January Climate Mama: Greta Browne

climate-mama-gretaThis January we are pleased to introduce you to an extraordinary grandmother of three, our first “Climate Mama” of 2010, Greta Browne. Greta is a community activist, a Unitarian Minister and a self-proclaimed optimist who lives in Bethlehem, PA. This past summer, Greta walked from New Orleans, LA to Rouse Point, NY near the Canadian border, to raise attention, in her own way, to the urgency of global warming. Are you a grandparent? Do you know one? Please share Greta’s story. Tell your friends, grandchildren, and children about an incredible grandmother who is concerned for “all the grandchildren” around us, and along the way is setting an amazing example and legacy for her own.

Please join us as Greta shares her insights and inspiration in the ongoing battle against climate change!

“We are walking to call attention to global warming, and hopefully to inspire people along the way to do whatever they can to fight this danger. We are not scientists or environmental experts. We are grandmothers (and grandfathers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers…), concerned citizens who love the earth and its creatures. We hope that large numbers of Americans are ready to join in this challenge to change our ways.”

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the steps you took, life events, decisions you made, that helped you arrive at where you are at today?

I have kept myself free, resisted the need to have security, to follow common expectations; it would have been harder for me to comply. I have wanted to be able to respond to injustice and climate degradation and found that full time work kept me from that ability of quick response.

I grew up in Brazil, studied in the United States, traveled in Europe, and spent a year and a half in Niger. Everywhere I loved the land and the people. Everywhere I saw greed, anger and injustice, and I also met wonderful people. Everywhere I fell in love with the children and the animals and saw the many ways in which they could suffer. Now I see the threat of rapid climate change and want to dedicate my life to making a difference, even if it’s just a drop in the bucket.

What inspires you to keep going, to keep fighting this challenging battle against climate change?

Hope comes naturally to me – I default to optimism. But truth be told I have had moments of profound despair over the climate situation. An attitude of mindfulness, living in the here-and-now, loving what surrounds me, this keeps me going.

What are the two greatest challenges you feel the world faces with climate change?

The two major challenges are: desire and apathy, both of which lead to inertia vis-à-vis the climate crisis. We in the US desire our comfort and convenience, our safety and security, even at the expense of the poorer people around the world. It’s hard to shake Americans out of the apathy that comes from putting all effort into maintaining a comfortable lifestyle, doing nothing to risk a loss of economic status.

Scientific predictions seem to be pointing to dire scenarios, a shorter time frame for a warmer planet and all of the negative ramifications that this will cause. What will it take for us to avert these consequences?

A combination of legislation and action at the governmental levels globally, and an awakening among the world’s citizens: everyone needs to realize that this is an emergency, that life-as-usual will lead to annihilation.

Do you see any hopeful signs that people are waking up to the dangers of climate change?

When I am in my usual circles, at home, in church and among friends, I see hopeful signs. But walking through America’s heartland, I must say that people seemed very unaware that climate change is a threat to them and their communities.

What advice would you give to other Climate Mama’s and Papa’s, steps they can take as individuals and collectively to help change the course we currently find ourselves on with climate change.

First, they need to pay attention and educate themselves, with urgency. Second, they must help their children to grow up with emotional resiliency and physically strong immunization system. I recommend eating mostly vegetarian (even vegan) diets, organic foods and limited processed foods. Tending their own gardens, growing some of their own foods, participating in their communities’ efforts toward sustainability. Finally, they must be willing to tell others, urge their leaders, set the example, confront the apathy.

Other thoughts or ideas that you would like to pass on to our community?


Local focus

Walking, biking, canoeing

Lower consumption, minimal packaging


Using less energy at home

Learning about technological innovations

Favorite book or movie?


Contact information or website you would like us to mention?



This entry was posted in Climate Mamas & Papas. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *