Climate Mamas and Papas come in many shapes, sizes, nationalities and ages. An increasingly vocal and visible group are those mamas and papas who identify themselves as elders; those who are witnesses with experience and knowledge earned through living many years on our planet. These elders are regularly seen standing shoulder to shoulder with younger generations. These elders are demanding a chance for our youth; a chance to live in a world that is hospitable, safe, secure and sustainable and which isn’t ravaged nor doomed by climate change. These elders have recognized that on their watch, the epoch of the anthropocene has emerged. But at the same time, they are fighting back for control and a livable future and now. Join us as we share with you this wonderful post by Ellen Moyer which offers insights about the many climate elders groups springing up around the planet, and what is driving them. We are reposting Ellen’s article with permission from our friends and colleagues at Boomer Warrior.
Climate Action by Elders
by Ellen Moyer
Elders the world may be our best hope for solving the “super wicked” problem of climate change. Short-term thinking created our current climate predicament. Despite warnings and predictions from the scientific community, the developed world spewed greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Given that problems, solutions, costs, and benefits play out over time frames spanning generations, the situation calls for intergenerational climate-change activism.
Photo Credit: We are Seneca Lake
Why would seniors enlist in the crusade? They have a long view due to the number of years they have already lived, during which many have witnessed changes in the climate. Many also have passion to protect their children and grandchildren. Halfdan Wiik of Norwegian Grandparents Climate Campaign says, “For me, it’s all about love and optimism. Elders of today have lived our lives in a world of great changes, for good and for bad. We know it can be changed once more.”
Elders often work with a sense of urgency, realizing that they may have relatively few years left in which to leave their legacy. And generally speaking — and with countless exceptions — compared with younger people, elders often have more free time, financial resources, wisdom, experience, economic and political clout, sense of connection to nature, and freedom from worries about job security, mortgages, and dependents. Continue reading →
ClimateMama took part in the Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) actions in Washington, DC, from May 21-29, 2015. Over 70 organizations – big and small – individuals, families and new friends from all around the country came together to call out the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Instead of moving us towards a new, powerful reliable and renewable energy system, FERC seems stuck in the past, approving new and massive fossil fuel infrastructure projects which are hurting our communities, our children’s health, our environment and our future. It’s time for a change.
Regularly, at events organized in our nation’s capital, as well as at events in communities all over the country, ClimateMama has the privilege and honor of meeting many strong, brave and dedicated individuals who have their eyes wide open; making connections between what is happening in their communities and how this is and will impact our future and that of our children.
In my home state of New Jersey, I have had the honor of watching in action and getting to know Diane Wexler, one of these very special individuals. Diane is a mother and grandmother, as well as the co-founder of Northjersey Pipeline Walkers. Diane travels around the region helping others understand what has happened in her own backyard and how to connect the dots between what is holding us to the past and the amazing opportunities that are right in front of us – if only we just opened our eyes. Diane is a Climate Mama extraordinare who personifies our motto: “tell the truth, actions speak louder then words, and don’t be afraid.”
Join us as Diane shares some of her thoughts, her hopes and her dreams… We know that if Diane has anything to do with it, the future is indeed a hopeful one for us all.
I need a healthy planet for my granddaughter to grow up on.
Thoughts by Diane Wexler
Diane: Northjersey Pipeline Walker
I have seen first hand and stood on a pipeline under construction and I have seen the absolute destruction and lack of respect for this planet. I have seen streams choked to death because of the dust and dirt kicked up during construction. Now in our New Jersey state park, we have a 200 foot wide swath that runs all the way from Montague (at the Delaware river) through to Mahwah in Northern New Jersey, all for a 36″ pipe. Continue reading →
This weekend, across the globe, Climate Mamas and Papas are marching for healthy living, healthy foods and a clear and transparent approach to what we feed our families. The March Against Monsanto targets one of the worlds largest chemical and seed giants. Monsanto has become a rallying point for families who are demanding their right to know what is on and in the food they are serving their children, and how both the chemicals and techniques used that alter our foods may also be impacting the world around us.
Climate change impacts our growing seasons and has a ripple effect the world over on the food options we have and our access to abundant and healthy choices. Knowing if our food crops have been treated with pesticides, if the water used to nurture these crops is clean and chemical free, and if the seeds used to grow our food have been altered, also takes on a relevant and critical perspective as we live climate change.
On May 23rd, 2015 Climate Mamas and Papas are marching, parading, singing, speaking out and being heard, as we demand healthy foods choices and a clear and transparent approach to what we feed our families.
In New Jersey, ClimateMama is pleased to be one of the endorsers of the Food Matters March and Parade in Sparta. Climate Mama extraordinaire Wendie, one of the Parade coordinators, told us recently that: “This march takes the offensive approach and pushes the positive.” She shared how march organizers have been discussing their desire to: “move the ball offensively down the field focusing on what we DO want to see in our society.” As such, there will be many “forward minded banners” for this March Against Monsanto, solidarity parade as families, friends and neighbors march with signs supporting real food, pesticide free crops and healthy living choices. Following the Parade, attendees will then move to the adjacent Dykstra Park were they will STAND against Monsanto waving their banners high and hearing from key NJ Environmental leaders.
We at Climate Mama stand strong and in solidarity this weekend with all Climate Mamas and Papas around the world as parents raise attention to how our food and food choices are being impacted by some of the largest companies in the world, often without our say, behind our backs and without our knowledge.
Food Matters March: “Gentle Harvest” Photo, Copyright- Ellen Hoverkamp
Today, on “Do Something Wednesday,” Climate Mamas and Papas will be in Tarrytown, New York at a public meeting of the Nuclear Regulator Commission, calling for some “reality” regarding the approval of a 42 inch natural gas line, a stone’s throw away from Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Also, today in Reading, NY 16 mothers – part of the citizens group We Are Senaca Lake - will be in court as a result of their arrests just before Mothers Day 2015, defending their children’s rights to clean air, clean water, and a livable future.
All week long, and committed to being heard for “as long as it takes” Climate Papas and Mamas, many of whom are being called, “Kayaktists, are rallying, speaking out and being seen in Seattle, Washington, protesting Shell and it’s unsustainable and incredibly dangerous plans to drill for fossil fuels in our fragile Arctic, using Seattle as a staging ground.
Also, beginning Thursday, May 21st through May 29th, Climate Mamas and Papas will be gathering in Washington, DC to bring to light the hypocrisies and dubious dealings of the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC), an “independent” government agency tasked with regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. Given it’s mandate, one would assume that understanding and connecting the dots between this role and climate impacts would be of paramount importance. But instead FERC is pushing forward the vast expansion of fracked gas and it’s infrastructure, with no regard for the ongoing and compounding damages to our and our children’s health as well as the very real probability that their actions will push us over the “climate cliff” which scientists tell us we are fast approaching. As FERC senior staff have stated numerous times, “climate change impacts are NOT part of our considerations.”
One of our favorite Climate Mama’s Linda, said it well when she told us: “The mandate and reach of FERC must be revisited and revised by Congress. We must connect the dots at all levels and jump into the future now, there is no bridge, there is only a cliff. There is no Planet B.” Linda goes on to say that: “This wasn’t part of our plans when we put down roots in our communities and birthed our children. But this is where we find ourselves now; experts on technical topics we never imagined. We have discovered that there is no one minding the store. We are still your mothers, your sisters, your neighbors, your coworkers and your friends. But we also see what’s at stake and we are standing up, speaking out and fighting back. Our children know this and they are watching.”
As Ted Glick, one of the organizers of the Beyond Extreme Energy campaign explained in a May 18, 2015 EcoWatch article: “Many of us who had never heard of FERC, now understand that it is [has become] a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry. A month ago a story, Employees negotiate for industry jobs under agency’s eye, published by E&E’s Greenwire reported on the corrupt, internal FERC culture which explains FERC’s rubber-stamping ways.”
If this makes you mad, sad and wondering what you can do, please join us in Washington DC from May 21-29th, as part of the Beyond Extreme Energy actions. We will be joining other Climate Mamas and Papas from around the country – families from frontline communities. All of us are “frontline communities” in the fight against climate change. If we hope to slow down climate change and create a livable future for our children, we must demand a “time out” on fossil fuel expansion, and all it’s infrastructure. We will be calling on Cheryl Lafluer – former FERC Chair, and FERC Commissioner – herself a mother, to reconsider her narrow interpretation of FERC’s mandate, and stand with us, as we stand up for our children’s future and now. Our children our watching.
Are you planning to or already marching, rallying and calling for action in your neighborhood? Send us your pictures and your stories. Let us share them with our ClimateMama family for you!
By Rhoda Baer (Photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As a parent, life is hectic. Running to and from work, both in and outside of our homes; keeping up with our kid’s schedules; getting food on the table; and also hoping to sit down once in a while, together as a family to decompress and catch up. I know we can all relate. When I was single, younger and before I had kids, I didn’t take time to think through about who was watching out for us and ensuring that things like safe water, clean air and a secure and safe future were being thought about carefully and acted on. I assumed that foresight and planning was there, and someone was making sure that those things I couldn’t directly take care of, were being looked after.
Both as I have gotten older and as I live parenthood, life seems to be traveling at warp speed. Most of my friends, those that are parents, those that are not, those who are younger, older, and also my age, all seem to share this sentiment..life on overdrive. Regardless, I know for myself and for some of my friends there is and has been an awakening of sorts. We have become more and more aware that no one is in fact “minding the store” and we have an important role to play in ensuring our safe future. Sadly, I still see many of my friends too caught up in the craziness of their lives. I see that they haven’t realized or have chosen to close their eyes to the fact that no one is really looking out for the best interests of us all.
Once you slow down long enough to see the truth in front of us, it’s obvious that too many things are unraveling, and there is not a clear and well thought out plan. This is particularly and acutely clear with climate disruption and the lack of real solutions and policies, and therefore all the chaos that can and is already unfolding. Continue reading →
In the United States of America, the second Sunday in May is officially “Mothers Day.” This celebration has its origins in early efforts to honor mothers who came together to promote peace, and whose sons fought on opposite sides of the American Civil War. In 1914 the United States Congress and President Wilson formally established the first National Mothers day, recognizing mothers who had lost sons in war.
Petty Officer 3rd class Campbell, U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Mothers fighting for peace and their children’s right to survive and a mother’s unconditional love for her children often demands that she put herself on the line, risking her life for her child’s. We see this happening all over the world today for a myriad of reasons, and more and more often in relation to a mothers fight against our changing climate and for a sustainable and livable future.
Mothers seem to see clearly through the fog of denial; that through our thoughtless use and abuse of our planet Earth, we are now marching forward on a clear path that threatens ours and our children’s very existence. We must and we are taking action now.
At ClimateMama on Mother’s Day (and every day) we are proud to honor mothers across the world who are taking action for their children’s future and now, as we live climate change. Today we list but a few of these incredible mama’s who are putting their lives on the line as they fight against unsustainable and dangerous practices – in particular those of the oil and gas industry and their extreme extractive processes and byproducts – and for a livable future for all our children. We will regularly share more details of these mama’s stories and stories from mamas the world over. Continue reading →
Joylette Portlock, creative genius and ClimateMama extraordinaire knocks it out of the park with this wonderful music video and parody.
Grab the kids in your life and sing along to this Taylor Swift riff: “The Future can be great, great, great, great, great. If we break it of, break it of, break it off (our addiction to fossil fuels).” There is another way!
Pictures and music speak volumes, so we will say no more, except to share this video widely with your friends and family.
It’s “Do something Wednesdays” here at ClimateMama, a day to role up our sleeves and act on climate. A day inspired by Joylette and her “Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something” video series. We all CAN make a difference and change the crash course we are on..Together we are powerful.
Joylette Portlock wears many hats. She is the Board President of Communitopia in Pittsburg, PA. Joylette studied biology at M.I.T, has a PHD in genetics from Stanford University and is a Climate Reality leader. She is also an amazing mom, a dear friend and an inspiration to all of us at ClimateMama.
Climate Papa Josh Lawler, Associate Professor at the School of Forest Resources at
The University of Washington, studies how human activities affect ecological systems at large spatial scales. More specifically, he is looking at how human created climate change is impacting species and landscapes around us. In addition to being a scientist, Josh is also a dad. Like many of our Climate Papas, Josh has his eyes “wide open” to the fact that our actions today will create and directly impact our children’s tomorrow: good or bad, safe or dangerous. Josh understands clearly how big the problems are that we face from climate change and at the same time he also knows that we have the tools to fix what we have broken. Grab the kids in your life, and listen and watch Josh explain this to us, in his own words. Continue reading →
On Earth day (or any day) share these facts with the kids in your life:
• Between early 2012 and late 2013, the cost of solar power in the United States fell by 60 percent.
• Between 2010 and 2014, U.S. solar installed capacity grew by over 400 percent.
• Globally, solar photovoltaic module prices fall by 80 percent between 2008 and 2013.
• In 2002, the projection was that the solar electricity market would grow by one Gigawatt per year by 2010. That goal was exceed 17 times. In 2013 it was exceeded 39 times. In 2014, it was exceeded 54 times.
• In a 2015 report, Deutsche Bank predicts “Grid parity” (the cost of rooftop solar versus the cost of electricity sourced from the grid) in 80% of the world by 2017 and that rooftop solar PV will reach grid parity in all 50 US states by 2016…even with the collapse of oil prices. Continue reading →
Heartache…that is what many of our Climate Mamas and Papas tell us is a constant in their lives. There is also incredible joy and hope too, but as we work on climate change education and advocacy, the heartache and grief is something we all must find a way to come to terms with.
Our friend, colleague, and fellow Climate Reality leader, Rolly Montpellier has captured many of the emotions and feelings that people working on climate change education and advocacy feel and experience, every day. In Rolly’s own words: “I could not escape my responsibility…as I headed straight towards my deepest fears and concerns..I do this for my (grand) children.” This is a statement that many of us at ClimateMama can intimately relate to.
Please set a side a few minutes and read Rolly’s story – carefully and slowly. There is no going back, but we do know that going forward, we are all in this together. We can and must rely on one another for emotional, spiritual and practical support. With heartfelt thanks Rolly, we have your back….
So if life is already difficult, why then become a climate activist? Why not just leave it alone? Why not avoid all those negative emotions – fear, pain, strife, despair – that come with being an activist? Surely someone else would deal with climate change. So why me?
Simply put, the stakes are just too high and the consequences of failure too unimaginable to not get involved. I could not escape my responsibility. Once I knew that, there was no looking back. I jumped in knowing that I was headed straight towards my deepest fears and concerns. I must do this for my grandchildren I told myself. Continue reading →
You are a mother, a father, a grandparent, an uncle, an aunt, a teacher or a child at heart. When you hear the Native American saying, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”, it makes you stop for a moment and think. You love nature, travel, adventure and believing in a world that is special and unique. Climate change and global warming are words that alarm you, that often seem too big to get your arms around. You care about what’s happening to the world and notice small changes in your own life that seem to point in the direction of a threatened environment. But you wonder if these changes are real, and if they are you can’t imagine what you can do to help change what is happening.
Climate Change so often seems too big to get our hands around. We wonder where we can start and how we can actually make a difference. Each one of us has a different path that we will follow. Some of us cut a wider swath than others, but each of us has a role to play. We would like to introduce you to some amazing individuals, Climate Mamas and Papas who are making a difference, who are, through their daily lives, affecting the lives of all of us. They inspire us, empower us, and challenge us to reach for the stars, to strive to do the best we can to help change the crash course we are currently on with our environment. Lets meet some of these amazing people and find out what inspires them. Meet our featured Climate Papa, Gregg Kleiner, today!
The Climate Reality Project employs cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to break the dam of inaction and raise the profile of the climate crisis to its proper state of urgency. With a Global movement of more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by Al Gore, the Climate Reality Movement stands up to denial, presses for solutions and spreads the truth about climate change to empower leaders to solve the climate crisis. Climate Reality is leading the way and helping us find and hold onto Climate Hope!