In case you missed our Climate Mama profile of Dominque Browning on our website, we are so glad to have you join us now in celebrating this dynamic and special “Mama!”
Serendipity: “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity.” …just how I would describe my first meeting with Dominque Browning!
Dominque has a quiet, forthright and powerful way about her; you know when she tells you she plans to do something, she will get it accomplished. In our first meeting, Dominque told me how she was interested in (among many things) helping parents better understand the connection between climate change and their children’s future…”I do that, I told her..lets talk..” I didn’t realize then that Dominque was already doing this – talking to parents about our right to clean air and our collective battle for strong policies to fight against climate change – through her work with Moms Clean Air Force. Through MCAF, Dominque is reaching a very large audience of parents from around our country and beyond. We are so very thrilled and honored to feature Dominque as our first Climate Mama of 2012!
Current project/position/adventure: Senior Director, Moms Clean Air Force; blogging at Slow Love Life
Parent or grandparent? Mother of two sons
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 GOT FIRED. Actually, my entire staff did, when the magazine I had been editing for thirteen years was summarily closed. I was devastated; I really went into a psychological and emotional free fall. The entire publishing business began to tank, too; suddenly, the career I had spent years building was at an end, through bad luck and no fault of my own.
I wrote a book exploring the journey of recovery I was taking–exploring not only how terrible I felt, but what was giving me strength and resilience. That was Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness. When I got to the end of the book, I stumbled on this idea of Slow Love; I was trying to come up with a title, and realized, because my life was busy again, that what I had learned to value was not a slow life, but something deeper, something more nourishing and sustaining: slow love.
I fell in love with the miracle that is this world, all around us, every day, and began to discipline myself to be deeply mindful of the gift of life we are given. That’s why I started my blog, Slow Love Life. I want to share and explore with others what it means to let our hearts fall open to the world around us–and how it can be so healing.
What inspires you to keep going, to keep fighting this challenging battle against climate change?
HOPE. I hope that we can stop polluting our atmosphere.
I hope that the love I have, that so many of us have, for our world, and for our lives on this earth, will be strong enough to pull us back from the brink of catastrophe, where we now teeter.
I hope that the profound love I feel for my own two sons will give me the strength, day after day, to pick myself up and get going again.
What are the three greatest challenges and/or opportunities you feel the world faces with climate change?
1. Helping people understand the problem, which means helping them accept that there is, indeed, a problem.
2. Helping people believe that they can –and have a moral obligation to–do something to correct the course we are on.
3. Doing this quickly enough to avert more catastrophe.
Scientific predictions seem to be pointing to more frequent extreme weather scenarios, a shorter time frame for a warmer planet and all of the negative ramifications that this will bring. Yet here in the US, we still seem to be debating the “reality of climate change.” What will it take for us to “wake up” and do our part to avert these consequences?
Constant, heartfelt, urgent, creative messaging, of all sorts–messages that will reach people where they live. Messages that touch people through religion. Or through jobs. Or through children’s health. Tons and tons of messages to the American people, urging them to step up and give this their best effort. We’ve done it before, think of the moon shot. But it has to start at the top, with the president. He has to use his enormous influence as a leader, and speak directly, passionately, urgently, constantly and honestly, to the American people.
Do you see any hopeful signs that people are waking up to the dangers of climate change?
Yes. Some signs. Not enough. But even some are proof that change is possible. But I have to step way back, and take a longer view, to really see that we’ve come some way, in the last decade, on this subject. But now we’re losing ground again. That’s bound to happen when you have a president who has not made a serious address about climate change during the entire time he is in office. People must think, well, if he isn’t worried about it, why should I be?
What advice would you give to other Climate Mama’s and Papa’s, steps they can take both as individuals and collectively to help change the course we currently find ourselves on with climate change.
GET ACTIVE, politically. If you aren’t comfortable demonstrating and being arrested–and many of us aren’t, and never were–do what you can via internet and letter writing. Write to your Senators. Write to the President. Write to your local paper. Write to your district representatives. Write about how you support our right to clean air—and climate chaos is happening because of air pollution. Sign petitions. Send emails. But you know what? A good old-fashioned letter or postcard goes a very long way.
Other thoughts or ideas that you would like to pass on to our community?
Sometimes, being a good mother means being an engaged citizen. We all worry about toxic cleaning products, and contaminated food. We worry about BPA and other chemicals . We try to buy the best we can afford for our children. But some things can’t be bought. Some things, like clean air and clean water, come about through legislation. And that process has to be supported.
Contact information, website, or related story you would like us to link to this article?
Opinion section at TIME.COM for weekly column
Favorite book or movie?
Right now, I”m loving The Science of Sleep, and WALL-E