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03/24/2011

Not on My Watch

I just became a grandmother.

Elsie Ford Mann arrived early Sunday morning, weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces. What a thrill to pay a quick visit to meet her and to see that all is well with her and her parents.

They are very much on my mind.  And suddenly the world looks different to me. 

The other day, before Elsie arrived, I had my temperature taken for a routine check-up. The nurse slid a sensor across my forehead. It made me think of the "more invasive" way they took your temperature when I was a baby, and how much our mid-20th century medical methods and instruments have changed. Elsie will be spared considerable discomfort and risks from having her temperature taken. There have been all kinds of advances that help Elsie's and other parents provide a safer environment for children born today.

But what about her exposure to toxins? I look at the biggest sources of mercury and other toxins that threaten my granddaughter — coal-fired power plants — and they are frozen in time. Today, there are plants spewing mercury and other airborne toxins just as they were when I was born, almost 60 years ago. There are ways to modify those plants to limit their pollution — improvements that could and should have been installed years ago — but the industry has managed to get them delayed. 

Better yet, there are new, cheaper cleaner energy sources that befit a modern society and won't poison the air and cause other serious environmental and health problems. To all you grandparents out there — and parents, too — I know we can do better. And I know that we need to band together to demand better from our public officials, because right now they are feeling a crush of pressure from a coal industry that wants to thwart the EPA and avoid pollution controls and buy time to maximize their profits. 

All together now: "Not on my watch!"

You can find out more about the dangers of mercury and how can be tested (a lock of your hair is all it takes) in the Club's Stop Polluters campaign at sierraclub.org/stoppolluters.


-- Robin Mann
Sierra Club President, a.k.a. Elsie’s grandmother


P.S. I want to let you know about two upcoming Monday evening conference calls —

  • March 28 (Monday) — Clubhouse Guided Tour
  • April 4 (Monday) — Intro to Activist Network
  • April 11 (Monday) — Guided Tour of New Features in Activist Network

    5 pm Pacific / 6 pm Mountain / 7 pm Central / 8 pm Eastern
    866-501-6174 — 1892-005#

P.P.S. Club members, you should have received your ballot for the board election. Please read the candidate statements and vote.

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