Across the country, and around the world, many of our children have already headed back to the classroom. In the United States and Canada, Labor Day – the first Monday of September – is traditionally the last day of summer vacation for many of our children.  As we start gathering our children’s school supplies  and back to school clothing, we begin by searching shelves and closets to see what supplies are left over from last year, what school clothes still fit, and what we may need to replace or find.  Our back to school travels often bring us to stores and malls, as we ready our children for their first day of the new school year.

Our friends and new partners at Generation 180 have a simple, yet powerful campaign called Keep it Cool, that we LOVE and which we know you and your kids will love too.  As Climate Mamas and Papas, we are always looking for ways to help our children learn that every step of the way,  we can make a difference. Lets help the businesses that we support and shop at – those that we already know have sustainability plans and climate solutions as part of their business models –  save money and save energy too just by remembering to shut their door; something we remind our kids to do every time we leave our own homes……Generation 180 gives us an easy way to help ALL stores and businesses do their part for our planet and for their bottom line.  Join us and  learn more about the Keep it Cool campaign.

Make a Difference While Back to School Shopping!

by Susan Klees

As kids head off to school, many of us are rushing to our local stores to stock up on supplies. This is the second-busiest shopping season of the year, and it is also the hottest time to shop. Along with big sales, many stores prop open their doors to lure in customers with refreshing air conditioning.

While the cool air may feel good, this practice harms the environment. The average store wastes some 4,200 kWh of energy, which generates 2.2 tons of pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the environment when keeping their doors propped open during the summer. That’s the same amount of CO2 emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.

But there is an easy way that you can make a difference and encourage local stores to close their doors while you are out on the town back-to-school shopping. Our non-profit Generation 180 has created a campaign that enables environmentally conscious consumers to take action. Through Keep It Cool, you can easily and anonymously urge stores to close their doors and reduce pollution in your own community.

A Simple Campaign

Participating in Keep It Cool is simple: Just use Facebook Messenger on your smartphone to send a pinned store location to Generation 180 (read directions here or watch this video) noting whether the store has its doors open or closed. We will then reach out to the stores to recognize those that ‘keep it cool’ with their doors closed and educate those who are allowing energy to escape. A national campaign map tracks all the stores identified by consumers with doors open or closed.

Consumers support this change. We surveyed 1,500 millennials and 62 percent think that this practice is wasteful. Up to 25 percent are less likely to shop at retailers that leave their doors open.

Just creating awareness could go a long way toward reducing carbon emissions. If U.S. retailers maintained closed-door policies all summer, they could reduce pollution equivalent to cars driving 830 million.

At a time when many of us are feeling powerless about climate change, one of the quickest and least-expensive ways to cut carbon emissions is for people to make simple changes in their everyday lives. And our Keep It Cool campaign gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values. It is good for business, the community and the environment.

So, when you are strolling down Main Street, take the time to notice stores with their doors open or closed and join the Keep It Cool campaign to make a difference.

Susan Klees is campaign director at Generation 180, a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness via original content, digitally enabled campaigns and an empowered volunteer network.

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mamas & Papas, Lifestyle & Fun, Schools and Colleges, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are pleased to share this special post with you, by Canadian Climate Mama extraordinare Laura Sacks. Laura is a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada and a newly trained, Climate Reality leader.  In this post, Laura shares her training experience and why she chose to train with the Climate Reality Project.  We are sharing Laura’s post, with permission, as published by our Canadian partner, Below 2°C, co-founded by our Climate Reality friend and colleague, Rolly Montpellier. As well, Laura’s mentor at the June 2017 Climate Reality training in Washington State, is another dear friend of ClimateMama, Brian Ettling! 

CLIMATE REALITY LEADER WANTS BETTER FUTURE FOR THE PLANET

“Thank you, Mom, for doing this crucially important work as a climate activist. Your recent training as a Climate Reality Leader is inspiring, and serves as a reminder of the imperative of taking action, no matter your age or place in life, on behalf of a better future for the planet.”  

Kara Smith (Laura’s 21 year old daughter)

Climate Reality Leadership Corps

As a mother, I think about the future of my two daughters and other young people a lot – what kind of world are we going to leave them? This latest heat wave and rash of wildfires here in British Columbia are yet further examples of our climate crisis.

If we don’t resolve the root causes of human-caused climate change, we are leaving our children a world where climate disruption gets considerably worse. But I find hope in collectively working with others to solve this crisis – including building the political will for policies that will accelerate our transition to a low carbon future.

Climate Reality Leader Wants Better Future For The Planet, Below2C

I recently had the privilege of attending Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training in Bellevue, Washington. I was selected as one of 35 Canadians, joining 800 people from 26 countries. This three day training at the end of June focused on the latest climate science, communication techniques, and ways to effectively collaborate with others to address the climate crisis.

One thing that was surprising was the collective buzz of positive energy in the room – people united in being proactive about the climate crisis. I expected to be overwhelmed by the large number of attendees, but it was quite the opposite. I was energized by all the interesting people I met at every line up for coffee or lunch. Everyone had a unique story that brought them there.

Rich Diversity of Participants

Laura Sacks and Brian Ettling –  Climate Reality and Citizens’ Climate Lobby colleagues and friends.

Attendees came from diverse backgrounds – peoples of colour, indigenous people, those who traveled from faraway places in Africa and Asia. I was also inspired by the large number of youth attendees who are striving to create a better world for their generation. I was thrilled to meet several teenagers who are plaintiffs in the Our Children’s Trust Lawsuit against the United States government. What struck me was that they were not only passionate and committed about the climate crisis, but also just ordinary teenagers.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was prominently featured throughout the training. After all these years, he is still passionate, humble, and genuine in his quest to educate others about the climate crisis. His presentations were framed around three questions: “must we change, can we change, and will we change?” He answered the first two questions with a resounding “yes!” But the answer to the last question “will we change?” was left up to us to make happen at this pivotal time in history.

Al Gore moderated in-depth panel discussions on climate science and policy, climate change and health, and coalition building between different sectors such as business community, people of colour, and the labour movement.

Resistance Movement Against Trump Fossil Fuel Agenda

We learned about the self-organizing and rapidly growing resistance movement against Trump’s agenda. We heard from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee, who assured us that these are “great days and not dark days,” and described how he helped form a coalition of States committed to the Paris Agreement within hours of Trump announcing his intention to pull the USA out.

Other sessions emphasized communication techniques – such as telling our stories, public speaking tips, and connecting with diverse audiences over shared values. Participants also had the opportunity to get directly involved in a campaign to close a dirty coal plant.

As a Climate Reality Leader, we agree to complete 10 acts of leadership in our community each year. Many things I already do with Citizens’ Climate Lobby fit into that category, but I am interested in using this training as another means to reach out to parts of my community who aren’t actively engaged on the issue. I look forward to offering customized presentations based on Al Gore’s visually engaging slides to community groups who would like to be kept current about this pressing issue.

#Be Inconvenient

Ten years have passed since the screening of An Inconvenient Truth, and some of the impacts of our changing climate have been alarming.  An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is showing in theaters across the USA and Canada. This will spur renewed public interest in the climate crisis and solutions, and so we will all have more opportunities to engage our communities on this issue. Let’s hope this spurs us all to action.

Laura Sacks heads up the Nelson – West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and is a new Climate Reality Leader. You can contact her at ccl.westkootenay@gmail.com. Her article was first published in the CCL Canada Blog.

Applications are now being accepted for the next Climate Reality Training, scheduled for October 17-19, 2017 in Pittsburg, Pa.

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Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was released in the spring of 2006 and many of our lives were forever changed because of it. Eleven years later, An Inconvenient Sequel takes the stage in bookstores on July 25, in theaters with a limited release beginning July 27, and nationwide on August 4th. See the movie, read the book; they will inspire you and remind you that each of us can and must find our voices and speak “Truth to Power” – our children’s future and now depends on it.

