I still remember the ritual well. First thing every morning, my sister would have to sit for 10 minutes and breathe in asthma medication through a nebulizer machine. It didn’t matter if we were at home or on vacation, school day or weekend, that’s how my family began the day, every day, for the early part of her childhood.
This routine likely sounds familiar for millions of Americans. Over 17 million adults in this country suffer from asthma, while more than 6 million children do. Every year, the condition results in 10.5 million doctor visits, and nearly 2 million visits to the emergency room.
I know how scary those attacks were for my family, experiences unfortunately shared by too many parents across the country. This World Asthma Day it’s a good time to reflect on the ways we can do better, so that hopefully this narrative won’t sound familiar to future generations.
One of the ways we can do better is to continue growing American wind power.
As a pollution-free electricity source, wind energy is already making a big difference. By cutting the pollution that creates smog and triggers asthma attacks, wind created $7.3 billion in public health benefits in 2015 alone.
Electricity generated by U.S. wind farms last year helped avoid 176,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide and 106,000 metric tons of nitrogen oxide.
As wind generates more of America’s electricity, these benefits will grow. By 2050, wind could create 35 percent of the country’s electricity. In that scenario, it would save nearly $110 billion in public health costs by cutting air pollutants, while preventing 22,000 premature deaths.
Every family wants clean air for their children to breathe. No parent wants to contend with frightening asthma attacks, or have their children forced to take daily medication just so they can breathe clearly. Creating more of our electricity with pollution-free wind power is one of the most effective ways to ensure a cleaner future. This World Asthma Day, let’s commit to making this vision a reality.