Update 7/16: The Greenpeace YouTube video “Lego is not Awesome” is back..! Woohoo..See below Also, Greenpeace has an awesome new toolkit of activities so that families can be part of a global wave of protest calling on LEGO to cut ties with Shell, by holding mini-figure protests, building Arctic creatures and scenes with friends and children. Summer project fun. You can also download some great stickers.

Update 7/12: After more then 3 million views on YOUTube, LEGO said “enough” and had the Video: Everything’s Not Awesome” pulled. Greenpeace moved the video to Vimeo, where it also received 100′s of thousands of views in a a few hours…Sadly, or perhaps it means success, this video was also pulled and you are no longer able to see it.

We will keep the link open in the case that something changes..in the mean time, we do not need a video to “tell the truth” or know that “action speak louder then words”..and all the interest and demand for Lego to cut it’s ties with Shell makes us less and less afraid, and more and more sure, that together we ARE powerful and can change the world for the better! Thank’s Greanpeace for helping the world come together on this!

Our motto and words we live by at ClimateMama:

1. Tell the Truth
2. Actions Speak Louder then Words
3. Don’t be Afraid..

We want to share this new video from our friends at Greenpeace with you and ask for your help.

Sign the Greenpeace petition and ask the kids in your life to come up with other creative ways that we as families can reach out to Lego and have them hear us – for our children, for our future and for all of us …Lego’s partnership with Shell Oil isn’t awesome and it is most certainly NOT OK! Continue reading

Posted in building materials, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, Games & Toys, In The News, Plastics & Plastic Free, Recycling, Renewable Energy, Science, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

happy kidsSchool is out and summer has officially begun. Many of us have been looking forward to summer vacations all year, while others are excited to just “kick back” and enjoy the long lazy days of summer, playing with our kids at the beach, the park and in our own backyards.

The beginning of the summer is a great time to make your family “climate plan.” What is your family going to do over the summer to try to tread more lightly on our planet and get more involved by creating and encouraging climate solutions?

We wanted to share a few upcoming events with you that you and your family might be interested in joining and that just might “jump start” your family climate game plan…

July 9 is the date to circle on your calendar. In Washington DC and New York City, families will be gathering to play, sing and take action on climate change! And if you can’t make it to New York or Washington, maybe you can plan your own “climate play date”…If you want us to share your event with our “world” let us know about it! Continue reading

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habitat_invite-13th-of-mayLooking for fun AND learning opportunities for your kids this summer; something for them to do on days when they can’t get outside? Look no further…join us as we check out a New Environmental App, Habitat the Game. Our tour (and featured guest post) comes to you directly from Kylee Ingram, Habitat’s developer!

This game, designed for 7-12 year olds (although when we tried it out, we loved playing it too!) rewards kids for undertaking Real-life Missions to Save their Virtual Endangered Species and Reduce Their Ecological Footprint. Your kids can play the game and then teach YOU what your family can actually do to shrink your family’s carbon footprint. Join us as we hear more from Kylee:

Habitat The Game
by Kylee Ingram

iphone4_home-imageA collaborative project of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rainforest Alliance, Habitat the Game was launched in NYC just in time for summer 2014. This free app rewards kids for undertaking environmental actions and exploring the outdoors, on days when they can’t get outside.

“Kids today spend 70 percent less time outdoors than they did two generations ago,” said Courtney White, Director of Education at the Rainforest Alliance. “This app helps get kids outside while educating them about biodiversity and simple steps they can take to reduce their environmental footprint and create a healthier future for the planet.”

Designed to teach seven to 12 year-olds ecologically sustainable habits, Habitat encourages players to adopt an endangered animal, a virtual polar bear, and keep it happy and healthy. Players earn points through games in the app and by completing real-life “missions,” like recycling or checking in at more than 30 parks around the world, including the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo, as well as national parks and other iconic sites. The virtual pins collected at these sites can also be traded with players around the world. Continue reading

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Recently, many of our Climate Mamas and Papas have been sharing with us how their college kids are getting them excited about real climate solutions – on and beyond campuses – through the success of college “Divestment” campaigns.

We are thrilled to share with you one Climate Mama’s story on how divestment campaigns are now spreading from college campuses to State Houses. Take a few moments and read more from Climate Mama extraordinaire, Stacy Clark, as she shares the plans and hopes of Massachusetts State Senator Ben Downing, who is working to get the state of Massachusetts to divest it’s pension funds from fossil fuels.

The MA Committee on Public Service is set to vote on Senator Downing’s bill by the end of June, so do help us by sharing this news and Stacy’s post widely!

State Sen. Downing Pioneers a Fossil Fuel Divestment Strategy for MA Pension Fund
By Stacy Clark

Photo Credit: Stacy Clark

Photo Credit: Stacy Clark

“Failure has a way of opening doors to wildly unexpected and remarkable opportunities and success stories,” Navy SEAL Commander Rorke Denver told the high school graduating class of St. Mark’s School of Texas on May 23rd.

Commander Denver’s words resonated with me as I watched this class of young men, all so accomplished, talented, and hardworking, look out across the grass quadrangle that they once played on as boys to see the smiling faces of families, friends and faculty looking at them with great expectations.

I thought to myself, what will be the future for these graduates and how many failures will they have the luxury of making? When it comes to combatting global climate disruption, a lack of critical reasoning and personal accountability on behalf of my generation has already compromised the future of these men and their descendants.

We are handing off to our children a planet in cardiac arrest from heat exposure and dehydration and we rarely give it a moment’s thought. The clean energy economy, capable of moving us beyond the centralized carbon-intensive energy that pushes the planet’s mercury higher, has been stymied by many events. Continue reading

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farmerAs summer begins to unfold for us and farmers market’s fare becomes both more accessible and bountiful, many of us Climate Mamas and Papas begin to reconsider and reexamine family menus and how to use more “fresh from the farm” products and produce.

The timing is therefore excellent and we are thrilled to reintroduce you to Climate Mama extraordinaire Lauri Kraft who shares with us her experience going “vegetarian” for a month along with husband and two young children. Lauri, who first guest post for us back in October 2013, is making her way around the world with her family of 4 on an amazing environmentally-focused adventure.

We had the good fortune of meeting Lauri’s husband Larry, an amazing Climate Papa, at a training for Climate Reality Project leaders in August 2013. Larry told us that not only will the Kraft family be focusing on broadening their own views and understanding of the world on their year long travels, but they are also looking forward to helping others learn more about climate change, water and environmental sustainability as they share their experiences and report back on their adventures and their discoveries.

It’s “Do Something Wednesday” at ClimateMama and we think that Lauri will give you some great “food for thought” and ideas for ACTION too!

Our Picky Eater and Climate Change: Part Two

Krafts in AgraMy October 2013 post focused on our son Jason, and how he convinced our whole family to be vegetarians for a month. We accepted his challenge; now that we’ve gone “veg” for a month in India, it’s time for an update on our Jason-inspired project.

And in my second round of research for this post, it’s clear to me that this experiment will permanently change our eating habits.

First, a brief history: Jason is our picky eater. He’s also a vegetarian. An exhibit on climate change led to a side discussion with the kids about how eating less meat, especially beef, is better for the environment. He challenged us to go vegetarian for a week. We thought we’d take it further and go “veg” for our entire time in India, which was exactly one month.

Veg-friendly India: Yum.
An estimated 20-42 percent of India’s population is vegetarian. Even at just 26 percent, there would be more more vegetarians in India than there are people in the U.S. On the high end, India may be home to more than 500 million vegetarians. (I’ve read on several websites that this is more vegetarians than there are in the whole rest of the world combined, but I don’t have a confirmed source for this.)

Veg thaliWhatever the actual number, because of the large number of vegetarians, there are a myriad of good vegetarian choices. We couldn’t have picked a better place for our experiment. Vegetarian food in India is plentiful and tasty. While carnivores in the western world may think of vegetarian food as a salad, or bland hippie-granola concoctions, vegetarian dishes in India are as varied as India’s 28 different states.

How did the kids fare during our experiment? In short, they did great, and tried lots of new things. (P.S. — if you’re trying to get kids to try a new food, sugar, chocolate sauce, Nutella and honey help it go down. I say this only partly in jest.)

I was going to write more about how the kids did, but after further research for this post, I’m compelled to write about the global impact of our appetite for meat.

The Big Picture
How does meat consumption impact the environment? This was a big part of the reason for the experiment.

According to a report from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat industry generates about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide — even more than transportation. Two separate studies cite the importance of reducing meat production in meeting overall climate targets, especially with the expected increase in world population.

cowphotoThe average American eats 270 lbs of meat, per person, each year. We top the list, other than tiny Luxembourg. The U.S. consumes one-sixth of the world’s meat. Average world meat consumption, per person, is 102.5 pounds. In veg-friendly India, the average person eats less than 10 pounds per year.

The Environmental Cost

Our meat-heavy American diet produces an extra 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalents each year, per person, versus a vegetarian diet. (A note: from here on, wherever CO2 is mentioned, substitute CO2 equivalents, which includes the impact of other greenhouse gases, such as methane).

The scale of one habit, spread across the USA’s 313.9 million people, makes a tremendous impact. Our meat consumption generates more than 470 million tons of CO2 in a single year. That’s more than 941 billion pounds.

shutterstock_16735987According to Time Magazine, trading in a standard car for a hybrid cuts about one ton of CO2 emissions. So by making a significant reduction in the amount of meat in your diet – especially beef – you can make as big an impact as switching to a Prius.

EWG (Environmental Working Group) makes a similar comparison: if your family skips steak one day a week for a year, it’s like taking your car off the road for three months.

It’s not just about the carbon footprint: by using pesticides, fuel, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and fresh water, meat production has other negative environmental consequences, although choosing organic meats helps. And, a diet loaded with red meat and cheese also increases risk of heart disease, cancer and obesity.

The Cheese Caveat
In EWG’s list of protein sources, beef and lamb generate the most CO2 equivalents per pound: 27 and 39.2 pounds, respectively. But next on the list is cheese, which was a surprise to me. It generates 13.5 pounds of CO2 per pound — more than pork, and about twice as much as chicken.

cheesephotoIn the U.S., we eat a lot of cheese: we’re number 7 in the world, behind a list of European countries including Greece and France.

So What’s to Eat?
Michael Pollan put it well in his book, An Eater’s Manifesto: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. It’s a recipe for eating that’s healthy for humans and for the environment.

Imagine if we cut our meat consumption in half, or dramatically cut our beef consumption. Or, if we shifted from eating so much beef to eating more chicken (as, indeed, Americans have started to do). And, if we ate more vegetable protein, we would make a large impact; emissions from the production of vegetable proteins are 13 times less that of beef. (A more recent study says beef generates 40 times the emissions of vegetable proteins.)

Worldwide consumption of meat is on the rise. Meat consumption in countries with large populations, and large rising middle classes, is certainly a concern. But the U.S.’s impact is undeniable; a shift in eating habits here — and in policy — could make a difference in food patterns worldwide. 


The Takeaway
Do I expect most Americans to suddenly “go veg”? No. But thanks to our experiment, we have some new “food for thought.” Changing our eating habits wasn’t that difficult. We had so many amazing vegetarian choices in India. And since then, we’ve had some vegetarian food that would put a burger to shame.

Did we miss meat, as a family? No. In fact, since then, even in places where meat is prominently featured on the menu, I’ve found myself eating vegetarian more often than not. And, it’s easier on the environment swapping a hamburger for a veggie burger (or lamb bhuna for chana masala).

Challenge your family to try it for a week (or a month!) and see how it goes. It’s interesting to see how quickly a change can become a habit.

For more information, EWG’s Meat Eaters Guide can be downloaded as a PDF.

Source Material:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemaisto/2012/04/28/eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-climate-change-say-experts/

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/feed_the_world/2014/05/meat_eating_and_climate_change_vegetarians_impact_on_the_economy_antibiotics.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/environment/article/0,28804,1602354_1603074_1603171,00.html

http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/03/fight-climate-change-eat-less-meat/8753/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger/

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Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 4.12.52 PMAt ClimateMama we regularly get “pitched” by companies and products that “say” they are promoting a green and sustainable lifestyle. We are very careful to only share with you information that we believe really showcases companies and products making an effort to “walk the walk” and really help us reduce our carbon footprint. One new company on the scene that recently came to our attention, and that we do want to share with you is ClimateStore, which had it’s official launch in May 2014.

