Credit: Flicker – Creative Commons

Vote: Does it sound “old,” “tired,” and “cliche?” I know it does, but voting does truly matter and is something we must not take for granted.

According to the United States Elections Project, in the 2014 United States mid-term elections 143 million eligible voters did not vote. More bluntly: just over 36% of eligible voters actually voted, and almost 2/3rds of eligible voters stayed home and did not vote. The 2014 midterms had one of the most lack luster voter turnouts in nearly 70 years. We must show our children, our neighbors and the world that the 2018 mid-terms are different.

In the 2016 presidential elections, less then 60% of Americans voted. When the 2016 vote is broken out by age range we see a pattern that has existed for some time: just over 40% of those 18-29 voted; in the 45-59 age range, over 65%  voted; and for those over 60, more then 70% voted. While it’s critical that we all vote, young people, a group that traditionally does not vote in large numbers,  needs to be regular, consistent and active voters. On average, young people tend to be more inclusive, more demanding of the truth and less likely to accept outright lies, and quicker to demand change. We need to move quickly and demand change, for we are out of time.

Voting is our right and people throughout history have fought so hard for us to have this right. Yes, it may seem that if you live in California, New York, or New Jersey your vote counts significantly less then someone who lives in Wyoming or Idaho. And yet, in California, New Jersey and New York there are districts and counties where in the 2016 and 2017 elections, leaders were elected by only double digits. Ten people can make a difference, so can one person. Every vote counts.

In Australia, voting is compulsory – required by law. Consistently over 90% of eligible voters do vote. The fine for not voting in a federal election is $20 and there are various local and state fines as well. Perhaps it’s time for mandatory voting in the USA?

At ClimateMama we always remind our Climate Mamas and Papas that to vote without knowing where your candidate stands, or just because she has an R or a D in front of her name, isn’t good enough. You must do your homework. Just as we want our children to show us that they have completed their homework, we need to do the same. Talk to your children about your vote and why someone has earned it. We stand strongly by this advice.

We also want to remind all our Climate Mama’s and Papas, when you cast your federal votes in this 2018 mid-term election, do so with the intent to show our children our country and the world that we completely and utterly repudiated hate,  anger and lies. By not standing up to outright lies, to hate, and for science, currently elected congressional and senatorial leaders are both directly and tacitly giving their approval to President Trump’s agenda and his lies. Among other things, this agenda includes more drilling and mining on public lands for oil, coal and gas; it includes less regulation to protect our children’s health and our water and our air; it fuels hatred by demonizing immigrants, and by making it difficult in many locations across the country to vote. This administration is one that we must stand up to and strongly say: We reject the agenda you are putting forward.

We have no more time. Our planet is showing us this in so many ways. And yet, we need to move forward, one step at a time and not be stuck, frozen, or paralyzed. We must keep going. We must vote, and we must demand that candidates we support show up the each day and follow through on their promises to us and to our children.

 

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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Breaking: From November 7th to November 21st, a water-only fast opposing any and all new fossil fuel infrastructure in New Jersey will be undertaken in Trenton and elsewhere around the state. People  around the country have also committed to fast, to show solidarity with the NJ Climate Fast.  For some participants, the fast will last for as long as two weeks. The fast will be conducted primarily on the sidewalks outside of Governor Murphy’s office.

What we are fasting for: Governor Murphy of New Jersey will announce that the State of New Jersey is declaring A MORATORIUM on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. This will ensure that: no new oil or gas pipelines will be built in the State; no new gas compressor stations will be built and no expansion of existing ones will occur; no new gas-fired power plants will be built; etc. Nothing which deepens the climate crisis will be constructed in the State.

One of the first questions people ask me upon hearing about this fast is: “Why New Jersey?”  Isn’t Governor Murphy “all in” on climate action? Well the answers are both yes, and no. Governor Murphy’s initial steps upon taking office in January 2018 were to respond to the seriousness and the urgency of the climate crisis by publicly reminding New Jerseyans of the need for climate action and by taking positive steps forward, including a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050. Clearly, those of us across the state are heartened to know that New Jersey now has a leader who understands the climate chaos that could envelop us and what needs to be done to give us and our children more time to prevent the worst case scenarios that might unfold.

