Mothers on Climate Change: Dear Mrs. Obama


Angela Monti Fox

On Mothers Day, we take time to reflect, remember and honor the strength, power and influence of mothers. Angela Monti Fox, one of our Climate Mama heroes, has been a mentor and teacher to us and is one of these mothers whose strength and drive has motivated her to reach beyond her own children and to advocate and work to protect all of our children.

Like all of us, Angela wears many hats. She is a psychotherapist, social worker, and a long time activist, as well as the mother to 3 wonderful, successful children. One of her children Josh Fox is the film maker of Gasland and Gasland II, movies which have and continue to ignite and galvanize individuals and grassroots organizations the world over to join forces in the fight against hydraulic fracturing.

In her “spare time” Angela has taken her son’s rallying cry and created The Mothers Project: Mothers for Sustainable Energy a galvanizing and organizing place for mothers to come together to protect their children from the powerful forces and adverse impacts of the the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. The Mothers Project is also a place to advocate for the development of clean energy sources.

The Mothers Project

As their advocates and protectors, we support energy sources that do not fill our children’s environment—and thus their bodies—with toxic pollutants. Recognizing that our children’s lives are inextricably bound to the abiding ecology of the planet, we support energy sources that do not threaten the stability of the world’s climate, acidify its oceans, or fill the air with asthma- inducing, cancer-causing fumes. As mothers are the first environments for our children, we mothers support energy sources that do not threaten the inner sanctuaries of pregnancy with chemicals linked to birth defects, preterm birth, and cognitive deficits.

Taken from The Mothers Project Mission Statement

Angela, as part of her mission and with the help of some other powerful women and mothers, penned a letter to another powerful and influential mother, Michelle Obama which was published on Mothers Day 2012 in the New York Times. The letter calls on Mrs. Obama to take up this battle on behalf of her children and ours. Take a minute, grab the kids in your life, and read this letter to them, and then sign it and show them that you to are powerful too!

Dear Mrs. Obama,

We are mothers from all walks of life writing to you about an urgent matter: the health threats to our children posed by extreme forms of fossil fuel extraction, in particular, the process of drilling oil and natural gas using high-volume, hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking.”

The ongoing drilling and fracking boom has spurred the proliferation of drill rigs in backyards, schoolyards, and family farms across America. These are places where our children live, play, and learn. Even areas near daycare centers and summer camps have been targeted for drilling and fracking, a process in which explosives and high-pressure mixtures of water and chemicals are used to blast apart bedrock.
Because children cannot vote or make public policy, because children are more vulnerable than adults to toxic exposures, and because parents are charged with keeping children safe and providing for their future, we, the undersigned mothers, have joined with scientists, pediatricians, and public health officials in calling for a moratorium on fracking until the potential effects on children’s health and the environment can be carefully studied.

1 Right now, demonstration of safety does not exist. We are concerned about air pollution. Smog levels are high in communities near drilling and fracking sites.

2 This kind of air pollution is linked to childhood asthma, lost school days, and higher health care costs.

3 It is also linked to low birth weight and preterm birth.

4 We are concerned about drinking water. Methane contamination of family drinking water wells has occurred near gas wells in Pennsylvania. Benzene and other chemicals used during natural gas operations have been detected in groundwater near gas drilling operations in Wyoming.

5 We are concerned about chemical spills. Although many chemicals used in drilling and fracking are considered proprietary, we know the list of ingredients includes substances linked to childhood cancers, birth defects, and hormone disruption.

6 We are concerned about reports of reproductive problems and deaths among pets, cows, and wildlife exposed to drilling and fracking operations. We wonder what message these animals hold for pregnant women living near drill sites.

7 We are concerned about the radioactive content of fracking wastewater and the lack of a comprehensive plan for its permanent disposal.

8 We are concerned about noise pollution from 24/7 drilling operations, heavy machinery, and associated truck traffic. Noise pollution is associated with stress, disrupted sleep, and learning and behavioral difficulties.

9 We are concerned about the industrialization of open space. Filling up farm fields, pastures, wilderness areas, and state parks with waste pits, pipelines, drill pads, condensers, and compressor stations transforms the landscape our children inhabit. It undermines our efforts to bring healthy food from local farms to our dinner tables. It denies families opportunities for outdoor physical activity in natural areas.
Scientists are just beginning to address questions about the impact of drilling and fracking on children’s health. We support and encourage this ongoing inquiry. But we also believe that—until the answers are in, and in the face of fundamental uncertainties— benefit of the doubt belongs to our children, not to the things that threaten them.

10 We are guided by these truths, which we hold to be self-evident:

We know that water is life.
We know that methane is explosive.
We know that groundwater, once contaminated, cannot be cleaned up.
We know that we cannot shop for clean air.
We know that drilling and fracking operations require hundreds of truck trips per well and that many of these trucks haul
poisonous chemicals.
We know that accidents happen.
We know that toxic injuries in pregnancy and early childhood have lifelong consequences.
We know that you shouldn’t break something that you can’t fix.

Our appeal is simple and fundamental to our role as mothers. We do not want children drinking milk from cows grazing on chemically contaminated pastures. We do not want children breathing benzene on school playgrounds. We do not want convoys of water and gravel trucks sharing the roadways with school buses. Nor with teenagers learning to drive. Nor with kids on bicycles. We do not want children used as subjects in a reckless experiment whose long-term consequences and cumulative impacts are not yet understood.

We do want to bequeath to our children and grandchildren an unfractured, unpoisoned world.

Thank you.
Warmest regards,
Angela Monti Fox, mother of Gasland filmmaker, Josh Fox

So today, please take a moment, and SIGN this letter, for your children, mine and all of ours….


Climate Mama

Obama family photo credit: photo credit: bo mackison via photopin cc

This entry was posted in Climate Mamas & Papas, fracking and pipelines, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mothers on Climate Change: Dear Mrs. Obama

  1. Dear Harriet: I am deeply grateful and honored that you would write and post this precious tribute. Thank you for all of your work in supporting The Mothers Project and bringing together the wonderful women of New Jersey to form The Mothers Project of New Jersey and for all the women and men you reach through your blog and your work! This is the struggle of our time and I am grateful to still be here on this earth to be a part of it.
    thanks, Angela

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