Celerah Hughes from USA

New Mexico is known for its beautiful skies and outdoor spaces, but Albuquerque continues to receive failing ozone grades in the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report.

Climate change is greatly impacting New Mexico and the Southwest with drought and longer, more intense wildfire seasons, and increased heat waves that threaten the health of New Mexico families. We have seen rising heat and climate impacts, including wildfires that were causing air pollution from fires over 400 miles away. This summer, the wildfires burning in Arizona put Albuquerque on a public health alert as smoke and particulates traveled hundreds of miles. As a member of Moms Clean Air Force, I have had the opportunity to speak with elected leaders and government agencies about these issues, because we must make them understand the urgency of climate change.

On her first day of summer camp, my eight-year-old daughter suffered from heat stroke as we saw the beginning of a heat wave hitting the Southwest. On the third day, I had to explain that she could not play outside because the air was dirty from smoke and particulate matter caused wildfires in another state. This August, we have had numerous days where Air Quality officials have told us the air outside is unhealthy due to smoke and ozone and our skies are so thick with particulate matter, we cannot see the Sandia Mountains. Our children now have to spend large portions of the summer inside because the air outside is dangerous to breathe.

We have to make a change now, before this becomes the new normal.

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