Earth Hour 2017_Global Poster_Public PortraitHappy Anniversary Earth Hour: celebrating 10 years strong this year. We know that for many of our Climate Mamas and Papas celebrating Earth Hour has become part of their family lore and traditions. Earth Hour ushers in Earth Month (April) and Earth Day (April 22nd), and gives us the opportunity to reflect on why we should work so hard to nurture our planet.

Earth Hour reminds us to share and plan together. It’s an opportunity for us as individuals and as a family to highlight what we are already doing to help our planet. We can also use this day to acknowledge how powerful we are collectively, as we work to raise attention to the climate crisis and build climate hope. Since it’s creation by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007 when Sydney Australia, famously “turned off it’s lights,” Earth Hour has grown to become a global movement with more than 7000 cities and towns in over 160 countries together turning off their lights to remind us that climate change is a global problem.

Earth Hour also reminds us that that the challenges of climate change remain with us, and get more urgent every year. In the USA, while politically we hear and see the rise of climate deniers in the current cabinet and administration; around the country people are rising up, as never before to create change and demand reality.

Each one of us can create climate hope, starting today. Watch this inspiring video and be part of the change.

Start simple – Encourage your kids to come up with a plan that begins with TURNING OFF THE LIGHTS on March 25th, at 8:30pm. Have a “picnic” by flashlight with the kids in your life, tell stories in the “dark,” watch the stars, walk on the beach, play a board game by the light of the moon…and discuss your “next steps” after the Hour. Let Earth Hour be the beginning of your family’s “spring into action” plan, to make our planet a safer and more sustainable place. Be inspired! Continue reading

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Used with Permission: The Mothers Project Logo

Used with Permission: The Mothers Project Logo

Anna Fahey and Sightline created a wonderful advice post, from wise Climate Mamas and Papas around the country. Recently, we posted Anna’s advice and introduction to this much longer original post. Anna raised important and thoughtful questions including: What should we say, and how and when do we talk to our children about climate change? We are thrilled to share with you, more sage advice from climate leaders.

Do check out the original post on Sightline, where you will find more in depth details, advice and information. In the meantime, take a few minutes and think about the wise advice below. Does it resonate with you? It does for all of us at ClimateMama!

Kandi Mossett: I talk to children with as much encouragement as possible and let them know that anything is possible if they put their mind to it. I let them know that when they try new things, there is never a guarantee they will always succeed, but that they should at least try because if they don’t then they know for sure they will fail, and that’s no good either….I encourage them to think from the heart about what is right and wrong.

Kandi is lead organizer with the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign of the Indigenous Environmental Network. She has a three-year-old daughter.

Sarah Myhre: So, this is my advice for parents: feel your feelings about this problem. Feel your feelings so that you can get to the other side, so that you can grieve and burn down the parts of you that need to go in order to rise through this and be stronger. Hold yourself to the high bar of growing up emotionally and intellectually—yeah, it hurts. Yeah, it’s not what we would prefer to be happening, but this is what it looks like to be an adult in 2016. These problems are not going to go away. They will only become more critical. We are all going to have to do this together.

Sarah is a postdoctoral scholar with the Future of Ice Initiative and the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. She has a three-year-old son.

Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons: We want our kids to have a finely tuned sense of the world around them, to be critical about the conditions we live in, and to carefully notice and interpret the world around them. This extends to people and the environment. We make explicit the relationship between the two, and we do our best to connect the dots so our children understand the root causes of what we see on the surface…We discuss the foods we eat, where they come from, who grows and harvests and transports it. We are curious about the changes to weather patterns and the migration of people. Climate change, like everything we care about, starts in our home.

Rev Joseph is director of APANO, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. He is the father of three.

Donna Morton: My son asked me hard questions and gave me new insights all along the way. Kids kick our butts. I have enormous faith in the millennial generation. I think that we need to look more astutely at millennials. They have integrity and high standards, and they want to do things differently than we did them. Rather than dismiss them because they are not doing what we did or doing it how we did, we need to ask ourselves why it is they are acting the way they do. They can teach us. And they want us to be elders. They are disappointed when they see us living in our privilege, ignoring climate change, not doing decolonization work….These are the critical questions of our times. It’s time to ask ourselves: how do we become the elders they need us to become? How do we support them? How are we going to heal our relationships with them before we die?

Donna is the co-founder and CEO of Change Finance—creating deep values ETFs for Wall Street that are fossil- and harm-free. She is a lifelong social entrepreneur, an Ashoka, Unreasonable, and Ogunte fellow. Her son is 19.

Jana Gastellum: My first conversation about climate change happened after my daughter visited a fire station on a field trip. She became fascinated with fire. When she saw a picture of a globe with flames on it (a thank-you card to me from a school child), she immediately asked about it. We talked about how Mommy works to stop climate change, which is caused by pollution from cars and burning stuff for power plants. She could understand that we don’t want the world to get too hot because it will harm animals and how we grow food and get our water. Like most of us, kids are natural visual learners, and having an image open a conversation was a great aid.

Jana is the Climate Program Director of Oregon Environmental Council. Her daughters are three and one years old.

Kim Powe: My daughter is only now turning five. She’s not ready for the scary, planetary disaster stuff. But we can teach our kids about how they are members of a community, about our collective responsibility to each other, our responsibility for other people, for our neighbors, for our community. It’s about raising good people. Our broader culture, the messages kids get, is mostly individualistic, capitalistic, consumerist. But when you talk to them about it and when you model the ways of doing things for your child as a conscientious citizen of the earth, you raise a conscientious earthling!

Kim is a policy expert with a focus on sustainability and racial justice. She is principal at 3E Integrity. Her daughter is four years old (almost five).

Mara Gross: My four-year-old doesn’t understand systemic issues yet, so we talk in terms of our personal actions and responsibility—things like turning off lights we’re not using so we don’t waste energy, biking to school because it’s healthy and fun and doesn’t make the air dirty, and making sure our camp fire is out to protect the forest from fires. I’ve also started to lay the foundation for a future conversation about climate change. We have talked about our solar panels and how we get some of our energy from the sun, and after seeing an exhibit about space travel at our local science museum, we talked about the atmosphere and how the air keeps the temperature on our planet not too hot or too cold.

Mara is the Oregon communications manager of Climate Solutions. She has a four-year-old daughter

Alex C. Gagnon: The world is this incredibly beautiful, amazing, complex place. Sharing that beauty, that complexity, sharing that wonder fits very naturally with parenting. You can give kids a foundation that makes them feel connected, makes them critical thinkers and makes them think the world is a place of wonder. Given the host of challenges they will face in their lives, this foundation is more important to me than training them to fix one particular problem.

Alex is an assistant professor of oceanography at the University of Washington. He has a two-year-old daughter and a newborn

Michael Foster: I don’t try to hide things from the kids I talk to. I am very straightforward about what we are facing together. Even the big, scary stuff. It’s kind of like talking about the monster under the bed: Once you talk about the monster under the bed, now you’re not so scared….But we need to be inspired and hopeful, too. I often ask children to imagine kids learning from a history book, a thousand years in the future. We imagine reading about what average people did—kids, parents, grandparents—to end the carbon era. The idea is that when we work together—personally, socially, politically—we can’t be stopped because we’re on the right side of history.

Michael is a climate activist, Seattle mental health counselor, and father of 12-year-old and 14-year-old daughters. He has given a climate change slideshow to more than 10,000 local students and is involved in the children’s’ suit for generational climate justice, Foster v. Ecology.

Eric de Place: I’m leaving it to his science teachers to instruct him in atmospheric carbon concentrations and adaptation strategies for rising seas. My hunch is that if we want our kids to do as we do—that is, to fight for a stable climate—we do better when we meet them on their own terrain—in the world of imagination, rather than in science and politics. As one author said, “Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

Eric is policy director at Sightline Institute. His son is seven.

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Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.30.33 PMClimate denial has taken on a whole new level of prominence, as powerful and influential politicians cast doubt on the reality of climate science; including the new President of the United States, down the line to the Secretary of State, and to the potential head of the Environmental Protection Agency (with this list growing it seems, almost daily). How we explain to our children what is happening and what is causing our climate to change has always required careful thought and consideration. Sadly now we must also explain how people in positions of trust are not only bending the truth on climate science, but are out and out lying.

At ClimateMama, our mantra is our guiding light: “Tell the truth, actions speaks louder than words, and don’t be afraid.” We draw hope and inspiration regularly from our friends at Sightline. We are pleased to repost, with permission and in it’s entirety, a Sightline series on Talking to Your Kids about Climate Change. The first introductory post in this series, by Climate Mama extraordinarie, Anna Fahey is below.

Wisdom for Talking to Kids About Climate Change
Tips from scientists, activists, and policy experts
By Anna Fahey

When my daughter was four-and-a-half, she asked me point blank about climate change.

You’d think I’d be equipped for this conversation. After all, this is what I do for a living! For over a decade, I have studied the communications literature and issued dozens of talking points memos on climate challenges and solutions.

But her question left me speechless.

She had cracked open a heavily guarded vault of emotions. Everything I know and fear—and compartmentalize—about the planet’s prognosis, our broken systems, and fossil fuel politics was tied in a knot in my throat.

Think about it: dealing with climate change is about things kids already know well. It’s about cleaning up our messes; about the sun, wind, air, water, and our own bodies.

Nobody wants to frighten their kids. (We know even the most reasonable adults are shut down by fear.) But as the stakes grow more stark and the politics get more divisive, it’s more crucial than ever that we bring the full force of our emotions to this fight and that we raise active, community-minded, and environmentally-aware citizens. And, I believe, talking to our kids is one way to focus all our own difficult and powerful feelings in a way that fuels rather than saps our civic and political engagement. Continue reading

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staywoke2“Stay Woke”

Of the many wonderful, incredible and memorable signs from the Washington, DC Women’s March, that I read, saw, laughed at and cried with, a small minimally decorated sign, “Stay Woke,” sticks in my mind. We must stay “woke,” we must stay alert, and we must stand on guard – to me, this is the clearest and most important thing we can all do, immediately. Our sense of “normalcy” has been assaulted throughout this past presidential election, and we can’t fall into complacency. But we shouldn’t pretend that we haven’t been living this daily assault for many years. The TV shows we watch, the ads we read, the video games that we, and our children play’ all to a certain extent normalize violence, racism and bigotry; as well as what we accept as news and facts – this as opposed to what is actually created as entertainment or PR. Our scale of “normal” has been stretching and broadening, which isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. But, when our democracy is threatened, when free speech, free press and our basic freedoms – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – are attacked in subtle and not so subtle ways, too many lines are being crossed and we must be hyper vigilant, now more than ever.

We watched on January 20th, as our country held a peaceful transition of power and Donald Trump transcended to the Presidency of the United States. But complacency must stopped as the reality of a government that operates on “alternative facts” and whose first pushes for power are on advancing fossil fuels and taking away regulations that keep our water and air safe. As we face this new future and now together, we must remind our elected officials we are watching them closely – they, if not the president, do still work for and represent us.

IMG_9731For those of us who marched in Washington DC on January 21st, or in over 600 other cities, small and large, around our country and around the world, memories of that day will stay with us forever. “We the People” were all witnesses and participants to a truly historic moment in time; a day when people “woke up,” when we each shared our concerns and our hopes – in our own, unique and powerful ways – and put the world and the new President of the United States on notice. One of the chants that I heard over and over again: “We will not go away, welcome to your FIRST day.” A movement is coalescing, it will be messy, and it will move in fits and starts, but it is here to stay. Continue reading

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womansmarch_flyer_v2_BTNAlongside my mother-in-law, daughter, niece, sister-in-laws, cousins, climate movement family and an expected 500,000 new friends, I will march in Washington, DC on January 21, 2017 at the Women’s March on Washington. I, like many who are coming to Washington, or who will be marching in solidarity in their home cities, will be marching for many varied reasons.

First and foremost I am marching for my son and my daughter. I march for their future and now – a place and space where all human beings are treated equally, where hope can be incubated and can breath and where the urgency of the climate crisis is given the weight and gravity it demands.

Through out the election process, I, like so many, watched in disbelief as women were denigrated, objectified and treated with disdain – all by the incoming President Elect. How was this allowed to transpire – how and why were so many people seemingly frozen in place? I am marching to say I won’t allow this to go any further without push back and action. I am marching with my sisters and for my sisters.

MEPUSSY HAT1I plan to wear my Pink Pussy Hat, and to wear it proudly; I will carry in my heart the many millions of women and men who cannot be in Washington, and I will think of them as I surround myself in a sea of pink – women transcending our nation’s capital. I will think fondly and with thanks, of my conversations with a US women’s rights icon, Bella Abzug. In 1995 I had the honor of spending time with her, as we waited together in a small classroom in a suburb of Beijing, China for an event of the Fourth World Conference on Women to begin. Ms. Abzug shared her thoughts and gave advice freely to me, on the conference we were attending, on her life’s journey, on the importance of work life balance, on how far women have come, and how far we still had to go. As a “soon to be married” young woman, thinking deeply about my life, my work, and the possibility of children to come, this conversation struck home with me, and has stayed fresh and strong in my mind and my heart all these years later. Honest, direct and forthright, Congresswoman Abzug helped me begin to define my path and find and harness my passions. I know that in Washington at the Women’s March there will be many women – myself included – taking time to share our thoughts and our experiences with others who are just beginning their journeys along the road of activism.

According to the Women’s March on Washington website: The March is a women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds in our nation’s capital on January 21, 2017, to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self determination. Continue reading

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Over the years, we have found that recycling is a common theme that everyone we talk to – young, old and in between – can relate to and support. From an early age, we teach our children to clean up after they make a mess. Unfortunately, this seems to be a lesson that as adults, we tend to forgot, at least as it relates to the big picture. Not only is it important to look at how we manage our waste in our own homes, we need be conscious of the fact that many critical resources we use are finite and getting scarcer.

Our friends at Rutgers University’s Online Master of Public Administration, have developed a powerful and easily understandable infographic, that helps us see the critical role of a “circular economy” and how we can put these sustainable practices into place. Rutgers compares some of the reuse and recycling practices we employ in the United States along side those that the European Union uses, and we certainly have room for improvement.

So, as you talk to your children about New Year family resolutions, make recycling and reusing in your home, part of the plan. As well, show your children that you will be encouraging your municipality and state update and share their plan too. Find out who manages recycling at your municipality, county or state – call them and write to them. Ask them to look more closely at how to the close the loop and help move us all towards a truly circular economy.

Card

Four Steps to a Circular Economy (at home, work, and world):

1. Decide what you want to achieve and create a roadmap as to how you will get there.
2. Educate and Activate
3. Assess what can be recycled, reused or taken back, and what should be phased out.
4. Engage with others, share experiences and build partnerships.

Thanks Mike and all our friends at Rutgers University’s Online Master of Public Administration for sharing this informative infographic!

Yours,

Climate Mama

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IMG_9508Today, we have many energy choices for our homes and businesses. In fact, we have so many options that sometimes these choices can be confusing. In 2017, ClimateMama will be sharing information on different forms of renewable energy, their benefits and opportunities. We are starting out our series with a guest post on Solar Energy from Arthur Smith and LEDwatcher.com

Why is solar energy so important to sustainability?

While most existing energy systems are based on fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) most new investment in energy sources being built around the world, is investment in renewable energy. According to Bloomberg, as wind and solar costs continue to drop these two technologies will become the cheapest ways of producing electricity in many countries during the 2020s and in most of the world by the 2030s. Fossil fuels are finite resources, even as humans use a wider and wider range of conventional and unconventional methods to crack, frack and pull the last dregs of these fuels from the ground. The pollution caused by these kinds of energy sources produce significant greenhouse gases, accelerating and exacerbating climate change. This not only destabilizes our planet, it also threatens our species and our existence. There is a huge need for renewable and sustainable energy sources such as solar power to slow down these threats to our planet and to us. These are only a few of the many reasons why solar energy is so important to sustainability. Continue reading

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okchandsAs Climate Mamas and Papas our mantra for our children is: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and don’t be afraid.” When it comes to fighting against climate inaction and for climate hope and our future, these are words we live by everyday.

As well, we strive to build up and support friends, family and sometimes total strangers, who are working with, alongside, in front and behind us creating a livable, safe, healthy and sustainable world. How each of us goes about creating climate hope varies greatly and is different for each of us. Our Climate Mamas and Papas work to stop pipelines, compressor stations and fossil fuel infrastructure, we put our bodies and souls on the line regularly, we work to educate others about the realities of the crisis we face, and we build up industries, companies and organizations that lead us to a fossil free world. We fight for chemical and toxin reform. We make art and join in song and we dance to wake people up to the beauty of our planet and why we must work so hard to save ourselves and along the way help heal our world!

At ClimateMama, we will be adding to our mantra in 2017: act on your passions. We need everyone to dive in head first and fight for their passions. Connecting the dots on how our passions will help alleviate climate chaos will be different and possibly unique for each one of us, but it will become clear and is how we keep going.

Our friends and partners at Stonyfield have encouraged us to think about one small way that we each can “pay it forward” this holiday season. I am a Stonyfield Yo-getter, and ideas and challenges like this remind me how proud I am to be working with this special company. I am part of a team of mom bloggers from around the country, who together “shout out” our support in a variety of different ways and for a range of different reasons, and for a company that goes the extra mile. Stonyfield helps us: to help our families eat healthy food, to be more healthy ourselves and also – and to me this is soooo very important – to help our planet stay healthy too!

imagesSo, particularly this year, at the end of 2016, a year that has been filled with animosity, anxiety and divisions, we at ClimateMama were thrilled to take some time to think about ways we can PAY IT forward and suggest some ideas for you to do the same.

Here is what we have done this holiday season to directly help others who are passionate about climate solutions and who could use some extra love and support this holiday season. We have supported Frontline Holiday and encourage you to do the same. Even if it may be too late to participate for Christmas this year, the community groups identified by the Bold Alliance deserve our thanks and recognition all year around.

More broadly, and on a very local basis my family participates with a local program called “All Wrapped up”. Through our local county Volunteer Action Center we adopt a family over the holidays. We never meet this family in person, but we know we get to bring smiles to their faces. We are provided with their first names, their ages and wishes and we purchase presents for each of them, helping to make their holiday a little brighter and filled with magic. This has become a ritual for my daughter and I. We take time and give great thought – spending time paying it forward, together.

Please join us and “Pay it Forward” in whatever way you and your family can. We all need one another – these days more then ever. We must find more and more ways to take down barriers and get outside our comfort zones. Meeting others who may seem different at first is a first step to realizing that there are many ways we are all similar. Finding common ground, common passions, common hopes and dreams – often begins with our children and our hopes and dreams for them. As we live climate change, and as we face an incoming administration in the United States who so far has given every indication that the reality of the climate crisis isn’t a priority tells us that we need each other more then every.

With Warm Wishes for the Holidays and with Thanks to all,

Yours,

Climate Mama

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Parallel_Universe_Self-Oscillating_FuzzEach day, as 2016 counts down and more and more cabinet posts are announced from President-Elect Trump’s transition team, and as more and more revelations about foreign government involvement in our elections are revealed, at ClimateMama we are feeling more and more like we are living in a parallel universe. If we were to write the script and cast the parts to fill the roles of the exact opposite of who and what we imagine would protect our children’s civil liberties, their air, water, security and future, many of the nominees so far would be this “parallel universe” cast of characters.

Like a “bull in a china shop” it seems clear that Mr. Trump is bringing in more “bulls” to break our current system. As Climate Mamas and Papas we certainly believe in shaking things up, and we do feel our present system is broken and needs to be fixed. But without a well-defined plan for what will replace all the broken pieces, what is currently happening is something we all must speak up against and we must demand a process be put in place that will ensure safety and security for our children’s future and now.

We have refrained from using our ClimateMama platform to express raw political views, as we strongly feel that co-opting climate change solutions and policies and painting them into political corners is a large part of what we feel is destroying our future and now. Yet, climate change and climate solutions have been cast as decidedly political issues. We must not allow this. Separation of church and state was established for well thought through reasons, just as separation of regulatory agencies from the industries they regulate was put in place for critical reasons. We must continue to demand that the air we breath, the water we drink, our food, our products and our future are not guarded by wolves at the hen house doors. Continue reading

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Join us December 5 & 6th, grab the kids in your life, and watch 24 Hours of Reality.

Find the broadcast live #24HoursofReality live on Facebook and Twitter.

Yours,

Climate Mama

24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward

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