The company’s mission is clear: “to address climate change by making it fun and easy for families to learn about climate change and to find energy efficient and sustainably made products that will help them reduce their carbon footprint.” We like that! Continue reading

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coolitforkidslogoAt ClimateMama, one of the things we are most grateful for, is the opportunity to meet amazing people from around the world who give us hope, every day, that together we can and WILL solve the climate crisis. One of these amazing folks we have had the privilege of meeting is Gaye Taylor. Gaye, a Climate Reality Leader and the “force behind” a newly formed organization called Cool it for the Kids is also the organizer behind the upcoming children’s Sing for the Climate Rally, which will be held in Ottawa Canada on Saturday, June 7th.

Hundreds of children will gather on Parliament Hill, steps away from where Canadian Members of Parliament regularly meet. The children will be there with adults in a supporting role, by their sides, as Cool It For the Kids holds its inaugural Sing for the Climate Rally. The Rally gives the children of Ottawa a forum and place to have THEIR voices hear, as they speak out and sing out about a crisis that will determine their future if left unchecked.

One of the songs being preformed will be the Canadian remix of “Cool The World” by Deborah Pardes. Here’s a preview of the song, preformed by some wonderful kids in Los Angeles. Deborah and Gay hope kids around the world will join in, learn this song and sing it everywhere!! We hope so too. Continue reading

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‘I Refuse To Condemn Our Children To A Planet That’s Beyond Fixing’
obamafamilyPresident Obama, May 31, 2014

We have heard similar words from President Obama before, beginning with his strong statement when he won the Democratic primaries in 2008 and declared: ““This was the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Sadly, for so many reasons, our oceans are still rising, and our planet is not healing…

At ClimateMama we respect and admire all that President Obama has accomplished, as he works under difficult conditions, towards climate solutions. From the huge strides President Obama’s administration has made on automotive and energy efficiency, to his strongest steps so far, the June 2 announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency to greatly limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants..many important programs to address climate change are being put in place by President Obama. The new carbon reduction rules, if enacted as proposed, will effectively reduce US carbon emissions 30% from 2005 levels, by 2030 and should help the US meet it’s goal of a 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2017.

IMG_6277However…we MUST remind President Obama, and all our elected officials, that we need to go much farther and we need to go faster! Coal is not the only fossil fuel and carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change, there are many others. In particular we are learning more and more about the damaging impacts of methane (natural gas), which, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is more then 80 times more potent of a greenhouse gas then carbon dioxide in a 20 year period, and 34 times more potent over a 100 year period.

The EPA hasn’t started using these numbers yet, there is no indication they will anytime soon, and the percentages they currently use grossly underestimate methane gas in our atmosphere. So, not only are we not using the most recent numbers, we don’t even have in place the proper mechanisms to accurately measure methane emissions nationally or globally. And there are increasingly loud alarm bells ringing, from many scientists, warning us that the fracking juggernaut taking place across the United States may in fact be what pushes us over the “climate cliff.” Continue reading

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This is an invitation to change everything and to join us and be at the center of that change.

September 2014 world leaders are coming to New York City for an historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, and with our children, our families, neighbors, new friends and old friends at our side, Climate Mamas and Papas will gather in the streets of New York City to take a stand and bend the course of history….This is our “moon landing,” this is our “I have a Dream March on Washington”..this is our CLIMATE moment.

Together, with the world watching, we’ll take to the streets of New York City to demand that the world we want and the world which is within our reach, becomes a reality. This is the world with an economy that works for people and for the planet. This is the world that is and will be safe from the ravages of climate change. This is the world with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone. This is the world we want and the world we demand.

To change everything, we need EVERYONE on board. Join us September 20-21 in New York City.

Frank Sinatra – New York, New York

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it – New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – New York, New York Continue reading

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Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and for many families it’s time for picnics in the park, walks on the beach and barbeques in your own backyard. As we enjoy and cherish making memories with family and friends, take a few minutes, grab the kids in your life and watch this powerful music video by Canadian hip hop artist Gaiaisi.

Pronounced Gaia’s EyeGaia is the Greek word for Earth. This music video “Change the Earth,” helps us see and feel what our current journey looks like, how the path we are traveling, consciously or unconsciously is accelerating climate change and how we are impacting our natural world, putting many irreplaceable species, including ourselves, at risk. Continue reading

Posted in Animals & Insects, Art, Fashion, Entertainment, Climate Mama News, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, Climate Mamas & Papas, Earth Day is Every Day, Lifestyle & Fun, Nature, Oceans & Water, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments