Federal officials say cold-climate heat pumps can provide high-efficiency heating in freezing temperatures without producing greenhouse gas emissions. (Adobe Stock)

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By Mike Moren

April 6, 2023   

April is Earth Month, and moms who work in scientific fields are trying to get the attention of other parents, hoping they’ll take advantage of clean-energy opportunities. They say there are options even in rural states like South Dakota.

The federal Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of tax credits households can use to transition to clean-energy products for consumers.

A campaign by the nonpartisan group Science Moms has launched to let more people know about these incentives.

Joellen Russell, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona and co-founder of Science Moms, said there is greater awareness about the effects of fossil fuels, and staying with them is not in children’s best interest.

“The normal, the status quo, is taking a toll on children’s developing bodies and threatening their futures,” Russell asserted.

Depending on where you live, she pointed out consistently higher temperatures can lead to heat stroke, while air-quality issues can push asthma cases higher. South Dakota ranks low among states for electric-vehicle charging stations. Russell recommended buying a hybrid instead. And researchers said heat pumps are emerging as a viable alternative to natural gas for home heating, even in cold climates.

Russell added it is normal for parents to feel some pressure to achieve “climate perfection” in their day-to-day life. She reassured them they are not being asked to carry the burden by themselves.

“No one is climate perfect, we’re all on a journey,” Russell stated. “I’m a climate scientist. I know exactly what I’m talking about and yet, I am nowhere near ready.”

But she stressed through collective action, households can help reduce emissions by considering products which fit into their life. Federal incentives also cover home improvements, like new, more energy-efficient doors or windows.

Science Moms also encouraged families to urge their school boards to consider improvements like electric school buses.