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Scientists engage moms to help fight climate change on behalf of kids

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Danielle Smith

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(Keystone State News Connection) Moms from a nonpartisan climate science group are gearing up for summer, getting the word out to Pennsylvania families on how more frequent and extreme weather events can affect children.

Last year, the U.S. experienced 28 separate weather and climate disasters, including a wildfire in Hawaii, tornado outbreaks and major flooding events.

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Tracey Holloway, professor of energy analysis and policy at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a member of the group "Science Moms," pointed out mothers are often the decision makers for their household purchases, so doing some research can make a difference.

"Climate change is a real issue and there are real solutions," Holloway pointed out. "When we're making big purchases, to be thinking about whether this is a purchase that's going to move things forward in the right way; whether it's an electric vehicle, rather than one that uses a lot of gasoline, or an energy-efficient dishwasher."

According to a Climate Change Impacts Assessment from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, rainfall in the state is expected to increase by an average of 8 percent annually, with winter and spring seeing the most significant surges.

Holloway added it is important to move toward cleaner energy quickly, as it will help families to be healthier in the long run.

"Almost anything we do to reduce carbon emissions also reduces emissions of a lot of other chemicals in the air," Holloway noted. "These include nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, and cancer-causing chemicals. So, there are immediate health benefits from moving to clean energy."

She added many climate solutions lie not with individuals, but with corporations producing energy and manufacturing vehicles, as well as with the elected officials who shape policies. She encouraged moms in Pennsylvania to share information, speak up and work with lawmakers on solutions for climate change.