Yet, at this moment in time we count 11 proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the State, waiting on permits to begin. New Jersey, under the leadership of the Governor has the authority to stop these projects from moving forward. These projects make achieving 100% renewable energy for New Jersey, by 2050, virtually impossible. We know that the switch can’t be turned off from fossil fuels and on to 100% renewables overnight. But we also know that we need to move further and faster then we ever have, and that we need to lead, not follow. When we meet our energy needs, it must be with renewables and energy efficiency. As a state without easily accessible fossil fuel reserves, New Jersey can be a leader by taking a stand against any further build out of fossil fuel infrastructure. New Jersey can show our country and our world that there is another way; we can put fossil fuels behind us.

We have shared information with our Climate Mamas and Papas about the October 2018 Special Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that highlights the urgent need for actions to sharply reduce fossil fuel use. According to my colleague, climate scientist Katherin Hayhoe of Texas Tech university, The Special Report is like getting a troubling diagnosis from your doctor, “Every possible test has been done and the news is not good,” Hayhoe said in an interview. “The doctor, the IPCC in this case, then explains possible treatment options to ensure our future health. WE (the public) decide which option to follow.” Without the support of WE (the elected) WE the public can’t move forward on our own. Those that we have elected to represent us  need to hear loudly from all of us that we have their backs and that we want and demand that they go farther and faster then they have gone so far, or that others before them have gone. We can and we must. Our planet is telling us we are out of time. Our children are counting on us, their future and now in our hands. We want our elected leaders to follow our Climate Mama motto: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, don’t be afraid.” We can’t just “talk the talk” we all must “walk the walk” and quickly.

Many of us taking part in this fast, for one to 14

Used with permission © Erik McGregor – erikrivas@hotmail.com – 917-225-8963

days, are already involved in efforts to prevent the building of one or more proposed fossil fuel projects in New Jersey. We are undertaking this action together to make clear that in a world rapidly heating and disrupted by climate change, that we need strong leaders in the fight against climate change.  We support the Governor and want to help him move forward on climate action faster and further then he might otherwise go, without our support. We need strong leaders across the country and around the world that are for clean, job-creating renewable energy and energy efficiency. We need strong leaders who will stand for environmental justice communities, for clean air, water, and sustainable food choices and the right to a livable future. How we harness our energy and the impacts of our climate crisis are clearly social justice issues. By undertaking this fast, and raising attention for the need for a moratorium on the build out of fossil fuel infrastructure we are calling on these leaders to “walk the talk,” consistently and right now.

I have been working full time on climate education, advocacy and solutions since 2009 and it has been part of my work in a broad sense for more then 25 years. The good news is that more people, more organizations and more companies understand the realities of what’s happening and what’s at stake. The bad news is our planet is so much sicker then she was 25 years ago, and she is showing us, in no uncertain terms she is mad, and not going to take our abuse much longer.

Join us. Sign up here to be part of our fast. You don’t need to live in New Jersey to support us. Friends from Cape Cod and North Carolina have already signed up to join us from their hometowns. Learn more here on the ClimateFastNJ website.

We will be reporting regularly on our blog about the fast, the people involved, and the response from our elected officials, including the Governor. Join us if you can in person in Trenton, or from wherever you are around the state and around the world.  Let us know you are joining us, so we can support you too. The Climate Fast NJ website will contain a calendar where you can find out more about each day’s activities.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mamas & Papas, fracking and pipelines, In The News, Politics, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Happy Halloween! We, in North America, have taken the celebration of ghosts, goblins and monsters to an extreme and on October 31st we  ring in this festive and spooky holiday in a myriad of ways. It is an opportunity for fun and fantasy and an opportunity to “be in the moment” and enjoy!

This post contains some highlights from several of our past ClimateMama halloween posts, from our current thinking on climate action, and from some of our “scary” ghosts and goblin stories. Quite frankly these stories aren’t going to go away. So, after some important in the moment time with your kids, please do join us and help us share. Our kids health, future and now is in our hands and Halloween is as good a time as any to  remind us all that we must make climate solutions a part of our lives – every day. In the USA, with the mid-term elections on November 6th,  it is also  a critical time to remind our friends, neighbors, family and grown up children that voting does matter, now more then ever.

What continues to really scare to me, and what remains largely ignored by policy makers, the mainstream media, and many of my friends, are climate science facts shared by the international scientific climate community through their  International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Until recently, these “spooky and terrifying REAL life stories” are news one day and forgotten the next. They should be compelling motivators  to move us forward to act on climate now, through both big and small ways. The most recent report, “Global Warming at 1.5 Degrees”, was released in early October and it did get more mainstream media coverage then earlier reports. It tells us that we will surpass a 1.5 C degree rise in temperature from pre-industrial times within twelve years, a temperature point, and a critical indicator that will put our planet at risk of runaway climate chaos and ourselves, our children and our species at mortal risk. Twelve years flies by.

I have shared in  earlier posts how the IPCC, through hundreds of peer reviewed scientific reports that have been reviewed by hundreds of scientists around the world, confirm that:

The world’s climate continues to warm at an unprecedented rate, and that, with more than 95% certainty, scientists are confirming that humans are the primary cause of this warming.

The rate of sea level rise is also accelerating at unprecedented rates and we need to move beyond historical rates to reflect the current changes.

The arctic sea ice continues to melt rapidly and our oceans are rapidly acidifying, as they absorb much of the excess heat and atmospheric C02.

None of this is good, and I have to wonder how many more “nails in the coffin” we need to be presented with before we start not only adapting to the changes we are all experiencing, but actually doing something to stop them.

Following this scary story, let me share a personal, family Halloween story too. Continue reading

Posted in Climate Mama News, Do Something Wednesdays, Food, Holidays, Lifestyle & Fun, Politics, Recycling, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superstorm Sandy rolled in to the NYC metro area on October 29th, 2012 and hung around for several days. This year is the 6th Anniversary of this iconic storm. However, it’s likely that this anniversary may not be on your radar, as the breaking tragic news of each new day overcome us. Anti-Semitic murders in Pittsburgh, a deranged bomber in Florida, and a President who regularly lies; almost too much to bear. Yet, as the mid terms approach, we must remember Sandy and what has or has not been done as part of our recover and preparedness for the next big storm. How we vote and who we vote for matters more then ever.

In many ways Sandy seems like a lifetime ago  – yet “Michael, Harvey, Maria and Irma” four devastating hurricanes which struck the US and the Caribbean in the past 14 months – bring back stark reminders from that weekend, 6 years ago. Below is a post I wrote a few days after Superstorm Sandy on the eve of the 2012 elections. We have so much work to do to build up our resiliency and prepare for this new “normal” of superstorms. Those of us raising our children on the coasts, are on the front lines. We must make sure our elected officials not only acknowledge the crisis we are in, but help us build, plan and prepare for our future, which is now.

We thought the politicization of climate change was bad in 2012, sadly, things are have only gotten much worse. Climate change is happening whether you are republican, democrat, independent, rich or poor, blue, purple, black or white. We MUST take action. Hiding our heads in the sand, denying reality won’t stop the changes that are already taking place. In this upcoming election of 2018, please do vote; and for our children, challenge those seeking your vote. Ask them: “What are YOU doing about climate change?” If they don’t have a ready answer and a plan, please DO NOT give them your vote. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Global Warming at 1.5 degrees” reminds us we HAVE NO MORE TIME!

Vote as if our world depends on it, in fact it does….

Yours,

Climate Mama

Climate Change: Making Your Vote Count For Our Kids – Post Sandy

Hurricane Sandy: My Neigborhood 10/30/12

November 2, 2012: As I drink my morning coffee, through my kitchen window I still see homes with no lights, but the noise from generators that punctuated the usual early morning quiet these past few days, is absent. Neighbors are putting their recycling containers on the curb –Tuesday’s pick up has been rescheduled for today. Some normalcy returns. About 1/3 of our town now seems to have power, although on some streets it continues to look like bombs went off and clean up has yet to begin. The shock of Sandy is being replaced by resignation and acceptance, as people who’s homes have had extensive damage are looking for more permanent short to medium term solutions for places to live, and those without power are accepting the fact that it still could be days, or even weeks till they get it back.

We are lucky in our neighborhood; damage has been minimal. And as we weep for those that have lost so much, we already are begining to rebuild. But in many towns that difficult question needs to be carefully weighed, away from emotion – as sea level rises and more powerful storms are our future and our reality.

As I venture out in my car, I see gas lines already stretching for blocks and in some cases what looks like miles, as we continue to conserve gas and think about each trip we take in our car – is it a necessity? Will we learn lessons from this disaster? I hope so. We rely too heavily on fossil fuels to keep our house warm and our vehicles moving. Time to look and invest in 21st century energy and technology.

My big wonder and that of many of my neighbors, is now beginning to be: how and will I be able to vote on Tuesday? So far all the local schools, which serve as our polling stations, remain dark. I know there is every effort being made to get them up and running. For tens of thousands of us in the NYC metro area even getting to the polling stations that may be opened will be difficult. Closed streets, limited public transportation, and power outages which may have caused families to temporarily move out of their polling districts may disenfranchise so many…

I will definitely find a way to vote. As the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg said when he endorsed President Obama on November 1st: “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Hurricane Sandy: My Neigborhood

While I try to refrain from bringing politics into our blog posts on ClimateMama, I feel we have no choice but to discuss politics now. Mother nature, through Sandy, says we must and we have to. From my vantage point, I see that the Republican party has been co-opted and taken hostage by many climate deniers who not only won’t put short and long term fixes for climate change on the agenda, but they vehemently deny the fact and reality of man made climate change. Too many in the party are demanding that we continue to invest in fossil fuels and the infrastructure that will keep us reliant and addicted to this form of energy that scientists tell us IS causing our climate to change. This is a path that is leading to “mutually assured destruction,” a concept from the cold war, video games, movies and now once again real life. There is too much at stake not to discuss this on the eve of what may be the most important presidential election of our time. Climate change is not only NOT on the agenda of this Republican party it’s not in the party’s vernacular and has become a dirty word. Or ala Harry Potter it has now become: “he who shall NOT be named.”

Please, for our children’s sake and for our future and theirs…think deeply about your vote and don’t just vote for your “team” a way of “thinking and acting” that has been pushed more and more in recent years as our country has become more polarized. Climate Change needs to be THE focus of the next 4 years, not just an “issue” that should be looked at.

Listening to the radio this morning I heard that there is another storm, a nor’easter coming our way as soon as Wednesday, the day after the 2012 elections…Mother Nature is knocking hard at the door: “I am here, LISTEN AND PAY ATTENTION to me, I NEED your help!”

Yours,

Climate Mama

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Twelve years ago my daughter was seven and my son was eight. Twelve years ago I had recently moved from New York City to New Jersey and ClimateMama was still a dream. I feel like I have hardly aged, and then I look at my children and I see clearly the passage of time. Twelve years ago my father was alive and the cancer that killed him was invisible.  Twelve years seems like a lifetime ago, and yet it seems like it was only yesterday. Time marches on, and it is not on our side.

Greys Anatomy began its television run 13 years ago and the first Harry Potter novel was released in 1997, twenty-one years ago! Time flies.

In early October 2018 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told us that we will surpass a 1.5 C degree rise in temperature from pre-industrial times within twelve years, putting our planet at risk of runaway climate chaos and ourselves and our species at mortal risk. Twelve years flies by.

I hope that in twelve years my children have careers they love,  significant others in their lives who love them as much as I do, and that we all have our health and happiness. But, in twelve years, if we do nothing to control our manmade greenhouse gas emissions, we may be living climate chaos.  Extreme weather events will be regular and reoccurring factors and the problems that these events bring will put our lives on a permanent path of chaos.

The compound problem of climate chaos is edging forward, faster then we thought possible but with clear and direct determination, fueled by us and our distractions. As George R.R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones books has confirmed, the threat that “winter is coming” is a parallel to our modern day climate crisis; we are living it and it is here and near.

So what do we do?

  1. As Climate Mamas and Papas we must keep talking about the climate crisis and demanding actions, even as the craziness of the day tries to shut us down. We must remind our friends, our families, our children and our neighbors that we are running out of time and what we do, the companies and organizations we support, and how we vote matters.
  2. Check each of the websites of the people who want your vote this November, or call their offices and see if they have an answer to your question: “What will you do about our climate crisis?” If they don’t have an answer or they haven’t thought about climate change, they probably don’t deserve your vote. If your candidate is already in office, what is their environmental voting record? Let the League of Conservation Voters scorecard help you to find out.
  3. Do you have a pension fund, or investments in mutual funds or stocks? You can and you should talk to your broker, or your pension fund manager about divesting those funds from fossil fuel companies and they’re supporting infrastructure. Sign our petition to call for New Jersey to take a lead nationally and divest it’s pension funds from fossil fuel companies. New York City and New York state are already considering doing this too.
  4. Call on your state government to call for a MORITORIUM on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. This includes pipelines, gas, coal or oil power plants and compressor stations and of course any new drilling or mining of fossil fuels.

We need to “get real” we are out of time and our children are counting on us. Their future and now is in our hands.

Vote for their future and ours. Make it YOUR priority –  we have!

Your,

 

Climate Mama

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In 2007, I had the honor and the privilege of training with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality leader. These 3 days changed the direction and future course of my life. My 2007 training was one of the first 6 trainings  of the newly formed Climate Project (now Climate Reality Project) and all of these took place in Nashville, Tennessee. These first trainings were all conducted by former Vice President Al Gore – as have all subsequent trainings.  One thousand people in total were trained in these six separate events over the course of Climate Reality’s inaugural year.

In October 2017, I was a mentor in Pittsburgh, PA where we trained 1400 climate leaders in 3 days; our largest training to date. In Pittsburgh we trained more people in 3 days then were trained in six trainings over our entire first year! From August 27-30th I have the honor once again of being a mentor at our 39th training in Los Angeles where more than 2000 new Climate Reality leaders from all across the USA and the world will be join our Climate Reality Family. We will surpass 17,000 in numbers. Wow!!  The scale of this training while be a new and exciting experience for us all. To accomplish this feat, 120 Climate Reality leaders will return as mentors. Our trainings could not take place without our mentors who welcome our trainees pre-training and then help our newly trained leaders as needed, over the next year.  Some trainees need more support then others, and our mentors are there to help when and as needed.

While certainly larger in scale then the 2006/7 trainings, I know that at our LA training  the same hopes for our future and now will be strengthened and reaffirmed,  new friendships and life long bonds will be forged, and a fierce determination to succeed will be enshrined in all. As extreme weather continues to hammer California, we could not be meeting in a better place or at a better time to talk about the climate crisis and to come away with concrete plans for creating a livable future for us all.

It’s not easy logistically to train so many people at one time. The staff, the experts, and the mentors each contribute to creating a unique event, filled with long days of learning, networking, and discovery. Your head and your heart are made to hurt; nothing is held back about the gravity of the situation we face and the urgency of the crisis before us. Yet, no one wants to leave when the three days are up. To be in a room surrounded by so many people who are like you in so many ways is truly a life-affirming event. On the surface it seems everyone is so different, coming from diverse backgrounds and different locations around the country and around the world. Yet, we all share the hope and the belief that we can and will re-build our home; that a livable, healthy, and safe world can and will be a reality for us all and for our children, and their children. We all know it won’t be easy and that time is not on our side.

At our Pittsburgh training in October 2017 I was awarded the Green Ring, which is given “to an outstanding Climate Reality Leader who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their role as a climate communicator and activist. ” 

I am so incredibly proud and honored to be the recipient of this very, very special award.  Yet I know without a doubt that it could have been given to any one of the other 1400 people in the room, or the more then 14,000 Climate Reality Project leaders, not in Pittsburgh with us, who help to make up our Climate Reality family. I am fortunate to work with so many inspiring people.  We aren’t giving up, we have our eyes wide open and yet we still believe we can and we will win against this existential threat we face from our changing climate and ourselves. Together we are unstoppable!

With love and gratitude to all our Climate Mamas and Papas.  A special thanks to my Climate Reality family –  for strengthening my commitment and fortifying my resolve – we will succeed because we must. I will continue to live each day by our Climate Mama Motto: “Tell the Truth, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Don’t be Afraid.” 

Stay tuned and consider joining us for our next training. The date and location haven’t been announced yet, but if you sign up now, you will be one of the first to learn about it when it is announced.

Also, put December 3 and 4th on your calendar and save the date! Tune in to 24 Hours of Reality, which this year will explore the many ways fossil fuels and climate change threaten human health all around the world and highlight how together we’ll solve this crisis. With the United Nation’s climate negotiations starting the first day of the broadcast, we’ll call on world leaders to address the climate crisis by increasing their commitments in the Paris Agreement and turning promises into practical solutions at home.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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August 23rd, 2011 is a day I will remember forever. At approximately 1:30pm I was being
released from jail in Washington, DC.  Earlier in the day, with 60 new and dear friends, I was arrested in front of the White House, frisked, handcuffed and put in a police van for the civil disobedience action of “standing” in front of the White House and not moving when directed to by DC Park Police. We were part of a larger movement, where over the course of 2 weeks, 1253 people were arrested –  more and more each day –  for the ‘crime” of standing together in protest against the eminent construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

About 20 minutes after my release, I was on the DC metro, on my way to meet up with my children, who were safely waiting in Baltimore with a dear friend. As the metro stopped at multiple stations on it’s way to Union Station it became clearer and clearer that something was terribly wrong. On arrival at Union Station, where 1000’s of people were milling about, we were both dazed and relieved to learn it wasn’t a terrorist attack as many of us were beginning to believe, but rather an earthquake. Washington had been “shook” hard by  a 5.8 earthquake, which damaged the Capital and the National Monument but all in all the damage was limited, and no one was hurt badly.

A memorable day, all around I would say. For those of us in the climate movement, these two weeks in August 2011 were a seminal time. This was a moment where we all came together very publicly and collectively to draw our line in the sand and say no more. To this day, the Keystone XL still hasn’t been built. It remains a symbol of our collective ability and combined will; reminding us of the  success and importance of non-violent direct action.

Sadly, and in fact, many, many pipelines have been built since then, are under construction, and on the planning books today; but collective action against these pipelines at the local level remains strong. These local actions around our country and around the world may in many cases not be as visible in the media as our KXL protests were, but they are as or more successful and are incredible powerful – inspiring and empowering us all. Most of these protests are slowing down pipeline construction and many have resulted in pipeline postponements of many years. Some have in fact stopped  these “powerful ‘snakes” in their tracks. One of many, many ongoing protests that deserves and needs more attention is the Bayou Bridge Pipeline protest in Louisiana. Learn more about the brave men and women who fight daily to protect their homes and ours.

As these oil and gas pipelines grind their way across our country they transport in their bellies destructive, dangerous and deadly poisons. Many, many people have since been arrested and face longer and harsher sentences then the ones we faced over those two weeks in Washington, DC. We must remain cognizant and on alert as many, many states and our national government are currently looking at ways to limit and curb public protest and the very ability of people to gather and express our free will and free speech. We must stay vigilant of these facts and fight against them. Our nation was built on the right for free speech. This must remain a foundational pillar.

Today however I am taking a moment, and I am smiling.  I am celebrating the dear and lasting friendships I made over these few weeks in 2011, and the moment we created that  helped galvanize and strengthen our community; turning many of us into life long climate activists. Below is one post I wrote the day after my arrest. Here and here are a few links to more of my thoughts and feelings leading up to and including that day, 7 years ago today. If you look back on our blog and search through 2011, you will find more thoughts, ideas and musings.

Time goes, and our world continues to show us in increasingly chaotic and damaging ways that she is out of balance, sick and getting tired of our abuses. Will she survive, of course she will. She has been around for over 4 billion years. Will we survive, that is another matter entirely and depends in large part on us…

To my fellow arrestees, and to all our dear Climate Mamas and Papas, thank you for all you do everyday,

your Climate Mama

Why a Bra Makes a Good Purse in Times of Imminent Arrest: The Tar Sands Action, August 24th, 2011

Credit: Creative Commons/Flickr Tar Sands Action

As of August 24, 2011, close to 300 people have been arrested in the largest civil disobedience action in the American environmental movement’s recent history. I am honored to say I am one of those people. Women and men from all walks and circles of life are “stepping up” and saying no to the XL Keystone Pipeline, which would carry Tar Sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas, crossing over and through environmentally fragile zones and important aquifers; threatening our land, our water, our wildlife, and our way of life.

So, you may ask, how does one prepare for an “imminent” arrest in Washington, DC? In my case, carefully and with much help from my friends! My experience with the TarSandsAction support team has been incredibly positive. Not only did they prepare me for what would happen, and be there to support me every step of the way, but they also introduced me to a group of caring individuals from all over the country who are now my friends and jail mates. (Not too many other individuals I know can fall into this particular friend category!) Many of these people, like me, are “middle age” (ouch!) and opening themselves up for arrest for the very first time. We Elders have found our cause and are taking our place along side students and young people who have been holding the “mantle” on environmental protests for us, by themselves, for long enough.

This new page in my personal history book begins at “civil disobedience training” the night before my arrest where we were told NOT to bring anything to the protest that we could NOT afford to loose, including cell phones and wedding rings. Do you know how hard it is to get a wedding ring off your finger that has been there for 15 years? We were also told to “dress dignified” like we were going to a business meeting. I had packed a skirt and top, neither of which had pockets, and didn’t think through how I would carry my ID and $100, the two items we were told TO take to jail – ID, so we could be properly booked, and $100 which was our “get out of jail” card. Our hope and best case scenario was that whatever our charge was, we would be given the opportunity to “post and forfeit” which would allow us to pay a fine and then leave jail that same day.

So, this is where a bra comes in handy, another useful piece of information from my TarSanHarriet ShugarmandsAction support colleagues. That morning as I dressed, I put my driver’s license, $120, and a metro card in my bra, which now effectively served as my purse! I did move these items to the waste band of my skirt just prior to my arrest and the handcuffs going on me, so that it would be easier for the arresting officer who frisked me to remove them. Yes I was frisked, in fact several times, and yes I had handcuffs on from the moment of my arrest until my release at the jail. I also road in a “paddy wagon” with a motorcycle escort through the streets of DC past the White House on the way to the Anacostia Jail. Many “firsts” for me to write down in MY personal history book. I am surprised to tell you that I wasn’t afraid. I was with more than 60 of my new “best friends” and we were all in it together, for the planet, for our children, and for ourselves.

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Across the country, and around the world, many of our children have already headed back to the classroom. In the United States and Canada, Labor Day – the first Monday of September – is traditionally the last day of summer vacation for many of our children.  As we start gathering our children’s school supplies  and back to school clothing, we begin by searching shelves and closets to see what supplies are left over from last year, what school clothes still fit, and what we may need to replace or find.  Our back to school travels often bring us to stores and malls, as we ready our children for their first day of the new school year.

We want to share a few of our musings, suggestions, and thoughts on staying calm and sane as that first day of school fast approaches.

First, on the product end of things, at ClimateMama we often talk about how important it is to reuse, repurpose and “re-find” some of those back to school items you tossed in your drawer and forgot about ie. items you bought and then didn’t have time to use but may be able to use again. Make sure to take an “inventory” of what you already have on hand before you head online or out to the store for school supplies.

Second, it is really, really important, with school supplies and in fact with any products you buy, to support those companies that are taking a stand for sustainability, that are concerned about a product’s lifecycle and that try to incorporate recycled, content, organic products, and innovative packaging (less is more) into their designs. Let your kids be an example of their, yours, and your family’s efforts at living sustainably and promoting a healthier planet, one recycled pencil, binder, reusable water bottle, and lunch container at a time!

Third, in the USA, as we get closer to the November mid-term elections, electing new leadership and supporting current leaders at the local, regional and national levels who not only talk the talk on climate solutions, but also walk the walk has never been more important. Politics in the USA  seems at its worst rather then at its best. As parents we want to put our best foot forward for our children and set a great example, not a cynical one. Remind your children that voting is our right and our obligation. Do your research well. On climate action and on many related issues dear to our children’s future well being and now, there are clear and definitive choices; seek them out.

Yours,

Climate Mama

P.S. Check out our partner Young Voices for the Planet and consider sharing the link with your child’s teachers. This organization offers curriculum for k-12 that is based on some amazing videos of young people who are empowered and empowering as they take action on climate change.

Posted in Climate Mama News, Do Something Wednesdays, Recycling, Schools and Colleges | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

From time to time, we hear directly from our Climate Mamas and Papas about great ideas and wonderful  examples they have of how they, their family and their community are working on solutions to the climate crisis. We are happy to help  share these ideas and examples with our ClimateMama community, when and how we can. Uma Campbell reached out to us early on this summer to share some great ideas she has on how technology can help us all conserve energy. We are happy to share Uma’s post with you below.