Mr. Gore begins by telling us that: “At this point in the fight to solve the climate crisis, there are only three questions remaining: Must we change? Can we change? Will we change.” From where we sit, the only answers to all three must be YES. Yet, Mr. Gore reminds us that while the answers to the first two of these three questions is a resounding yes, the conclusion to the last question – will we change – remains a prediction.

In order for this final question to be answered with a resounding yes, we need to face the existential threats to our survival head on. We all need to act now – each of us in our own way. There is no one simple way forward and as we see it, this therefore is our greatest hope. Climate change is complicated, complex and deeply rooted. The answers and solutions will and must take a myriad of forms. As a result, there is and will be room for each of us to find a way to become involved in the Sustainability Revolution that Mr. Gore talks about in his new book. Mr. Gore helps us see this, and guides us on our journey forward.

As many of our Climate Mamas and Papas know, Mr. Gore and the Climate Reality Project are the reasons that ClimateMama exists. The Climate Reality training and the leaders I have met because of it are who and what have inspired and empowered me to create ClimateMama, to find and use my voice to speak out, and to take action on climate change.

I am so very honored to be included in Mr. Gore’s new book (see page 223 in the section on talking to children about climate change). Mr. Gore’s book and film are filled with hope. They are filled with reasons, people and actions that demonstrate that each of us has a role to play in the sustainability revolution that is taking hold the world over – in spite of the road blocks that “power’ is putting in our way.

The book ends with a different question then those found in the beginning, a final question to those who did help the world change. “How did you find the moral courage to change, boldly and quickly and save our future?” Mr. Gore reminds us: “The time for us to answer that question is now—by seeking the truth about the reality we are confronting, by using the power we all have to bring about the necessary and urgent changes, and by never forgetting that the will to change is itself a renewable resource.”

Mr. Gore has dedicated his new book to his children and his grandchildren. Each one of them knows that every day their father and grandfather is doing everything he can to make their future and now not only hopeful but possible. We know that each and every one of our Climate Mamas and Papas is doing the same thing, each of us in our own way.

For those of you with kids on Snapchat, we want to be the first to share this exciting promotion with you, so you can share it with your kids.  Paramount Pictures and Participant Media have partnered with Snap Inc. for a first-to-market Snapchat promotion to give moviegoers under 18 a chance to see “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power” in theaters for free as soon as it opens. Snapchat users 18 and under will see the promotion populate in their Snapchat feed and be able to swipe up to redeem a code for free movie tickets, good through August 3, 2017. Each code is can be redeemed for two tickets. Ask your kids if they got the code!

With thanks and renewed hope,

Climate Mama

P.S. Be inspired! Watch and listen to the original song created by One Republic for the film…share it with the kids in your life…

Truth To Power (Lyric Video) by OneRepublic on VEVO.

PPS. Jump in with both feet and get started today! Download Mr. Gore’s “Truth in 10” slide show and share it with your family and friends. Sign up to be one of the first to learn more about the next three day Climate Reality training…fall of 2017…Join our Climate Reality Family!

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So, who is “minding the store” these days? For many of us, we have come to the realization that few people or organizations are actually minding our “collective store” – whether it’s our political systems, our industries, our health care system,  our social and environmental justice policies and programs  – too many decisions are being made strictly for reasons of profit and short-term gain.

So, we are thrilled to share with you that once again, we are joining the Safer Chemical’s Health Families “Mind the Store” Campaign and Week of Action, this week targeted at Albertsons. As background, in 2015, Safeway, the second largest grocery company in the country, merged with Albertsons and now the combined company operates under the name Albertsons. The company has 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia.

When the Mind The Store campaign began in 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families requested that Safeway develop a comprehensive plan to address the Hazardous 100+ chemicals in the products it sells. Four years later, the company (now Albertsons) has yet to take meaningful action for a comprehensive chemical policy and has received an “F” grade, the third lowest grade of any retailer evaluated.  Albertsons has no public safer chemicals policy in place. While the company has reported some progress in reducing the use of BPA in canned foods, it has not disclosed a timeframe or plan for completely eliminating and safely substituting BPA in canned foods.

This week’s Campaign is demanding that Albertsons, and its subsidiaries assume it’s rightful place as an industry leader, and stop selling products containing or packaged with toxic chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, parabens, and BPA. The campaign is calling on the supermarket giant to announce a safer chemicals policy to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals, as Walmart, Target and other retailers have done.

The campaign is supported by new research revealing toxic chemicals in two dozen products sold by Albertsons, including lead in the handles of summer barbeque basting and cleaning brushes, formaldehyde releasers, parabens, fragrance and other toxic chemicals in personal care and cleaning products.

“This summer, it’s time for Albertsons to turn up the heat on toxic chemicals,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “As one of the nation’s largest retailers, Albertsons should wield its market power to drive dangerous chemicals out of products. If retailers like Walmart and Target can do it, so can Albertsons.”

You  may be wondering, what do “safer chemicals” have to do with climate change? A simple answer is that many of hazardous chemicals are derived from petrochemicals (fossil fuels). More complicated but equally relevant to me is the fact that my children and I seem to be part of a big “experiment” and at the mercy of companies that aren’t really sure “how harmful” their products are, but are willing to bargain with my health and that of my children while we all wait to find out. This same attitude and lack of adherence to the precautionary principal is ingrained in the production, distribution and transportation of fossil fuels and “big agriculture” products where the “experiment” not only involves my children’s health but that of our planet’s as well.

We need to work together to support campaigns, hopes, ideas and programs across a broad spectrum of issue areas and disciplines. Our common goals include a safe, healthy and hopeful future and now for our children. Together we can and will speak truth to power, and make sure that our children, their future and their now are front and center.

Yours,

Climate Mama

P.S. Please check out the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store Campaign page and consider getting involved at your neighborhood store. Drop off a letter, share flyers with your family and friends; together we can and will make our world a safer place for our children.

 

 

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Should I go to jail for my convictions? What will my children think, who will look after them while I’m in jail? Questions few of us actually will ever face but ones that a growing number of people are considering as we confront new and powerful assaults to our freedoms, our bodies, our children and our mother earth. Our dear friend and Climate Mama extraordinaire, Pramilla Malick, mother of 4 has steeled herself to report for jail on July 14, 2017, to raise attention to the crisis we face, and to demand justice for her children and for ours.

As Climate Mamas and Papas, we recognize and understand the urgency of the crisis we face because of climate change. Yet, we also recognize that many of our friends, our families and our colleagues do not understand or choose not to see that our collective “house is on fire” and that the fire department not only is NO WHERE in sight, it hasn’t even been called. While more and more people anecdotally do see and feel climate change, the immediacy of the problem is often beyond comprehension and the perceived ability to take meaningful action seems too hard to take or too removed from our abilities to act.

We want to share a brief account of the back-story to Pramilla’s conviction and sentencing; we will be sharing a longer version in the weeks to come. Pramilla is a busy mother of four, who works in the information technology sector and has always been active in her community. But in 2011, when a gas compressor station was being built in her New York town, she not only got curious she took action. Pramilla began speaking out, insisting on facts about what this would mean to the health and welfare of families living near the compressor station. Pramilla organized her community to demand answers too. She helped her neighbors have their voices heard in federal court in Washington DC and she has selflessly helped other towns and neighborhoods around the country learn more about the health and environmental impacts of gas infrastructure. Pramilla shows us daily how each of us can make a difference. She embodies our Climate Mama motto: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and don’t be afraid.”

The Minisink, NY compressor station was the “tip of the iceberg” for Pramilla and her neighbors, and for many communities around the country as well. This New York compressor station has resulted in the building of pipelines and also, in this case, of one of the largest gas power plants in New York State. The CPV fracked gas power plant (the gas to run the plant will come from fracking fields in Pennsylvania) is a 650 megawatt plant. During Pramilla’s trial, esteemed Cornell scientists Bob Howarth and Tony Ingraffea testified to the imminent harms this power plant would cause. You can listen to their press conference here. 

There are  close to 200 other large fracked gas fired power plants proposed or under construction in the United States; a disaster for our climate and our health, as more and more details are emerging on the impact of emissions from these plants, and on the health impacts for our children, our livestock, our farms and us.

So, while New York State is being touted as a “climate hero” state in fact it is in the final stages of construction of one of the biggest fracked gas fired power plants in the country, with a second large gas power plant that just broke ground last week. Clearly, energy policy and climate policy are at odds in New York. Pramilla along with a small group of determined people from the Wawayanda area in Orange County New York, are trying to raise this alarm and wake people up to these facts. This particular story is one full of intrigue and unexpected twists and turns. This complicated and massive power plant was approved by a small town planning board. Many 9/11 responders who settled in this area after the twin towers attack are now being assaulted again. A senior aide to Governor Cuomo is caught up in a bribery case that involves this power plant; and the list goes on.

As Pramilla prepares to go to jail, these are her thoughts: “Since I was young whenever I saw a movie about prison I was always afraid of being in one. I had a premonition that I would one day be in one for some erroneous reason, like being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So my premonition is about to come true. I am not as brave as James Cromwell. I am a bit nervous. But I know it was necessary to get peoples attention to the magnitude of this issue. For now the most important thing to do is to come on Friday (July 14th) and use our 7 days sacrifice to alert your friends and neighbors everywhere about this issue.”

Please join us and follow along. You can find more information on Facebook here, and here. If you can, be present on July 14th and join Pramilla on her “walk” to jail. Help us share this story with your friends and family. We are facing the greatest challenge that any of us will every face, and we need to begin acting like there is an emergency. Pramilla is showing us the way; leading with dignity, determination and grace.

Sending our thanks, love and support to all the Climate Mamas and Papas around the country and the world who are on guard and standing strong for us all.

Sincerely,

 

Climate Mama

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Along our ClimateMama journey we are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to meet so many inspiring Climate Mamas and Papas from across the country and around the world. One of these very special Climate Mamas  is Heidi Cody. Heidi is a Washington State Climate Mama extraordinare who, through her art and activism, is helping climate campaigns and campaigners across the USA engage, educate and empower people to learn more about the climate crisis and to take action –  at the same time inspiring and building climate hope.  No campaign is too big, or to small. Whether you are part of a large organization, or simply want to share a project your local PTA  or community group is planning, Climate Toothpaste could be the perfect platform for you! Learn more as Heidi, in her own words, introducing us to her Climate Toothpaste project. Share this post with the kids in your life. Show them how each of us can use our talents and our passions to do good and to help others do good too. Do you know an artist that is using their art for good? We’d love to share his or her story with our ClimateMama community!

Climate Toothpaste: An Introduction

I’d like to introduce you to my project Climate Toothpaste. I’m an artist and designer, and a climate activist. Plus I have a wonderful child. I just can’t do all of those things well. And, I want to help more climate groups than I can. So, I fused my art with my activism, and created Climate Toothpaste.

Wait a minute. Climate TOOTHPASTE?! Yes. It’s NOT toothpaste. (Sorry.) It’s a mass-produced art object: a real toothpaste box, covered with information about climate change. It’s eye-popping, and it sparks conversations about climate. You can’t put a price on starting conversations about climate change.

Continue reading

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As the final school bell rings to mark the end of the school year and the real start to summer vacation –  thoughts of family holidays at the beach, the mountains, hiking, camping and new adventures,  enter our minds and our conversations.   But as Climate Mamas and Papas, we also are well aware that traveling can also weigh heavy on our planet and have significant climate impacts. Thought and preparation in advance of  our travels can lessen the load, create learning opportunities, and make our vacations more memorable and fun! Our friends from Change My Footprint have shared some great travel tips with us and we are so very pleased to share them with you.

Traveling with the Climate in Mind

By Martijn & Marc, brothers and founders of changemyfootprint.com

With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves thinking about our next travel destination. But vacations often come with a heavy footprint on our planet…so, can we plan for this? In fact we can! Not only can we travel lighter, there are many things we can do that also help us save money at the same time.

Use e-tickets for everything: Why print your train or flight tickets? No need to waste that paper. Use a digital ticket instead. Most of our phones now have apps to help us store and keep our tickets with us, readily accessible at all times. E-tickets are often cheaper than paper tickets and e-tickets are hard to lose as well!

Driving vacations: Many of us drive to our holiday destinations. Especially on long drives, there is a lot of money and a huge footprint to save. To begin with, before you leave, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Your gas mileage will improve when your tires have to right amount of air in them. Continue reading

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The third week of June is filled with many monumental moments and observances that remind us to think, listen, learn and connect the dots between our planet and our actions.

In the United States, the third week of June is Pollinator week – which among many concepts, reminds us that as we live climate change, the lives of critical pollinators are increasingly being threatened, potentially impacting and imperiling our food supply, our future and now. Around the world, World Refugee Day is held on June 20th.  This solemn day connects so many dots, reminding us that 10’s of thousands of families around the world are being forced to flee their homes due to armed conflict, generalized violence, or persecution based on race, religion or nationality. Increasingly, we are also seeing “climate refugees” as the results of extreme weather disasters and deteriorating ecological conditions force more and more people to seek refuge far from home.
The summer solstice, celebrated on June 21st is both the longest day and the shortest night of the year, as well as the “technical” beginning of summer. For those of us who study climate change, it is an opportunity to remind ourselves how our planet’s formal “seasonal changes,” are being altered as our heavy footprints impact our planet’s ecosystems and throw mother nature “off balance.”

This solstice, we at ClimateMama, were honored to partner with One World One Love, to build on the awareness of this impactful week, by asking people around the world to light candles to honor our planet and connects the dots between climate change and refugees. We were thrilled to see pictures sent in from all over the world, from Maryland to Bangladesh, from Vancouver to India, from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, and from New Jersey to Washington DC, to name just a few. It’s not to late to add your photos; take one with the kids in your life  and post the photo on your social media with the hashtag  #1world1climate – remember to tell us what city you are posting from!

And, in case you missed it, take some time to sit down with the kids in our life and watch the Years of Living Dangerously episode on climate change and refugees. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 25 million people are forced to leave their homes due to disasters every year. Sadly, as our world continues to be kept out of balance, and as we all live climate change, the world refugee crisis will continue to grow. How we help manage this crisis, is up to us. Here is a short preview of this episode.

Climate Change and the Migrant Crisis from YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY on Vimeo.

Learn more about what you can do directly to impact refugee lives by visiting One World One Love. Let us know what organizations are operating in your state to help settle refugees.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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Too often these days, for those of us working on climate change, many messages from social media seem to imply a bleak future with problems too big to tackle and seemingly ignored by those in powerful positions who might be able to make a difference. We want to set the record straight. There is a way for each of us to be involved and build climate hope through real actions. With the help of an amazing Climate Mama from Florida, Sandi Schwartz, we want to help show you how it’s done. All around the country, and around the world, parents, families and children are digging in and getting to work on climate solutions. With sleeves rolled up, we are creating positive solutions and opportunities and encouraging others to join us and get involved. At ClimateMama, with the help of folks like Sandi, we are thrilled to highlight some of the many unsung heroes who are not waiting for politicians or the media to catch up, but who are already hard at work addressing climate change.

How South Florida Families Are Working To Address Climate Change

By Sandi Schwartz

If you look at the projection maps for sea level rise, South Florida is ground zero for feeling the effects of climate change. The City of Miami Beach, for example, already experiences king tides, which happen when the sun is out and the weather is completely dry. Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline, and most of the area is less than a foot above sea level, so it does not take much for flooding to quickly seep into our neighborhoods.

Many people in Florida are realizing that sea level rise and more intense, frequent storms could cause serious problems. However, we are no California. Sadly, our state government leadership is skeptical about climate change, and a bill just passed in the last legislative session that allows citizens to remove textbooks from schools that teach about climate change.

Although we are faced with a bit of an uphill battle in Florida, we have many climate heroes as well who are an inspiration to all of us.

 Young Local Climate Heroes


One young national climate hero who hails from Florida is Levi Draheim. At only 9 years old, he is one of the children suing the Federal government through Our Children’s Trust. The children allege that the federal government, through its actions and coordination with the fossil fuel industry, have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to a livable climate. Our Children’s Trust is also working with youth in Florida to file a new state level case. If you or your children are interested in learning more, contact Our Children’s Trust today!

Another local hero is Delaney Reynolds, a college student at the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and founder of The Sink or Swim Project. She grew up in the Florida Keys surrounded by water, which peaked her interest in global warming and the threat of sea level rise. She speaks with kids around the world about climate change and what they can do to help, and is a published author and illustrator of children’s books on ecological topics.

A group of four Florida middle school students went beyond the classroom to make incredible environmental improvements in their school and throughout the community. They were so concerned about sea level rise impacting Miami, that they conducted a school energy audit with the help of the non-profit Dream in Green. They created an educational program to teach their fellow students about energy savings and other sustainability topics. When they moved over to high school, they continued their efforts and ended up saving the school about $5,000 in just one year. Check out this inspiring video about their story.

What Families Can Do

Here are some ways that families can get involved in South Florida and beyond.

MuseumsThe first step is to teach your kids about climate change. South Florida has so many amazing museums with exhibits about climate change. The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale teaches kids about weather and their carbon footprint. The H2O Today exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami shows how climate change, population growth, and pollution affected the water cycle and weather patterns. Other museums to check out in the area are Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, and Loggerhead Marine Life Center.

Marches and Rallies: In April, both the March for Science and People’s Climate March took place all over the world. I attended the ones in West Palm Beach, Florida. These types of events are a terrific way to show your children the importance of speaking up for what they believe in. Look for more of these opportunities for families to join together on climate change.

Volunteer Groups: Join a local group of moms already fighting for the environment. Moms Clean Air Force is a community of a million moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health. They provide members with online resources, articles, action tools, and on-the-ground events. There is a specific group for Florida families, but you can also find one in your state as well.

Contact Government Leaders: Making calls and writing to our government leaders has quickly become the norm for so many Americans. There is no reason that you can’t get your kids involved as well. Kids 4 Planet Earth challenges kids to write letters to the President about climate change. Consider organizing a letter writing playdate and having your kids send postcards to other government officials like your mayor, governor, and members of Congress. Create your own recycled postcards using this awesome tutorial.

I hope that more Florida families will do their part to ensure that we slow down the impacts of climate change in our state and throughout the world.

Sandi Schwartz writes the blog Happy Science Mom, a parenting toolkit for raising happy, balanced children that highlights the importance of protecting and spending time in nature.

Resources:  P.S. Check out Climate Central’s Surging Seas, app and website to learn more about sea level rise and what it will mean for YOUR community. 

 

Posted in Climate Mamas & Papas, Earth Day is Every Day, Oceans & Water, Schools and Colleges, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father’s Day 2017 is my second Father’s Day without my father. Life happens, we all lose loved ones – this is a fact and the circle of life. While these heartbreaking losses stay with us forever – the crushing, immediate and paralyzing hurt does fade.

In 2016 I wrote a post that was published in Elephant Journal, called “Climate Change & Cancer, The Long Goodbye.” The post drew parallels – using my personal experiences and thoughts – between the campaign to keep cigarettes in peoples hands and todays climate denial. By downplaying the clear links that 100’s of peer reviewed scientific studies showed between cigarette smoking and cancer, many people became addicted to cigarettes and experienced negative health impacts – including death. Many articles and studies have shown how the same tactics used to downplay linkages between cigarette smoking and cancer, are now playing out to cast doubt on our role in accelerating climate change. A small group of well-funded climate deniers has been raising doubt about the linkages between our use of fossil fuels and our heavy footprints on our planet and the exponential acceleration of climate change that threatens our species and all others species as well. These climate denier campaigns have been brewing for years, with success.

“I am still raging inside, shaking with anger. Raging against the disease that killed my father and raging against the political machinery that lets too many of our political candidates continue to publicly, vocally, and with authority deny the realities of climate change, raising doubt about our role in what is happening and thereby slowing down solutions and actions…. Our planet is showing us in a myriad of ways that it is critically sick and suffering. And every day, new scientific studies connect the dots between our way of life, our energy choices, our actions, and our changing climate—yet these studies are not translated into the necessary tough policies we need set us on a safe path.” My feelings last year, when things were still so raw for me on so many levels.

This year, my rage has subsided to a slow simmer, and my thoughts on this Father’s Day have moved to reflection and memories –  of times well spent with my father and on building and growing my resolve. I feel strangely hopeful that we have turned a corner, our cards and those of our current Administration are “on the table.” In many circles we are moving to stronger and lasting solutions on climate change, in others, still farther away.

No, I haven’t drank any strange kool-aid, and yes, I do understand that we are at the edge of a cliff, but I feel our momentum has shifted to resolute and sustained action both in the United States and around the world. Here in the United States, it seems clear to me that we are publicly and visibly being asked to take sides, to look our children in their eyes, and tell them where we stand. If this isn’t obvious to all, then we must make it so. All our elected officials, and each of us must be clear on where we stand. Will we join with countries, cities, states, businesses, colleges and organizations around the world, who are loudly declaring they are “still in” moving forward with firm, immediate and sustained climate action – or not. From where I sit, the “moving forward side” is picking up speed and seems unstoppable.

Donald Trump and many in his Cabinet and inner circle have clearly and vocally staked their allegiance to coal, fossil fuels, big agriculture, limited environmental regulations coupled with a clear and loud amping up of the climate denial machine. But, I remain hopeful because each day I see push back to this message, and how this approach is being marginalized and side stepped. Clearly our democracy and the place of the federal government  in it is being seriously challenged, but it has been for some time. What is more obvious to me is that climate change policy has more overtly become a partisan issue and divide. This is NOT okay and more and more people are pushing back.  Now more then ever we must stand together with friends and family – whether, green, purple, blue, red, republican, democrat or independent – and declare loudly that climate change is real, here, now and caused by us, and yes, that we CAN do something about it.

My father’s death from cancer was directly linked to his years as a smoker; to be sure exacerbated by other conditions. Understanding the connections between cigarettes and cancer didn’t make it any less painful for our family or for my father – who showed us all how to live with dignity, honor and hope, even with the knowledge that death was knocking loudly at the door. As my father and our family grappled with the disease that killed him, we had our eyes wide open to the cause, but we did pin our hopes on prayer and on treatments not quite there. Prayer helped some of us feel stronger, and now almost two years after my father’s death, the immunotherapy drugs that might have extended his life are available and being widely used. Things can and do change quickly.

Climate change in it’s current manifestation is a problem of our making; one that has unfolded over years and will take years and lifetimes to resolve. But as we debate reality, and as climate denial is allowed to ferment, we are wasting time we can’t get back. Clearly, in this world of “Alternative Facts”   post election, telling the truth has been put into question and the disease we have inflicted on our planet has a death grip on our human species.We know that this hasn’t happen overnight. And the easy thing would be to place blame solely on the current administration. But this isn’t an easy problem where we can point a finger to identify the cause, nor is there one or even a handful of solutions. There ARE a myriad of solutions, with room for us all to be involved.

So, my rambling message to all our Climate Mamas and Papas this Father’s Day, as we come together to celebrate our fathers, our brothers, our grandfathers – living and dead – is that we must stay hopeful, be reflective, and be intentional. Our ClimateMama mantra guides us: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, don’t be afraid.” My father showed through his actions, how to live life this way. I strive each day to honor his memory and to follow his example.

A special thanks and shout out to all our Climate Papas for joining us on this journey and for giving us resolve and building our climate hope.

Happy Father’s Day Dad…I love you, I miss you and I think about you every day.

 

In hope and resolve,

 

Climate Mama

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mamas & Papas, Holidays, Politics, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment