What parents can do

“A growing number of parent activists — or parents turned activists — are joining forces to build a platform for change on behalf of their children. Parents, after all, have a kind of moral authority that can be a significant asset.”
Allison Guerette and John Wihbey


Content on this page:

Introduction
Websites and organisations
Climate change sites for kids
Clippings from the news media

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Introduction

Are you a parent? Do you have young children? If you are, then this page will provide some inspiration for you in terms of how to deal with the issues of climate change.


Illuminating where the paths for activism lie

Watch this short video clip:

“It is time now to play the Save the World Symphony. I don’t know what instrument you hold but you need to play it as best you can and find your place in the score. You don’t have to play solo here, but this is our task now.

In the same way that my father at age 18 was shipped off to Italy to fight Hitler’s army. It was the task of his generation to defeat global fascism – and at the time he was sent it looked like an overwhelming job. The Thousand Year Reign. It didn’t look good for our side, but never the less – that was the right thing to do.

And my father — even though he suffered his whole life from what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder — was ever proud of the role he played. And so, at this point in our history, it is the environmental crisis that is the great moral crisis of our age. And in that I don’t want to be a ‘Good German’. I don’t want to be so paralyzed by Well-Informed Facility Syndrome that I don’t look around me and see the signs of harm. I want to be one of the French Resistance. I want to be the people who stand up and say: “This is not right. No matter how difficult this is to change, we are going to have to change it.”



Biologist, mother and activist Sandra Steingraber explained her role in inspiring others to protect children from environmental toxins and climate change — and why she was willing to go to jail for blocking access to the construction of a storage and transportation facility involved in the controversial process of fracking — in the one-hour American tv programme Moyers & Company on 19 April 2013.

“I see my job as not helping people to feel they can be safe,” she says, “but rather showing and illuminating where the paths for activism lie.”


Read this article:

» The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media – 23 April 2013:
Parenting in an Age of Climate Change: Communicating the Tough Truths to Children
Climate communications takes on a new seriousness when it is one’s own children needing to be communicated with. By Allison Guerette & John Wihbey




Listen to this podcast:

“When my 14-year-old daughter asks me what the world will be like for her children, I’m confronted with a problem all of us face as parents: how do we make our kids aware of a problem like climate change, but not afraid?

Taking action is best antidote to feeling overwhelmed, so I encourage her to flex her Citizen Muscle. Today she might write to the president or organize a bake sale for typhoon victims. Tomorrow, she might run for student council. Beyond that, the future is in her hands. I want her to know that she has the power and the responsibility to make it kid-safe and climate-safe.

For every parent, and every kid, there is the good first step and a great next step. So have a listen, download it for later, or subscribe to the series. However you listen, I hope you enjoy this episode of The Good Stuff!

Here’s to Solutions!

Annie

P.S. Please share out this podcast on Facebook (or Twitter) – help us make sure that all the parents, everywhere, hear about climate solutions for kids!”


» Podcast:  www.storyofstuff.org/podcasts/kids-parents-and-climate
Talk with Lisa Hoyos of Climate Parents, a groundbreaking organisation that mobilises parents as a powerful force to combat climate change


“Given the scale of the problem and how much is required of us as a society, we need parents to exercise their voices. I really strongly believe that parents, once they understand the issue, care more than anyone.”
Lisa Hoyos, co-founder of Climate Parents


“Everybody who is a parent or a grand parent – anybody who thinks about the future of their children – needs to be extremely scared because time is running out. What is at stake here is humanity’s ability to live on this planet. We still have the opportunity to avert catastrophic climate change by moving rapidly to investing in clean energy. Investing one cent more in oil, coal and gas is investing in the death of society, and the in the death of our children. (…) What we need is an energy revolution.”
Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – interviewed in Philippino tv programme on ANC, uploaded on Youtube.com on 4 June 2013

 


Taking care of what we love

“We’re simply not rising to meet our potential. When it comes climate change, we’re avoiding the tough decisions instead of stepping up to the challenge, pure and simple. Seeing us cross the 400 ppm threshold or reading another climate denier distort the facts in the papers, I know we are better than this. Because what we are not, as Auden would have it, is extraordinary.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, think back to the generations that came before us and the existential challenges they faced. The ones, for example, who came together selflessly to defeat Nazi tyranny, whether they were daily risking death on the front lines or working hard on the home front. They took on this challenge because there were people and places in their lives they loved deeply and utterly, and there was nothing they wouldn’t do to protect them. And in part because of that love, they won.
We don’t have to face bullets, but we do have to face reality and make real choices about climate change. Those of us who’ve been working in the movement for decades are used to being called merchants of doom and gloom (and sometimes much worse). These names miss the point entirely. What gets me out of bed isn’t dread, but love for the faces that appear in my picture frames and around my breakfast table. Given a choice between giving up my arms or something happening to my family or friends, I’d offer you my legs too. Just like any mother, I want my children to have the freedom to make the lives they want. I also want to be able to run in the mountains and savor a cup of Moka Java in the morning. I could go on and everyone will have their own list, but in every case, this means taking care of what we love on this exquisite planet.
This is the challenge of our time, the one that will define us to our grandchildren and beyond.”

» Ecowatch.com – 26 May 2013:
Quiet Climate Milestones
By Maggie L. Fox


Talking about climate change isn’t your kids’ job. It’s yours

Video uploaded to Youtube.com on 1 November 2012.


Video uploaded to Youtube.com on 31 January 2012.

TELL FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO SPEAK UP ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

“Few people have a voice as powerful as First Lady — and First Mom — Michelle Obama. It isn’t a cliché: a mother’s work, a parent’s work, will never be done. It is imperative that we parents unite to protect our children’s sacred right to clean air. In honor of Mother’s Day, join us in encouraging First Lady Michelle Obama to raise her powerful voice and speak up about climate change.”

“Sometimes being a good mom means being an engaged citizen.
It’s time for moms to roar!”


Moms Clean Air Force

Actress and mother Julianne Moore released a new video calling on parents to join the fight against toxic air pollution. In the video, which endorses a nonpartisan grassroots group called the Moms Clean Air Force, Moore appears along with the heroine of her popular children’s books, ‘Freckleface Strawberry’.

Moms are becoming a powerful force in American politics. They are telling Washington that they will not allow their children’s health to be compromised by dirty fossil fuel power plants, the single largest source of pollution in the U.S. The Moms Clean Air Force is a growing community of tens of thousands of moms — from all across the political spectrum and all across the country — uniting to make their voices heard to protect their children’s health.

“Clean air should be above politics,” Moore said. “The discussion about regulations to protect our air has gotten so polarized that we have forgotten an important thing: We all breathe the same air. And all our children suffer because of pollution. We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We can have both. We can have what’s best for all our children.”

President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law in 1970 with overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans; however, the law is now under dangerous political attack. The new mercury and air toxics standards signed in December 2011, after 21 years of planning, are already under political attack, with some politicians in Congress and lobbyists for the utility and coal industries calling to annul it or defund the Environmental Protection Agency.

Responding to this threat, Moms Clean Air Force is bringing parents together in support of a simple idea: That every child has the right to breathe clean air.

Moore became interested in Moms Clean Air Force after Dominique Browning, the group’s Co-Founder and Senior Director and former Editor-in-Chief of House & Garden, contacted her last summer:

“I wrote to Julianne, knowing she is a protective mom, asking her if she would help us spread the word about the connection between toxic—and invisible—air pollution and children’s health, and she responded immediately,” Browning said.

“Julianne joins a Force of thousands of mothers with real concerns about mercury poisoning, asthma, behavioral issues, and host of other problems associated with polluted air. Together we are determined to clear the air and protect the health of our children and loved ones.”

Moms Clean Air Force is a coalition of mothers including Blythe Danner, Laila Ali, and Jessica Capshaw, and partner groups such as Healthy Child, Healthy World, Asthma Moms, Latism (Latinos in Social Media), Me and my 1000 Girlfriends, Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environment (ANHE), Care2, BlogHer, Clever Girls Collective, and Me and My 1000 Girlfriends.

» Post this on Facebook: edf.org/juliannemooreFBvid

Video uploaded to Youtube.com on 16 October 2012.

Moms and climate change – petition

Julianne Moore, mom and award-winning actress, talks about what every mother needs to know about climate change. She wants to let Washington politicians hear your voice protecting our children and grandchildren. Tell President Obama: Break the Climate Paralysis.

» Join Julianne Moore and sign the petition: action.momscleanairforce.org

» Sign the petition: Tell First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak Up About Climate Change!



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Websites and organisations


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Mothers Out Front
“We are mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers who can no longer be silent and still about the very real danger that climate change poses to our children’s and grandchildren’s future.”
» Declaration of Protection for Our Children Against Climate Change
» www.mothersoutfront.org

Families for a Safe Climate
Families For a Safe Climate is a group based in Ashburton, Melbourne, Australia. They formed in 2006 (as Families Facing Climate Change) as a group of families concerned that our governments (state and federal) weren’t doing enough to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Their purpose is to empower the community to take action to ensure a safe climate.
» www.climatechange.org.au


Climate Parents – primarily for parents in the U.S.:
Climate Parents was launched to give voice to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else concerned about the climate our children are inheriting.
The co-founders of Climate Parents are Lisa Hoyos, a mother who spent most of her career in the labor and environmental movements and worked as a staffer to the natural resources committee in the California legislature, and journalist, author and single-dad Mark Hertsgaard. Climate Parents aims to lobby government for polices to reduce climate change. They are calling on parents to do something about climate change, in the same way they would step in if a speeding train were headed for their child:
“We want to bring together parents from every walk of life to take action. Whether you’re a long time advocate on climate change or just beginning to understand its implications for our kids, Climate Parents is for you.”
“As parents, we are deeply concerned about global warming’s impact on what we hold most dear: our kids. If we want our children to have a healthy future, we need bold action on global warming right now. And that requires action from us. Sign up below to get involved.”
» Radio programme about Climate Parents: A Call For Parents To Act Against Climate Change
» Home page: www.climateparents.org


Parents Against Climate Change:
“Their Legacy is our Failure – Education and World View Change”. A place to meet, organize and share information, research and educational ideas.
» Home page: www.parentsagainstclimatechange.org
» Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ParentsAgainstClimateChange


Parents for Climate Protection – in Brooklyn, USA:
» Home page:www.climateactivism.org


Parents for Climate Action
» Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ParentsForClimateAction


Green Parenting
“Becoming a parent is life-changing and brings into focus the priority of healthy choices and the responsibility of the environmental sustainability of our planet.”
– Environmental Media Association president Debbie Levin
» Home page:  www.ema-online.org/green-parenting


Climate Mama
“You are a mother, a father, a grandparent, an uncle, an aunt, a teacher or a child at heart. Climate change and global warming are words that alarm you, that often seem too big to get your arms around. You care about what’s happening to the world and notice small changes in your own life that seem to point in the direction of a threatened environment.”
» Home page:  www.climatemama.com


EMA’s favorite go-to green parenting websites:
» Healthy Child Healthy World
» The Honest Company
» Environmental Working Group
» Eco Child’s Play
» Vine
» Green and Clean Mom
» Mighty Nest
» Inhabitots
» The Green Mom Review
» EcoHearth Happy Hippie Citrus Lane


Helpful tips for ‘greening parents’

» Parent Board Chair Constance Zimmer’s simple tips for a green home & family

» Kimberly & James Van Der Beek’s Green Home Essentials List

» Babycenter’s 20 Small Steps That Make a Big Difference

» Healthy Green Tips for Pregnancy and Everyday Life

» How to Have an Eco-Friendly Pregnancy

» Natural Parenting Tips: Green Cleaning – 8 Eco-Friendly Ways

 



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Climate Change sites for kids

 


Climate Change for Kids
Twelve Really Important Things you can do to help stop global warming




» Climate change board on pinterest.comwith links to various sites and pages

» Climates and Buddies
Beta-Site, in the making


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Clippings from the news media


» The Conversation – 7 November 2014:
Our kids need to learn about climate change
Kids need to learn about climate change in a way they can understand, and that teaches them they can help.



» Moms Clean Air Force – 5 October 2014:
Raising Kids In A Changing Climate: What Parents Need To Know
How does a changing climate affect our children’s health? And what can parents do about it?


Chris Shaw“So I wake up on New Years Day 2014 to another day of storms, my family all stuck indoors again because of the weather, and know this isn’t just another day, a normal winter storm. This is climate change. Here and now, and affecting our lives, negatively. But how can I talk to my children about this, why burden them with a bleak world view, whilst they have no agency or ability to change the situation? How do I carry on with encouraging them to do homework and plan their future careers, when my gut instinct is that I should be teaching them how to survive in a world of insecure food supplies, and cope with a failed neo-liberal economy no longer able to function in a world wrecked by climate change.
If I stood by my convictions, I would act as though my children had been given months to live. That would mean no school, none of the dreary routines which define success in this economy. It would mean finally living, the kind of living that only the realisation of imminent death can bring. It would mean going down laughing, fighting and being wholly in the un-mediated moment.” (…)
Chris Shaw

» Continue readling:

» The Huffington Post UK – 1 January 2014:
Children of the Jet Stream: Parenting in an Age of Climate Change


» On the Green Front – 18 September 2013:
Debbie Friedman: Moms Advocating Sustainability (podcast)
Debbie Friedman talks about her organization, Moms Advocating Sustainability, and their accomplishments fighting toxins at the five year mark.


» Environmental Media Organisation – 16 September 2013:
How to Be a Green Parent Without Going Crazy
“There are tons of different parenting philosophies out there. But in the end, there’s one common denominator that brings together the helicopter moms with the gluten-free bunch — we all want to raise our child in as healthy a way as possible.”


» Huffington Post – 19 July 2013:
The Face Of Climate Change: Our Children’s Health
Documented health effects of climate change on children. By Molly Rauch


» Common Dreams – 16 June 2013:
The Father’s Day Present I Want: Action On Climate Change
By John Friedrich


» Source Wire News – 1 March 2013:
Parents campaign on climate change
Becoming a parent makes two thirds of people feel more concerned about green issues. The campaign launches today as part of Climate Week (4-10 March), Britain’s biggest environmental occasion, with over half a million people expected to attend 3,000 events across the UK. Supporters include the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan and the Prime Minister, David Cameron. The campaign is backed by the UK’s largest charity for parents, NCT, and by Family Lives, which helps over a million children each year.


» Democracy Now – 20 July 2013:
Climate Parents: For Kids’ Future, Mark Hertsgaard Urges Families to Take On Global Warming


» The Daily Beast – 18 July 2013:
Parents Need to Act Against Climate Change for Their Kids’ Sake
Droughts, heat waves—with the evidence mounting of major climate change, why aren’t parents taking action to protect their children from its dire effects? Mark Hertsgaard calls for parents to act just like they would if a train was heading toward their children. By Mark Hertsgaard


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