Do you have some awesome ideas, practical advice or great examples of climate solutions that you would like to share with our ClimateMama community? Reach out to us at info (at) ClimateMama.com and let us know! 

How Technology Helps Conserve Energy, by Uma Campbell

While many Americans believe that the federal government is well suited to tackle environmental issues, this doesn’t mean that we can sit back and wait for politicians in Washington to magically come up with ideas or in fact solve the problems that are jeopardizing our environment.

Fortunately, more and more people are looking to reduce, if not altogether eliminate, their carbon footprint. The carbon footprint, of course, refers to the quantity of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds caused because of a person or company’s use of fossil fuels.If you’re interested in safeguarding the environment that — as the old adage goes — you really are just borrowing from your children, there are some relatively simple things you can do. What follows is a look at technology that will help you to conserve energy as a conscientious environmental steward.

 Smart Power Strips

Do you know how much vampire power, which refers to the power being used by your plugged in TVs, computers, and radios even when they’re turned off, is costing you? One source notes that it add between 5% and 10% to your energy bill. One way you can fix this problem is by going with smart power strips. They’re manufactured to determine when a plugged-in device is not actually being used. And when it does notice this, it stops the vampire power draw. The great thing is that if it determines that you’re not watching TV, it not only will stop the TV from drawing power, but also will cut off power to devices connected to your TV, such as your DVD player or video gaming console. While small in size, smart power strips can have a big impact.

LED Lights

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) light bulbs are more energy efficient than their predecessor light bulbs, and they will definitely help you to reduce your energy consumption. This will, in turn, lessen your carbon footprint. LEDs that have the ENERGY STAR rating use between 20% and 25%of the energy of incandescent light bulbs, the former go-to light bulbs for decades. LEDs also last as much as 25 times longer than incandescents. As well, LEDs use between 25% and 30% of the energy of halogen and incandescents light bulbs and they last between eight and 25 longer than. When you consider the differences that LEDs can make over years and decades of use, you can appreciate the potential energy savings.

 ENERGY STAR Appliances

 You can also reduce your energy consumption by using ENERGY STAR-rated dishwashing machines and washing machines. These sorts of appliances are time-savers, and it’s hard to imagine were we would be without such modern conveniences. But you should be mindful about the types of appliances you purchase so that you can reduce your carbon footprint. As well, don’t wash partial loads. Doing so not only wastes water, but also fritters away whatever energy savings you would have achieved if you had run full loads.

 Wireless Energy Monitor

 By installing a wireless energy monitor in your home, you’ll get an accurate picture of just how much energy you’re using. This will give you the data you need to implement the purposeful changes that will reduce your energy consumption. You might want to add to this a dedicated smart energy meter that will specifically keep track of how much electricity and gas you’re using.

 As you can see, there are various things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and to become a better steward of the environment. With the right technology, you can cut down on your energy consumption without necessarily having to sacrifice anything by the way of comfort. The tips recommended above will help you to get on the right track.

Uma Campbell is a green-loving yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys writing about natural living, health, and home design. @Umajcampbell 

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As we join with friends and families at barbecues and picnics this July 4th, 2018 lets make sure that we truly celebrate our independence by remind ourselves and our children what it means to each of us to live and thrive in a democratic, free and inclusive country.

Let’s also remind our children and ourselves that these very freedoms that we have fought so long and hard for, and which we often take for granted, are currently being threatened and undermined on an increasingly regular basis. But, many of us are not just sitting idly by watching or pretending not to see as the current federal administration and some of the world’s largest multinationals try to take away our hard fought for liberties and many of our freedoms. From small encounters in restaurants, parks and other public places to legal actions at the state and local level, what this administration is trying to do WITHOUT our consent is being challenged from on high and on the ground.

From human rights and immigrant rights, to climate action and our children’s health, we are fighting back and saying no, we will not allow this to happen on our watch. Remind your children as we remind ourselves, what is happening is NOT normal and we must not let it seem so in any sense of the word.

Happy Independence Day to all our Climate Mamas and Papas, in solitary and with love,

Your Climate Mama

Flag and Fireworks Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

Posted in Holidays, In The News, Politics, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment