November 19, 2014 Day 3 of protests at Massachusetts State House

November 19, 2014 Day 3 of protests at Massachusetts State House

With dignity and humility mothers cross the United States are standing up, speaking out and even risking arrest; showing their children, neighbors and communities, that actions speak louder then words. Over the past few months, mothers in places like Oakland and Mahwah, New Jersey; Seneca Lake and Minisink, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Montpelier, Vermont; San Benito, California; Mars, Pennsylvania; Denton, Texas; Longmont and Broomfield, Colorado, and Cove Point, Maryland, to name only a few, are taking strong stands and even risking arrest to bring attention to immediate dangers from the widespread explosion of extreme energy exploration and infrastructure build out, which is threatening our air, water, food, health, economy, security, future and now.

In the northeast where I live, across New Jersey and New York, mothers and concerned citizens are working with their towns and counties governments to pass resolutions to stop the Pilgrim Pipeline, a fossil fuel infrastructure project which would traverse New Jeresy and New York from Albany to Linden, bringing two dangerous oil pipelines near our homes, schools and through our watersheds, creating immediate health and security risks, and perpetuating long term health and climate dangers.

On November 19th, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, mother, scientist, author and cancer survivor was sentenced to serve 15 days in a New York jail for a peaceful act of civil disobedience; this the second time that this mother has served time in jail in the past 1 1/2 years for peaceful civil disobedience.

sandrasenecaBeginning on October 23rd, Dr. Steingraber and many other concerned citizens have held daily protests to bring attention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reckless decision to expand the storage of methane in crumbling salt caverns that underlie the west bank of Seneca Lake; threatening the drinking supply of over 100,000. Dr. Steingraber stands in unity with her neighbors, united to stop a dangerous plan for turn her community into a “giant gas station for fracking.” These actions can be followed at We Are Senaca Lake.

Sandra Steingraber is my hero, a fighter for truth and justice and fierce protector of children who, as part of The Mothers Project, penned our letter to Mrs. Obama to bring her attention to the crisis we are facing as a result of the production and use of extreme forms of energy. The letter was first published in the New York Times, on Mothers Day weekend 2012.

Yours,

Climate Mama and..
…..Board Member at The Mothers Project

Photo Credit: Mothers Out Front, Massachusetts State House

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640px-Pollinationn“It is useless to attempt to preserve a living species unless the kind of land or water it requires is also preserved. So delicately interwoven are the relationships that when we disturb one thread of the community fabric we alter it all — perhaps almost imperceptibly, perhaps so drastically that destruction follows.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962

Often, when I discuss and explain climate change, I keep in mind and regularly share, Rachel Carson’s reminders about the inter-connectedness of our natural world, and how pulling “one thread” can unravel us all. “Connecting the dots” is something we must always do, as siloing climate change as strictly an “environmental issue” sends the wrong message and doesn’t offer broad enough solutions. In a similar way the decline of our pollinators, bees and butterflies, mustn’t be put into a silo, but rather connected to all that is happening around us.

While scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly what is causing the collapse of bee colonies around the world, many reasons are known, and the importance of bees to our food security and our world, is without question. New research released on November 6th, also clearly points to how climate change is contributing to this collapse. Dr Karen Robbirt, University of East Anglia (UEA) said the research, published in Current Biology, is “the first clear example, supported by long-term data, of the potential for climate change to disrupt critical [pollination] relationships between species.” Continue reading

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#askDrHAt the request of Dr. Holdren, Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, we are sharing his letter to us with all our Climate Mamas and Papas. He wants to hear from us all and will try to answer our climate questions – see below for the full text of his November 13, 2014 letter.

Here are our top 3 questions, what are yours?

1. How can we immediately change the “all of the above energy policy” of the White House so that ALL fossil fuels (not just coal) are removed as an acceptable energy option? With 97% of all climate scientists in agreement, their latest IPCC report confirms the facts and sounds the alarm: climate change is here, now and caused by humans, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. The report goes on to recommend to policy makers to move quickly to renewable energy and to develop policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground. The report tells us that the security and future of the human species is at risk, but that we still have time to act, if we start now. Seem pretty clear that “all of the above” isn’t the right policy course of action.

2. Why are congressional and senate committees still debating the facts of climate change instead of moving immediately to policy solutions? How can we help you help bring this absurdity to light?

Photo courtesy: Protecting Our Children Coaltion

Photo courtesy: Protecting Our Children Coaltion

3. How can we help you bring the latest studies on the health impacts of fracking to light so that a national fracking ban can be established and the precautionary approach be put into place. Americans are being poisoned now, as is the air we breath, the food we eat and the water we drink. How do we connect these dots to the longer term climate impacts of fossil fuel infrastructure and development? The White House Climate Action plan is an excellent step towards addressing and tackling the climate crisis we face. However, it is critical that fracked gas not be an option or a transitional tool. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, period. And to add injury to insult, our children and families are being sickened NOW by fossil fuel infrastructure, in particular fracked oil and gas infrastructure.

Grab the kids in your life, ask them what their questions for Dr. Holdren are, and then you and your kids can share your questions on twitter, vine, instagram and Facebook at #AskDrH. Share your questions with us too so we can share them with other Climate Mamas and Papas!

From The White House Continue reading

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cop20_logo_text_173“The latest science urges us to act decisively and speedily to avert the worst impacts of climate change. It is a window of opportunity we cannot afford to ignore.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In support of the ongoing international negotiations on climate change, world faith communities are uniting to urge governments to take meaningful action on climate change. Through the online platform Our Voices, communities are amplifying their messages of climate hope and at the same time demanding climate action. Grab the kids in your life, and together sign the Our Voices pledge and add your voice to the millions of others who are joining together to share their love and concern for all our children, for vulnerable people everywhere and for our precious planet.

The United Nations road to action on climate change ends, and then begins anew at a meeting in Paris, France in December 2015, where governments must commit to meaningful and binding targets on greenhouse gas reductions and design a way forward to quickly transition to a renewable and sustainable future and now.

An important and upcoming stop on this road to Paris is a United Nations meeting which will be held in Lima, Peru at the Conference of the Parties, COP 20, on December 1-12, 2014.

light-for-lima#LightForLIMA is a global, multi-faith prayer vigil taking place on line and in person in communities around the world, on Sunday evening, December 7th. People from diverse faith and spiritual communities will gather for public vigils – lit by solar lamps. In fact if you purchase a solar lamp for a vigil through Our Voices, two solar lamps will be given to a community in need in Africa. Here is a link to get your solar lamp and additional resources for organizing a vigil – prayers, media packs and more. When world leaders come together in Lima, they will know that communities around the world are holding them in their thoughts, meditations and prayers. The message from Our Voices: Prayers will bring hope. Lights will guide the way!

logoOne of the founding organizations behind Our Voices and Light for Lima is GreenFaith, an interfaith organization which works to mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. At ClimateMama we love the great work that GreenFaith accomplishes and we are pleased to promote the Our Voices and #LightforLima campaigns. Grab the kids in your life, and join us by participating and sharing information about these special programs.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.32.35 AMWhat if carbon dioxide was colored pink, and each day as we humans generate 90 million tons of it and send it up into our atmosphere (like we do when we burn fossil fuels to run our cars, factories and homes) the sky turned pink? Climate Papa Gregg Kleiner, in his new book, Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink, A Story for Children and Their Adults, does just this! Gregg’s book helps us and our kids easily imagine this “pink sky” which in turn opens up opportunities for conversations about climate change and provides our children with ways to empower them to take actions to slow down the climate crisis we face.

Gregg’s new book is a wonderful guide that helps us tell the climate change story to our children. The book allows us to clearly share our ClimateMama mantra: “tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and don’t be afraid.”

We sat down recently and asked Gregg some questions about why he wrote Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink and to share some of his ideas about what we all can do, as parents, to tackle the climate crisis head on and help our children see that they can too. Smart, caring, and wise, Climate Papas like Gregg build our climate hope by encouraging us to open our eyes and see that solutions are not only possible, but within our grasp.

Take some time, sit down and read Gregg’s answers to our questions. In light of the increasingly piercing sirens and warning bells of the worlds scientists, i.e. the recent IPCC Synthesis Report, coupled with the hope and excitement of the Peoples Climate March, Gregg helps us remember that as we work to activate our elected officials to put in place big solutions to the crisis we face, in the immediate, we all can be part of the solutions now. Personal actions do matter, and we need to remember this and remind our children too. Together we all can make a difference as we work collaboratively and collectively to create a livable future for us all. Continue reading

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Just in time for the first ever TEXAS ban on fracking comes this fun and informative video by one of our favorite Climate Mamas Joylette Portlock. Joylette and Communitopia help us see and understand that methane, aka “natural gas” is indeed a fossil fuel, and that fracked gas is not a panacea, a bridge to the future nor a climate solution, but rather a contributor to human created greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and an accelerator of climate change.

Grab the kids in your life, join Joylette, and see what YOU can do to slow down our changing climate and help stop methane leaks as together we make the “leap” towards renewable energy!

logoIn case you missed it, on November 4th, 2014 Denton, Texas became the first town in the Great state of Texas to ban fracking. Here is what Denton Climate Mama, Cathy McMullen had to say after the votes were tallied:

“This is a victory for the citizens of the city of Denton.

For our families, for our health, for our homes, and for our future.

What does this fracking ban mean?

It means we don’t have to worry about what our kids are breathing at city playgrounds.

It means we can cheer on the Mean Green without fracking pollution blowing over the football field.

And it means we don’t have to worry about our property value taking a nose dive because frackers set up shop 200 feet away.”

For our children, their future and their now….we fight on and together we win! Thank you Denton for leading the way.

Yours,

Climate Mama

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happy kids“We can’t prevent a large scale disaster if we don’t heed this kind of hard science,” Secretary Kerry said in a statement following the November 2nd release of the IPCC Synthesis report. “The longer we are stuck in a debate over ideology and politics, the more the costs of inaction grow and grow. Those who choose to ignore or dispute the science so clearly laid out in this report do so at great risk for all of us and for our kids and grandkids. John Kerry, Secretary of State, USA.

To all our Climate Mamas and Papas, this is real, and it’s really scary, serious stuff. But we must remember that our children are watching..and our ClimateMama mantra has never been a more important lesson then it is now: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and do NOT let fear paralyze us!” We have provided background on this 5th Assessment report to you over the past year and this final summary for policy makers makes it crystal clear that the facts aren’t going away, and we can’t hide from them. It is unconscionable to us, that here in the USA – and in other parts of the world too – there are still elected officials who debate and deny the facts. This must be changed…

Our top 3 takeaways from the Intergovernmental Panel Synthesis report released on November 2nd, 2014:

1. Climate change is here, now and caused in large part by the burning of fossil fuels.
2. We must demand that our governments work out an immediate phase out of fossil fuels, not a transition to renewables but a giant leap. We have no time left to debate the facts. Fossil fuels must be left in the ground; fossil fuels are coal, oil and GAS..natural gas IS a fossil fuel too.
3. We must and should have hope. It is still possible to avert the worst damages and build a positive future for our children and us.

Share this great video by our friends at Greenpeace with the kids in your life; we all can and must be part of the climate change revolution…it begins with each of us!

For more details on the IPCC report, check out the following overview by our friends at the TREE a wonderful service of Global Call for Climate Action Continue reading

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superherokid sleepingThese days, beyond being a time to “let loose,” watch scary movies, and eat and collect candy, Halloween has also been a moment to mark the end of one season and the beginning of the next. In North America we transition at the end of October towards the “holiday season,” building towards Thanksgiving and also, of late, the winter holidays; as retailers try to hurry us towards Christmas!

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.40.19 AMThis year, Halloween marks a final “rest day” for our intrepid heroes, the Climate Marchers who left California on March 1st on the Great March for Climate Action, and who will take up their walk one last time on November 1st, as they stride into Washington DC, road weary but triumphant, and still full of energy and passion as they continue ringing the warning bell on climate change and raising the flag for climate hope.

Amongst the thousands of folks cheering them on will be a core group of parents, workers, artists, and grandparents – regular folks who are part of a growing coalition called Beyond Extreme Energy – people fighting for and demanding a sustainable and livable future and now. The coalition will “kick off” a series of ongoing events, with a week of actions in Washington DC to bring attention to the role and power of the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) in advancing fossil fuel infrastructure and development and why we ALL should be calling for a reform of this agency which contributes to the growth of greenhouse gas pollution and hinders and counters advancement of climate action hope and plans. Join us!

Ted Glick, the National Campaign Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) explains in this guest post, what is happening in Washington DC during Beyond Extreme Energy week. Our Climate Mama will be in DC on Monday, November 3rd to join in, and Climate Mamas and Papas will be on hand all week to take part and cheer on the Beyond Extreme Energy crew! Continue reading

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solarcollage2 years ago today, my family woke up with no power, downed trees and fallen power lines. Today, I have new solar panels on my home. On October 29th, 2012 we woke to find ourselves trapped in our dead end street; a mighty oak had fallen across our only way in or out. Today, the sun shines on the solar panels on my home, and I breath deeply..hopeful for my children’s future and their now.

We were lucky. Our Superstorm Sandy story was not a horror story. Our power came back within 2 days, our neighbor took a chainsaw and “freed our street” within hours of daylight on October 29th, and we were able to be a “port in the storm” for the weeks that followed, for our family and our friends. As we now know, many, many others were not so lucky.

This personal “wake up call” for many of us on the East Coast has prompted resiliency planning and reality checks. The facts keep coming in about how we are impacting our climate and hardwiring our connection to continued extreme whether, yet we seem to still be in a fog, talking about “fixing things” but are we all actually doing anything? The answer to this question is as complex as our climate system.

waiting on sandyApproximately one year ago, the first part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was released, this week in Copenhagen the final report of this 5 year IPCC outlook on climate, A Summary for Policy Makers, is being discussed and will be finalized on November 2nd. The conclusions of thousands of scientists and hundreds of peer reviewed reports is clear: climate change is here now, human caused, and already having dangerous impacts.

The message to policy makers: if we start now, the outcomes from our changing climate will be survivable. We are at a crossroads. We can choose now to go down a clean energy path where we enjoy economic benefits and manage to adapt to modest climate change, or we can continue to follow a path with increasing greenhouse gas pollution worldwide where severe climate change threatens our societies and derails our economies. Again, the facts are unmistakeable, and the answers and solutions well defined; how we choose to act on them is less certain.

This is a unique moment, a flash point in our human history; it’s happening on our watch and because of our past and current actions.

Here are 3 things we are doing at ClimateMama to take responsibility and action into our own hands.

googleimagesvoting1. Tell the truth – make our votes count. On Election Day, we are voting for our future, our children and our now. At every level, anyone we vote for must have a climate change plan and must agree that they are working to build up resiliency and fight for our now. There is no room for any climate deniers in office, at any level. This means we are supporting candidates that have local solutions including streamlining access to renewable energy, building and fortifying infrastructure, and putting plans in place to reduce our individual and collective greenhouse gases, which we know are the drivers of climate change.

DSC_03622. Actions speak louder then words – fighting for renewable energy and calling out government agencies and individuals that are promoting and allowing fossil fuel infrastructure and development to continue. My own solar panels finally went up! Yet I have been fighting a local ordinance for over a year, that denies mounting solar on the front of a home – because our township committee things they are ugly! I think they are beautiful, and they give me hope for my children’s future and now. I am still fighting to change the ordinance but in the meantime, at least some of our panels are up and in one day we have reduced our personal greenhouse gases by over 44% with a bigger percentage to hopefully follow soon!

customLogo.gifAt ClimateMama, we continue to support, encourage and fight for communities that are working to stop and slow down gas and oil infrastructure and development, so that they too can build and utilize renewable power. The band aid must be pulled off, there is no bridge to a renewable future, we must take the leap and be in all the way, now. Join us November 1-7th, at the Beyond Extreme Energy events taking place in Washington DC and support action to call attention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and why it’s mandate must be changed and why we need our federal government to be the champion of renewable energy, and put fossil fuel infrastructure and development in the rearview mirror.

IMG_38643. Don’t be afraid. Sometimes it’s fun to scare ourselves. With Halloween around the corner, many people are figuring ways to do this right now! My teenage daughter loves to watch horror films with her friends and telling scary stories around the campfire is part of our family camping traditions. Yet, the current IPCC report being discussed brings horror stories to a whole different level. But we know that this real life horror story is in fact critical to tell, and in many ways very liberating. We know the truth and no one can hide from it. Climate change is here, now, and we are causing it. So it is our duty, our responsibility and our moral imperative to do something.

Too many local, state and national governments and agencies continue to give mixed messages about solutions. Some are pushing rebuilding efforts, which ignore resiliency and the reality of future extreme weather events. The alarm bells are sounding, they couldn’t be any louder, we must act now. It is our job to demand from those in “charge” who want to deny or delay to change their tune, do something, or get out of the way. If they aren’t willing or able to, we must not allow them to be “in charge.” We also must personally take charge, and do what we can at a personal level; using both our words and our actions.

Yours,

Climate Mama

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congressWhy vote? It’s our right; a right that people the world over have fought for, for millennia. As parents, it’s also our responsibility. Yet sadly, for many reasons, here in the United States of America we fall far behind the world average in the percentage of people of voting age, who actually vote. In 2012, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA),only 54.6% of the voting population turned out to vote. USA presidential election years (i.e. 2012) historically get a greater turnout then mid-term elections years; certainly putting into question a good voter turn out for 2014. In 2012, of 169 countries for which the IDEA collects date on voter turn out, the USA ranked 120th of 169 countries. So, while many of us complain and lament that our political system is broken, if we don’t participate in the democratic process, then the blame for these problems must begin with ourselves.

Take a few moments, and share this guest post by Michelle Aboodi with the kids in your life. For the candidates that will be on your ballot this fall, what are their plans for climate action? If you don’t have time to ask them in person, check out their websites; is climate change and climate solutions even discussed? Michelle is a US college sophomore who is definitely voting on election day this year – with Mother Earth and our future, heavily on her mind. Michelle is calling on all our Climate Mamas and Papas to get out and vote too!

Vote for Mother Earth
by Michelle Aboodi

This upcoming midterm election is asking, perhaps even demanding that we turn out to vote for mother earth. In June 2014, the Rasmussen Reports National Survey of 1,000 likely voters shared that energy and the environment were not even in the top 10 of very important issues the government should focus on!

shutterstock_11388127Even after the UN Summit on Climate Change and the powerful People’s Climate March that attracted over 400,000 people, the environment still does not seem to be a priority. The energy of all the people and groups uniting for a cause was impactful and hopeful. For the week, movers and shakers came together in iconic New York City and other urban areas around the world to be heard but when everyone disbanded and went home, the feeling of a unified voice for mother earth quieted and now, just weeks from an election,

I am asking everyone to consider speaking out through your vote for mother earth. Continue reading

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