Utah Moms for Clean Air uses the power of moms to clean up Utah’s dirty air. In doing so, we are uncompromising defender’s of our children’s health.
Mothers are in a special moral position to advocate for clean air. Our intent is simple: to ensure that our children, whose lives are entrusted to us, have a healthy environment in which to grow and flourish. Cooping them up indoors to avoid toxic air outside is not the solution.
We embrace a FOUR SEASONS approach, which highlights different “clean-up the air” activities specific to each season. For example, in the Fall, we focus on our back-to-school idle-free campaign. In the Winter, during inversion season, we focus on legislative action and bringing families to the Hill to have their voices heard. In the Spring, we do “spring cleaning” and in the summer we focus on ozone — and take a break to enjoy the warm summer days with our children!
Throughout the year we, of course, remain on high alert for situations, political leaders, government agencies and/or corporations that are engaging in actions that are counterproductive to clean air — and as grizzly bear mamas who feel their cubs are being threatened we will respond quickly, boldly and publicly to defend our children from those actions.
A FORCE TO RECKON WITH — Moms for Clean Air
by Adriane Andersen
What’s more universal than a mother fighting fiercely to protect her child? Motherhood transcends barriers—political, economical, social and religious differences. Collectively, moms are a political force to reckon with. The women of Utah Mothers for Clean Air (UMCA) call themselves “grizzly bear mamas.” Like mother grizzlies, they don’t pick fights often, but when they do, they win.
UMCA members pride themselves in their unique approach to engaging in political battle. With a baby on a hip and the occasional baked good in hand, these moms favor an attack strategy that features good manners, sit-down conversations, and actively engaging those they’re trying to win over. This testifies to the powerful—not forceful—nature of these mothers. Talk about a breath of fresh air.
In the winter of 2007, Salt Lake saw 22 consecutive Red Alert days. In response to this “pea soup” air, UMCA founder Cherise Udell acted on a “two-second inspiration,” contacting mothers in her area to organize an effort to clean up Utah’s air. She sent out a simple and sincere email inviting others to join her in this campaign. With the resounding responses Cherise received, it was clear she’d struck a nerve, and UMCA was born. Several of the moms expressed relief that a group like UMCA had been formed, where they could address feelings and con cerns about their children growing up in such a noxious environment. Out of the miasma came the crystal-clear inspiration to start a non-heirarchical, collaborative group of empowered and motivated women.
Utah Moms for Clean Air rally under the banner of child and health advocacy, a cause impervious to criticism. Hand in hand, these moms have created the strongest of Red Rover chains, undaunted by the task of challenging big coal and power industries. Pressure from UMCA may have contributed to Rocky Mountain Power announcing this year that they will not build any more coal plants for 10 years, though they had three plants in progress. Additionally, thanks to UMCA, School Bus Amendment H.B. 146 passed, which allots $100,000 to the state of Utah to retrofit school buses with cleaner, less polluting technology. “Mothers are not a demographic that you think of as politically powerful or politically active,” says Udell. “Mothers depoliticize the political process because their agenda is so transparent.” After all, who has a purer motive than a mother looking after her offspring?
UMCA was practically born running. Its first words were “emissions” and “amendment.” Now, at almost a year old, there’s no nap time for this toddler.
THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE UTAH MOMS FOR CLEAN AIR HAPPEN (UNDER CONSTRUCTION):
SALT LAKE CITY
Rachael Herrscher is the co-founder, CEO and Publisher of Today’s Mama, a national blog devoted to mothers, which started in Utah. Her favorite words to live by are by Albert Einstein: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Rachael is on the Advisory Board of Utah Moms for Clean Air.
Cherise Udell, the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air, is a mother of two young daughters and a resident of Salt Lake City. Cherise has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley and is nearly finished with her M.S. in Environmental Health and Social Ecology at Yale University. Her husband, Kent, is a Lehi native with Utah roots spanning back many generations. Prior to being a mom and an advocate for clean air, she was an Amazon jungle guide with an impressive 12-inch machete (really!).
As a mother of two small children she was horrified by the dangerous quality of Utah’s air in the winter of 2007. On red alert days she felt as if she was locking her babies in a windowless room full of chain smokers. Thus, she wrote a simple, but heartfelt letter, to about 100 moms inviting them to join her and other mothers who want to help make Utah’s air cleaner and safer — and the response has been phenomenal. Hundreds of mothers emailed her saying, “yes, count me in” and Utah Moms for Clean Air was born.
Cherise is the Founder and President of Utah Moms for Clean Air.
Kent Udell grew up in Lehi, Utah. He earned his B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Utah State University and his M.S. and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. With appointments in both Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, he taught engineering at the University of California, Berkeley for 26 years, serving as the Director of the Berkeley Environmental Restoration Center, as the chair of the campus-wide hazardous waste management committee, and as vice-chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. His research interests include sustainable energy engineering, ethics and thermodynamics.
Kent is on the Board of Directors of Utah Moms for Clean Air and enjoys the role of Science Advisor.
Shanna was born in Murray, Utah, and grew up all around the Wasatch Front. She spent most of her growing up years in Kearns. Shanna moved to Sevier County when she was in high school and just couldn’t leave the beautiful valley and great people. She has been there for 15 years now and loves the clean air.
She is the stay-at-home / home school mother of six children ranging in ages from 2-11. Of her six children, three have been diagnosed with asthma. Shanna knows all too well what this means for her children as she too has the disease and works hard to help educate others about the dangers asthma poses. Her children are the fifth documented generation in her family to have it. She is married to Corey Bastian and they are currently waiting for the family farm, a dream he has had since he was a child.
Shanna is Founder of the Sevier County chapter of Utah Moms for Clean Air.
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