Penny Bauder: Climate Mama


Around the country and all over the world there are Climate Mamas and Papas doing incredible things on behalf of and for their children and ours. We can all learn so much from each of these special people, the “trick is” finding them and hearing their stories. Climate Mama had the good fortune to find one of these VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE, Penny Bauder, when she contacted us to tell us more about Green Kids Crafts. As we got to know Penny, we were so impressed!! (We thought you would be too…)

Join us now as we sit down with Penny and she shares her thoughts, hopes and ideas with all of us!!

Current project/position/adventure: Founder and Owner of Green Kid Crafts an earth-friendly craft subscription service that delivers 4 craft projects each month to kids.

I also work part-time as the Climate Change Coordinator at the Alaska Center for the Environment and as the Project Manager at Alaska Conservation Solutions.

Parent or Grandparent: I am the mother of a baby boy, one impish toddler, and the wife of one larger one!

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 live in a house in the hills in Alaska, where I can often be found with paint under my fingernails or scribbling madly in a notebook. I have a B.A. in Environmental Management and an M.S. in Environmental Science. My business, Green Kid Crafts, is the end of the road for me in that it ties together everything that I find important: the environment, creativity, and my kids.

I started Green Kid Crafts as a way to stay at home with my children while continuing to work and participate in the world. Through Green Kid Crafts, I am able to marry my deep environmental ethics with creativity and share this experience with kids. With Green Kid Crafts, parents and kids can enjoy earth-friendly, monthly projects that spark creativity and cultivate respect and love for the environment. Like so many children’s products, Green Kid Crafts is a mother’s invention, born out of need. I’m a busy working mom, but nothing is more precious to me than spending quality time interacting with my two children.

Like many other parents, I want to spend my limited time connecting with them, not scrambling for ideas and shopping for safe and earth-friendly supplies. That is where Green Kid Crafts comes in. And as the part-time Climate Change Coordinator with the Alaska Center for the Environment, I know too well how important it is to offset carbon emissions. I believe that every person, every business has the power to make a difference, which is why Green Kid Crafts offsets 100% of the carbon dioxide generated by business activities.

What inspires you to keep going, to keep fighting this challenging battle against climate change? We in Alaska are first-hand climate change witnesses. The costly changes occurring in Alaska from climate change have very serious implications for the state, the nation, and the world. During the last four decades, Alaska has heated more than anywhere in the country. Our annual temperatures have increased 3–5 °F and our winter temperatures have soared 7–10 °F. Over the last several years, Alaska has experienced record-breaking fire seasons, sea ice melting, glacier retreat, diseases, storms, temperatures, and more.It’s easy to keep going and be inspired to act when these kind of changes are happening around you every day.

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? Unfortunately, I’m not sure that people will “wake up” until they see evidence of climate change in their own backyards. A growing number of scholars have been arguing that the greatest impediment to action on climate change is NOT Big Oil, the Tea Party, libertarian/conservative think tanks, or climate skeptics. Rather, they say, it is the human brain.

Simply put, the argument goes, evolution has hardwired us to respond to immediate dangers (think tigers and bears), not slow-moving, hard to grasp threats like melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Most people don’t feel personally threatened by climate change because it is vague and abstract. Additionally, for most of us, more pressing concerns grab our attention, like car payments, school loans, an ailing child, and health insurance. Those crowd-out space for future threats. In other words, our brains can handle only so many problems at a time.

Do you see any hopeful signs that people are waking up to the dangers of climate change? Absolutely! At some point every one of us has asked ourselves a little despairingly: is the world ever going to catch on to climate change? Recently it feels like it just might happen. A story on the front page of national newspapers described a new poll – Americans in record numbers are understanding that climate change is happening because they’re seeing the erratic weather that comes with a changing climate. The survey, the most detailed to date on the public response to weather extremes, comes atop other polling showing a recent uptick in concern about climate change. It’s about time that people are becoming convinced that climate change is no longer just a vague and distant threat!

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. There are many things each one of us can do to publicize climate change and work on remedies. Armed with information, we must act now to reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions. There is so much at stake. Talk to your friends, family, and elected leaders about the direction our nation and world are moving, and in doing so help expand and strengthen the network of climate change advocates. You will be making a real difference in the world.

Contact information, website, or related story you would like us to link to this article?

Green Kid Crafts You can also reach me at:

Favorite book or movie? I love all Russian writers! Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Chekhov are my favorites. I find that many Russian stories are filled with fascinating but normal people who are alone and searching for God, and this is something I can relate to.

Check out some of our other Climate Mama and Papa stories and features…

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3 Responses to Penny Bauder: Climate Mama

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