travel to have an abortion, to raise a child, or to respond to maternal health care problems from a damaging pregnancy.

If you have the emotional bandwidth to do it, put yourself out there and take up your space in honor of those who cannot. At a St. Louis protest rally, Congresswoman Cori Bush told us, “It doesn’t matter what our insecurities are. Bring something to the table. We need you.”

Using my Microphone

It’s true that I haven't advocated loudly for reproductive rights because it’s not in my comfort zone. But the night of the draft opinion leak, I saw this facebook post from my friend Robyn saying, “I’m gonna need everyone who couldn’t be bothered to march for anything else, but said 'OK, but if they overturned Roe I’ll get in the streets' to kick their comfort zone to the curb immediately.”

Image: Robyn's facebook post

I had marched for other issues, but still I felt seen. I spent some time that night trying to collect my thoughts and shore up my empathy by reading A Complicated Choice, a book about real life abortion stories by Katey Zeh. I thought about the recording I had scheduled for the morning with Kathy Nelson of the Ordinarily Extraordinary podcast to talk about advocacy and STEM. Should I talk about abortion? What should I say?

The next day, I asked Kathy, “Are we gonna talk about last night or not? Because there are a lot of people without platforms to speak out and we’re two women looking at each other on zoom with literal huge microphones in front of us.” So, we did. We didn’t go into huge detail, but I like to think we did our part as two STEM educated women talking about abortion. We said the word out loud and came another step closer to normalizing the topic in conversation.

Image: Cindy and Kathy recording a podcast

Getting Out in the Streets

Later that day, I heard about a Pro Roe vs. Wade rally downtown. I couldn’t find any of my friends to go with me.

Everyone seemed to have pretty valid excuses except me. I had plans, but I thought about Robyn’s post. I felt I had to show up for the organizers who work hard on the issue all the time. Maybe I could take the place of my friend in therapy who was too emotionally upset to attend. All the drive down, I kept second-guessing myself and thinking, "But what good would I do there at this late date?"

Image: Mom holding a child with 
a sign saying
"Abortion is Health Care"
When I arrived, a storytelling session was underway. I drifted around listening to speakers who had abortions for different reasons. At the end, when protesters gathered for a picture, I noticed a woman sitting on the steps alone. I recognized her as a speaker who said she was sharing the story of her rape for the first time. I thanked her for sharing her story. She told me she was really nervous to do it and still recovering. I awkwardly said, “Would it help if I...can I sit with you?” And I did. 

We were just quiet for a long time, not even looking at each other. When she was ready, she told me she had come down from her apartment when she saw the rally on the news. She spontaneously shared her story when they offered the microphone to anyone with a story. Unfortunately, it made her relive her trauma and triggered her anxiety. We talked for a while and eventually laughed a while. When she felt able to go home, she did.

I realized the reason I was there was to hold space for her. THAT was the good I could do at that late date. I was not too late to be there for her.

What Are Protests For?

The experience made me think about the purpose of a protest. That protest, for me, was where I found connection and purpose. It helped me see I was not alone.

A protest is a place to find inspiration, community, and local organizers with concrete actions for you. I discovered this is the link to visit to sign up for future actions in Missouri. You may also find members of Congress there like Congresswoman Cori Bush, who has openly testified before Congress about her own abortion story.

Image: Cindy and Congresswoman Bush smiling after a protest rally

What do we do now?

Start by repeating to yourself what Congresswoman Bush had us say together: “I have a place! I have work to do!”

Image: a volunteer with a QR code 
for a pro-choice petition
There will be pro-choice activities going on all around the country in the next weeks. In St. Louis, there will be one on May 15 (details here). Make the time to go, especially if you haven’t been to one before. Try to bring friends, but remember it can still be a powerful experience going alone. If you don’t know how you feel about abortion, you should definitely go. Stand where you can hear the speakers’ stories and learn. It will expand your understanding and maybe clarify your position.

Even if you can't get to a protest, there are other ways to engage:

  • Call your members of Congress. Tell them that now is the time to codify Roe vs. Wade into law
  • Reach out to your friends who have had abortions. Hold space for them as they might feel upset and attacked right now.
  • Hop on a webinar. The National Council of Jewish Women are holding one on Wed, May 25 at 6:30PM CST with a panel discussion "Abortion All Over? The Personal Is Political" Register here: https://www.jbuzzstl.com/ncjwstl0525
  • Write a letter to the editor. Name your members of Congress in it to get their attention and encourage others to call them.
  • Donate to an abortion fund. Local abortion funds provide financial help to those who can't afford the full cost of abortion care. In Missouri, consider Missouri Abortion Fund.
  • Use your own microphone! Do you have a blog, a podcast, social media accounts, a book group, or just a group of friends? Talk about abortion. Say the word out loud.

I know this can be uncomfortable and maybe even scary. Remember, you are not alone! You'll make mistakes in your wording just like I do, but you will learn just as I'm learning. Let this post be your call to action like Robyn's post was for me. And then let your words be a call for someone else!


Image: Pro-Choice rally crowd in St. Louis

Monday, March 21, 2022

Activist Profile: Columba Sainz of Moms Clean Air Force


Photo of Columba Sainz
by Karina Cordova


The following is an excerpt from my book, "From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started." In addition to lots of stories and quotes from mom-advocates, my book features six mothers in particular whose stories highlight different aspects of advocacy. Columba Sainz, a volunteer for Moms Clean Air Force, is one of these powerful women. In this section, I invite everyone to consider how different policy issues can intersect and affect families greatly. 



PROFILE: COLUMBA SAINZ

INTERLOCKING ISSUES


SOCIAL ISSUES TEND TO be presented like competing problems
we’re supposed to work on separately. In reality, most people

experience layers of interrelated problems. Columba Sainz’s story

of environmental activism demonstrates how pollution, poverty,

race, immigration, health issues, and even transportation problems

combine to make life difficult for families.


While raising two young girls and a baby boy in Phoenix,

Columba has struggled to improve her family’s health. Only two

months after moving from Tucson in 2018, Columba’s two-year-old

daughter, who had no known medical issues, started wheezing

at night and feeling very ill. Doctors prescribed asthma medicine

without hesitation, but Columba was uneasy about the side effects

of constant medication and wondered if something in the environment

was causing such a sudden onset of symptoms.


She soon began worrying about the health of the rest of her

family. Her four-year-old daughter developed respiratory problems

as well. Columba became horribly sick during her entire

pregnancy with her son. Researching her family’s personal health

mystery, she learned that other families like hers were also suffering.

“That’s when I discovered that a disproportionate number of Latino children

[in Phoenix] have asthma in comparison to white people. I started

to connect all the dots. If I live here, who else lives here? Who can

afford to live here? What’s happening in my surroundings?”


Columba discovered her family was living in an air pollution

“hot spot” in downtown Phoenix, where emissions from specific

sources expose the population to high risks of adverse health

effects. Busy freeways surrounded her home in one of the fastest-

growing counties in the country. Two huge nearby parking lots

housed city and school buses each night, creating concentrated

sources of diesel fumes as the buses left and returned each day.

And she was only five minutes away from the busy Phoenix Sky

Harbor International Airport, ranked thirteenth for traffic in the U.S.


“On top of that, the topography of this area is like a big bowl

combining it all with high heat,” she explained. Each July, Phoenix

averages a daily maximum temperature between 104 and 107 degrees

Fahrenheit. “In the summer, we have constant high polluted days. So,

me taking my daughter to the park right in front of my house for two

or three hours was the worst thing I could do as a mother.”

Data from the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of

the Air report aligned with Columba’s experience. 

(American Lung Association, “Most Polluted Cities")


It ranked the Phoenix area as having some of the worst air in the country. 

Specifically, Maricopa County—where Columba’s family continues to

live—received an F grade with far more alert days for high levels

of harmful ground-level ozone than anywhere else in Arizona.

Although Columba was not sure how to use this information

to help protect her family, she was well aware of the power of

Congress to address problems like pollution. Working with Mi

Familia Vota, a civic engagement organization, she understood

how to unite communities to elect candidates for change. But the

idea of working on legislation with lawmakers was new to her

until she learned about Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of

over 1.4 million parent activists with a mission to protect children

from air pollution and climate change.


Columba shared their vision for a safe, stable, and equitable

future where all children breathe clean air. With them, she learned

to speak from her heart to advocate with lawmakers for just and

healthy solutions to air pollution. Those in-person conversations

with parents were critical to convincing legislators to take action.

“We go to meetings not as experts or scientists, but as moms,”

Columba explained. “As moms, we know the impacts on our

children.”


Columba shows elected officials how seemingly separate

issues overlap. She wasn’t aware of the hot spot phenomenon

when she was looking for a home, but low housing prices suggest

the real estate industry had a good idea something undesirable

was happening there. The polluted area is home primarily to people

of color, which means the neighborhood’s pollution problems

feed racial injustice. And because those living in the hot spot are

low-income residents, they are less likely to have good health

insurance or adequate resources to cope with the health challenges

caused by the pollution.


For example, filtered air conditioning in a hot Arizona summer

provides indoor relief, but it’s a financial burden many can’t afford.

Columba affirmed, “A bill of electricity [with air-conditioning]

is really expensive. Sometimes it’s the same amount you would pay

for a one-bedroom apartment. Imagine having no work during

the pandemic summer of 2020, having no health insurance, and

having asthma without air conditioning in your house.”


Even worse than the lack of funds for air conditioning is the

lack of healthcare. Columba advocates alongside families who

don’t have money to cover an emergency visit without insurance.

In addition, the immigrant population worries about confrontations

over citizenship. Columba encountered a little girl whose

single father was undocumented. She tried to keep her asthma in

check just by sheer will alone to protect him.


“I don’t know how this kid did it!” Columba marveled. “When

she had an asthma attack, she would do her best to control herself.

Sometimes our children are afraid to go to an E.R. because

we are afraid that they will ask, ‘Where are your papers? Where

is your social security?’ I think that’s horrible, you know? When

you need to go to the emergency room, you need to go. When

you don’t have the papers, they won’t take care of you because they

know they can’t charge anyone for the medical assistance. And it’s

expensive. It’s really, really expensive.”


Today, Columba and her family live ten minutes outside of

the downtown Phoenix area where they suffered so many health

problems. Even such a small distance makes a significant improvement

in air quality. Yet she continues to work with mothers in

places where she used to live and keeps their stories close to her

heart. Once she met a desperate mom who was running away from

one area to help her child with severe respiratory issues. But she

stopped to rest in a park in the hot spot, which was worse. It was

as if that mother was running from an invisible monster with no

idea which way to turn.


“She had everything in her car,” Columba remembered. “She

said, ‘I drove all the way here because I thought I was going to

find clean air. And now I don’t know where to go. Can you tell me

where to go? Do you know where the air is clean?’ Her story was

even worse than mine . . . like life or death. That’s the desperation

of a mother who has been exposed to air pollution.”


“What gives me the fuel to do this with all my heart,”

Columba insisted, “is that, as a mother, I want my children to grow

connecting with nature. I keep doing it because I want my children

to be able to breathe clean air. We have data that agrees that

if we don’t take action in thirty-five years, we’re going to be living

with a lot of things we don’t want. We’re living with them even

now! I want to leave a better planet for my children’s children."