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.

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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

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

In what is perceived as a shocking move by many town managers throughout the United States (and in other countries around the world), China recently announced it will no longer be taking the world’s recyclables. Local governments and recycling haulers are scrambling as they piece together these new recycling rules and what it means for local recycling and household collections. Should we be surprised? Of course not. This should be a clear wake up call for us all. What should have been surprising and disturbing in the first place is that we have slowly been moving all our “garbage” off shore.

As our parents taught us when we were young, we teach our children to “clean up our mess.” Yet, as a nation we seem to be fine if companies and individuals make messes, as long as these messes are kept out of sight. China is forcing us to rip off the blindfolds we have been wearing; it’s clearly time.

In a similar way to our recyclables, which have been hiding in plain sight, human made greenhouse gas pollution has been wreaking havoc on our planet and we need to urgently slow down and stop this pollution.  As we Climate Mamas and Papas know, this pollution is created in large part by the burning, production and transportation of fossil fuels.  As these gases are not visible to us,  many people don’t fully realize or appreciate the magnitude of the pollution problem we have created. We are only beginning to come to terms with the ramifications and what this pollution means for the survival of our species and others species on our planet at well. Our friends and colleagues at Citizens Climate Lobby however, fully realize this and they have made it their mission to make polluters pay.  Each year they hold an annual meeting in Washington DC and use this occasion to meet with and explain these facts to our legislators.

Below, is a June 15, 2018 post written by dear friend and Climate Reality leader Lew Blaustein, Lew shares how “people power” can be the driving force in helping create rules that will make polluters pay. You can find Lew’s post in it’s entirety on Green Sports Blog. 

Climate Change Fight Is a Marathon Citizens’ Climate Lobby Aims to Win

By Lew Blaustein

I had the good fortune to spend Monday and Tuesday (June 11 & 12, 2018) in Washington D.C. among an amazing group of 1,400 volunteers at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby National Conference. The 10-year old grassroots organization exists “to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.

Though the group is very diverse — volunteers come from all corners of the United States, there are high schoolers and octogenarians, lefties and conservatives (a growing number, in fact) — CCLers have three things in common.

 

We…  

  1. Are passionate about solving the climate crisis,
  2. Believe in CCL’s market-based Carbon Fee & Dividend legislative proposal that would place a price on carbon and that would share the dividends equally with every household in the country. This would grow the economy, in particular the lower and middle classes, and clean energy technologies would scale at the pace needed to avert the worst effects of climate change.
  3. Know that getting to meaningful climate solutions is a marathon and we are in the race until it is won.

Are we closer to the start or the finish of the climate change marathon? No one really knows. But, Tuesday’s lobby-thon — CCLers met with almost each of the 535 House and Senate offices — showed that Citizens’ Climate Lobby definitely picked up the pace.

 For those of us engaged in the climate change fight in the United States, it is very easy to get dispirited.

  • We have a climate change denier in the White House.
  • Congress is controlled by the only major political party in the world — at least as far as I know — which casts significant doubt on the veracity of climate change.
  • Daily political discourse is much, much, much more focused on Russia, Stormy Daniels, witch hunts, Robert Mueller, etc., etc., etc.
  • Even the environment, when it gets covered, centers on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many scandals, rather than the virulently anti-climate policies he, his boss, and their Administration are enacting.

All of this is happening as the climate change news becomes more dire. A recent Washington Post,  headline blared: “Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.” If you are reading this, you know there are a legion of such stories out there.

So it is understandable that many people would rather do something — anything— else other than get and stay involved with climate change activism.

These people need to meet Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers.

Are CCLers naive? Just the opposite.

CCLers know that we humans have put our climate in critical condition and that we need to quickly change the course we are on, energy production- and usage-wise.

We also know that the solutions that exist now (wind, solar, efficiency, storage, etc.) can get us where we need to go in time to avert the worst effects of climate change, if we have the political will.

As far as CCL is concerned, building that political will to critical mass means finding a legislative solution in Congress.

(To read the post in it’s entirety, please go to GreenSports Blog)

 Lew Blaustein writes at the intersection of sustainability and sports at theGreenSportsBlog. He is president of Lewis Brand Solutions, focusing on green sponsorship and media, matching greening brands with green properties. 

Posted in Climate Mama News, In The News, Plastics & Plastic Free, Politics, Recycling, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me and My Dad

On a personal note, this will be my third Father’s Day without my Dad. Father’s Day would forever take on a new meaning for me after September 2015, when my father’s  brutal fight with metastatic throat cancer finally ended. I have shared my thoughts  on ClimateMama and in other online communities on the intersectionality of struggling with climate change and fighting metastatic cancer, you can read them at your leisure. I just want to  take this moment, in our 2018 Father’s Day post, to share my thanks to my dad who was my biggest champion, my hero and my fiercest supported. My dad constantly cheered me on as I travelled along my journey of discovery, exploration and learning and as my climate education evolved.

Living in Alberta, Canada (where I grew up and where my father spent his entire life) everyone seems connected in one way or another to the oil and gas industry and as such, the immediacy of the climate crisis often get’s discounted or pushed aside. It’s not that the reality gets challenged, although sometimes it does, its more that the impacts are less understood and I think feel less direct, therefore actions to address the causes seem less important. During the last 5 years of my fathers life, well into his seventies, my “forever entrepreneur dad” bought a company that he resurrected and transformed into one that would make a “better and safer coating” for pipelines, including those connected to the oil sands.

Throughout his journey, my dad often told me, in not always the most direct ways, how much I was teaching him. He encouraged me in my work, proudly told others about my exploits and made me feel powerful and loved. He regularly reminded me, when I was feeling down, that what I was devoting my life to is so very important. He listened and he learned, and I learned along the way too. I too learned how complicated it can be  to act on climate, even when one understands the urgency and the need. Connecting the dots is often blurred and can be difficult, even with your own guide. I have become more cognizant of this fact over the years and regularly look for ways to help people look for and make connections.

At ClimateMama we regularly share stories about YOU – our Climate Papas and Mamas –  and find ways whenever we can to champion your stories and exploits and help you and others see and feel supported, understood and appreciated! This Father’s Day, we wanted to send out a special welcome to Ben Block, founder of Climate Dads, a new “kid on the block” in the climate parent space.

We were introduced to Ben and Climate Dads recently by our dear friends and partners at Dear Tomorrow. In honor of Father’s Day, they are collecting stories from fathers around the country. There have been many letters shared already, and the collections continue well past Fathers Day;  consider sharing your own letter and  suggesting to one of your special Climate Papas to share one of his own too. There are many heartfelt and powerful letters shared, please take some time to read them. One in particular that touched us deeply was written by our friend and Climate Reality colleague Jim Poyser, founder of Earth Charter Indiana. Jim wrote a letter to his grand-daughter Ezmae that included the following message:

“I will commit to not giving up, not going dark, not being overtaken by the demons of dread and regret. Because of you. Because of you I will continue to spend all my time on solutions. Because of you I will smile through this work, and model your joyful, hilarious nature in that work, so that others may feel that joy, that hopefulness, that sense of possibility.”  Jim Poyser,  Fathers Day 2018.

We will be guided by your strong words Jim… “Because of You”..and we will not give up.  Our children deserve our full support as we feel our way forward through the darkness, and to the light on the other side.

Special Father’s Day wishes to  Jim and to Ben, and of course to all our amazing Climate Papas!

 

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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June 8th is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better world.

The oceans bring us joy, bountiful food, rest, relaxation, exhilaration, harmony and hope.

Yet,  scientists tell us that our oceans are reaching their capacity as “carbon sinks.” They are working overtime to absorb the greenhouse gases that we are creating, our oceans are heating up and becoming more acidic, threatening the health of all living things….In fact, the science is telling us we’re committed to losing about 90 percent of the remaining coral reefs due to impacts of climate change, and the threats of pollution and overfishing are still on the rise. National Geographic has some great resources on coral reefs and what is being done to protect them now that we clearly know how much they are under threat.

Grab the kids in your life, and celebrate the oceans. Check out some of the resources at the World Oceans Day site as well as those at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Take some time to talk about the Paris Climate Agreement and the historic nature of the commitments made  by all governments of the world  to acknowledge and to begin in earnest to repair the damages that we are inflicting on our Mother Earth. Discuss as well, the US administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and the fact that this decision is not the will nor the wishes of the majority of the American people. Share the WeAreStillin campaign with them. Together we are building climate hope.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

A version of this post was first published June 8, 2017

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In 1972, the United Nations designated June 5th as World Environment Day. The early 1970’s were in many ways, the birth of our modern day environmental movement. We had the first Earth Day in 1970 and in the United States, under President Richard Nixon, the Environmental Protection Agency was established, as was the first federal clean air and clean water act. There was no ambiguity, no party divide, the environment and all it stood for was worth protecting.

According to the United Nations: “The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.” As Climate Mamas and Papas, we know that today, 46 years after the first World Environment Day, our environment and by extension our species remain under extreme threat.  In fact we have reached a point where we humans are the primary forcing agents on our natural world and scientists are telling us we have entered the Anthropocene, the age of man. As such, we also know that many people feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of this existential threat.

World Environment Day is an opportunity to bring back power,  to educate and to inform on ways and ideas for individual and collective action. Each year, the United Nations chooses a theme and this year’s World Environment Day’s theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution.”

Global Plastic Pollution by the Numbers (United Nations data):

  • Up to 5 trillion plastic bags used each year
  • 13 million tons of plastic leak into the ocean each year
  • 17 million barrels of oil used on plastic production each year
  • 1 million plastic bottles bought every minute
  • 100,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year
  • 100 years for plastic to degrade in the environment
  • 90% of bottled water found to contain plastic particles
  • 83% of tap water found to contain plastic particles
  • 50% of consumer plastics are single use
  • 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic

These statistics are sobering and staggering, so what can we do? We each need to take steps to move away from single use items, and to move forward to a circular economy, where “everything old is new again.” We all love games, so let’s start today and make  World Environment Day this year, a chance to share a game with a real world, critically important goal: #beatplasticpolution.

The game is “Tag” and the steps are easy.

1. Choose which type of single-use plastic you’re ready to give up.

2. Take a selfie (photo or video) with a reusable alternative that your ready to embrace.

3. Share your selfie on social media with #beatplasticpolution and #worldenvironmentday

  4. Tag three of your friends to challenge them to do the same within 24 hours.  Thanks for helping launch the global movement!

Here’s what were now using at  ClimateMama, starting today.  TAG, you are it!

On a community level, take a look around your school or place of business; are there single use plastic items that seem to be part of “life” at your school or office? Talk about it with your friends, colleagues and peers. Come up with a plan and get rid of those straws, bags or plastic dishes, cups and utensils. YOU can make this happen.

Also, consider taking your plan one step further; this is a longer term process and can take months. YOU can do it! Help your town or city eliminate straws, plastic single use bags or styrofoam. There are many great examples of cities doing just this,  from small cities like Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, to large cities like Vancouver, Canada, it can be done.

Nationally and globally too, where there is a will there is a way.  Many countries have already taken important steps in this direction. Check out the United Nations World Environment Day website to find  wonderful stories from around the world.

  • Plastic bag bans are already in place in more than nearly 100 countries; proving just how powerful direct government action on plastics can be.
  • Governments must lead, enacting strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics.
  • The private sector must innovate, adopting business models that reduce the downstream impact of their products.
  • Citizens must act as both consumers and informed citizens, demanding sustainable products and embracing sensible consumption habits in their own lives.

Here are three great organizations we have identified (the first two of whom are our partners!) that have wonderful resources to peruse and use.  We highly recommend you look at these resources and explore ideas and options with the kids in your life:

  1. Young Voices for the Planet: Two videos in particular, The Last Straw and Team Marine share powerful stories of kids banning plastic straws and plastic bags and raising awareness of why these actions are so important to us all.
  2. Plastic Pollution Coalition: a growing global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways and oceans, and the environment. Find tools you can use in your community; no need to “reinvent the wheel.”
  3. National Geographic’s multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Check out National Geographic Kids too. 

Check out some of the suggestions above, and don’t forget to peruse our past suggestions from World Environment Day; there are so many things you can do to celebrate our planet and so many ways to protect and sustain her. Bring your neighbors together; consider organizing an event to share information about ways to reduce single use items. Hold a fundraiser for your event or for your local environmental organization or green team. There are many free tools available on line that can help.

Let us know what you are doing so we can share it with our Climate Mama community!

Together we are so powerful.

Yours,

 

ClimateMama

Posted in Earth Day is Every Day, Games & Toys, Lifestyle & Fun, Oceans & Water, Plastics & Plastic Free, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Mother’s Day, we want to send a big shout out and sincere thank you to OUR Mother, Mother Earth, for the amazing, inspirational and extraordinary world she has created for us. We also want to send a heartfelt thanks to all our Climate Mamas who are watching, speaking truth to power and sharing stories as they unfold, as we all bear witness to climate change.

On the occasion of my wedding, one of my dearest friends traveled a long, long way so she could be with us. She told me: “I am here to be your witness to this milestone moment in your life.” My friend was also with me at the birth of both of my children; again to bear witness to these special moments in my life. We are all bearing witness to what is happening to OUR Mother;  our eyes are wide open, in spite of the harsh and painful glare.

As Climate Mamas we are watching, sharing our stories and bearing witness to climate change around us. Our Mother Earth is screaming in so many, many ways, crying out for us to see what is happening to her, even  as she works overtime to counter act what we are doing to harm her.

We are living the Anthropocene, the epoch that is the age of man. Humans are the primary forcing agents on our planet. We are more powerful than volcanos and the sun; we – primarily through the burning of fossil fuels – can and are changing the ecosystem and web of life which has been so carefully crafted by our Mother Earth.

These changes to our planet are already threatening us, and undermining a safe future for our children. We are living climate change. While many people seem frozen, unable to accept the reality we face, we know that our Climate Mamas are doing just the opposite, jumping in with both feet.

On this Mother’s Day we wish for each of our Climate Mamas time to be with OUR mother, Mother Earth. Go for a walk or a hike. Put your toes in the ocean or in a stream. Lie down in the sand or in tall grasses; feel and see Mother Earth. She can and will regenerate quickly; if we would only give her the chance.

Happy Mothers Day with love,

 

Climate Mama

Posted in Climate Mamas & Papas, Holidays | Tagged , , | Leave a comment