Moms Clean ‘Air Force’ to mobilize around environmental initiatives Friday

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BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon resident Leah Barbor recently accepted a position with Moms Clean Air Force, which is a national environmental group focused on climate and air pollution, and on Friday, she is hosting a Moms Clean Air Force Communing for Climate Party.

The Jan. 17 event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is aimed at letting folks know about the organization and how to become more involved.

“Moms Clean Air Force is a community of more than a million moms, dads and caregivers who are united against air pollution who are working to help change the climate crisis,” she said. “Here in West Virginia, our focus is on climate change. The purpose of the Friday meeting is to start talking about ways to act to support a healthy future for our children and the environment.”

Barbor said she hopes to hear from people and learn about their concerns. Also, she’s planning to distribute some relevant fact sheets regarding the issue in West Virginia and teach folks how to bring the issues home and talk about how West Virginia is being affected by climate change and ways to take action.

“I think in daily lives, folks can do things to help like remembering to bring their reusable grocery bags when shopping and not adding to the amount of plastics,” Barbor said. “Another idea is to make a five-minute phone call to your legislator – reaching out to your representatives and amplifying your voice – they want to hear from us.”

She said she intends to streamline the process to assist folks in connecting with elected representatives.

“If people want to start doing something, they can become a member of a list which contains five-minute actionable things,” Barbor said. “I will be the climate watchdog – for instance when U.S. Senator Joe Manchin does something responsible with respect to climate change action, we can thank him as a group by putting in a five-minute phone call to his office and commend him for that action and let him know we look forward to the opportunity to extend our gratitude for things he is doing in the future.”

Barbor said she also wants the group to contact governmental representatives and hold them accountable when they work against the group’s clean-air mission.

“Other things we want to encourage folks to do is to write op-eds and letters to the editor,” Barbor said. “The mission, specifically in West Virginia, is we are in this to lift each other up and to be more solution-oriented because this is something we can do. The most effective way of amplifying people’s voice is empowering them to use it.”

Barbor said the group’s website is www.momscleanairforce.org.

“There is a lot of information there, and a lot of articles folks can read,” she said. “It is a really great resource. The group is approximately eight years old.”

She joined the Moms Clean Air Force in September 2019 as the West Virginia field consultant.

“I did so because I am familiar with Moms and its mission,” she said. “I have an environmental science background, and it was a really beautiful way to merge my two passions together and be in service to my children and all children, and to a cause that is greater than me.”

Friday’s meeting is for anyone who is curious or wants to engage in a discussion about climate change and clean air, as well as for those more familiar with the issues and are seeking the tools to help.

“Those who want to know, ‘how can we do this?’ – those are who we are looking for,” Barbor said. “All are welcome and it’s not exclusive to parents; all those who are climate-oriented are welcome to attend and become involved. Mostly, our agenda for the gathering includes a discussion from my regional field director Elizabeth Brandt. She is coming in from Washington, D.C. and she and I will discuss Moms National and Moms in West Virginia. We will also be engaging in a climate-related game to help ramp up knowledge about climate change.”

Anyone who wants to know more about the Moms Clean Air Force can call Barbor at 304-212-8852 for information about the group or join in on Friday’s Moms Clean Air Force Communing for Climate Party.

The Moms Clean Air Force West Virginia group has a Facebook page, and Barbor encourages folks to like the page to receive updates on ways to help.