Mother’s Day: Environmental Health and Maternal Health


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mothers-day-cake

By Kavitha Pramod
May 13, 2012

Today children and families around the country will be celebrating their love for their mothers.  Along with the flowers, brunches, and cakes this Mother’s Day, take a minute to recognize important environmental issues affecting the well-being of mothers and their children in this country and around the world.

On the environmental front here in the United States, it is well-known that pesticides and other chemicals make their way into many products that we eat, drink, and use in our homes.  In the United States, a 2012 study was conducted to take a closer look at a common insecticide used to treat fruits and vegetables.  “Chlorpyrifos” is a pesticide that is often applied to products in order to kill insects.  In this study, exposure of pregnant mothers to this chemical was linked to changes in the brains of small children.  The side effects of pesticides bring to light the need for local and organic produce. We can also advocate for women who work in agricultural settings by supporting organizations such as Project HOPE and Project LEAF.

Worldwide, there are even more challenging environmental issues affecting mothers-to-be. According to Water.org, poor nutrition and drinking dirty water leads to the tragic deaths of thousands of babies and young children every day.  And by the same token, access to fresh water for pregnant women is extremely important in allowing them to maintain their health and to protect them from serious diseases that can be transmitted by unclean water.  In addition, women in these communities are often required to travel many miles by foot to collect whatever water is available to them, regardless of how clean it is.  Having to collect water in this way is grueling work, and puts a very great strain on both mothers and children in these communities.

The Mother’s Day Every Day campaign aims to address the challenges faced by mothers and children in this country and around the world.  This campaign, a collaboration between CARE and The White Ribbon Alliance, is drawing attention to the fact that thousands of women and children die during pregnancy and childbirth daily, and often for reasons that are preventable.  Skilled birthing attendants, family planning, and strong health care systems can save women and newborns’ lives, and the organization continually works to generate support for these services.

Mother’s Day is indeed a special day of the year where families come together to celebrate the important role that mothers play in all of our lives.  This Mother’s Day, Sierra Club Green Home encourages you to consider all of the mothers around the world who can benefit from the work of organizations such as Water.org and The White Ribbon Alliance and, if you think your mother would appreciate it, maybe make a donation in her name.

For related articles, see:
A Stove That Saves Lives and Slows Global Warming
25 Eco-Friendly Gifts for the Holidays 

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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