A pediatrician’s Mother’s Day wish

By Lori Byron, past president, Montana Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Hardin.

This Mother’s Day, consider the ultimate gift.

Mothers strive to give their children the best lives possible with their nurture and protection. Mothers work to provide healthy foods, a safe environment, an educational jump-start. Most moms want the best for their children. Yet some things are beyond our immediate control. A mother’s body will starve herself and deplete her own iron supplies to give such nutrients to her fetus. Yet 16,000 babies in the U.S. are born prematurely every year due to air pollution. And when pregnant mothers are exposed to air pollution, their babies are more likely to develop autism, schizophrenia, obesity.

Children exposed to air pollution are more likely to develop asthma and heart disease, even with great parenting.

To help protect our future generations, we can transition to clean, nonpolluting energy sources. One market-based method that will help is Carbon Fee and Dividend — charging companies a fee to pollute the air that harms our health. The revenues from the fees are returned to all U.S. citizens. Doing so actually grows the economy and jobs.

This Mother’s Day, please write/call U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester and U.S. Congressman Greg Gianforte to support carbon pricing. For our mothers, our children, our future.