Moms on Climate - Our Time is Now
When I learned that Mom’s Rising was hosting a teleconference and twitter chat with the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, I was thrilled; so thrilled, in fact, that I tweeted the following: “#MomsonClimate We see this national call as an important turning point for climate sanity!” The tide is finally turning and we parents are mobilizing on climate change -- the issue of all issues.
I’ve been thinking about the power of moms in relationship to climate for a long time. In fact, way back in 2006, I wrote an essay called, “Now playing in my town – Climate Change – a Mom’s Review.” In 2006 George W. Bush was in the White House, “Ice Age” was in the movie theaters, and my two children were in elementary school. The essay was an attempt to voice my growing concerns about the extreme weather we were already beginning to experience. At the time, however, no mainstream outlets seemed interested in hearing a mom’s voice on climate.
I continued to channel my energy into the food movement, my children grew into promising teens, and the forgotten essay gathered virtual dust on a server somewhere. Learning about this national moms on climate conversation prompted me to find and re-read the unpublished essay. I was surprised by how much of what I wrote more than seven years ago continues to be true and have highlighted a few passages that could have just as easily been written in 2013:
Suddenly I am reading and hearing about climate change everywhere. (only more so in 2013!)
…It is tragically clear: climate change is the granddaddy of them all. It will eclipse and compound every other environmental and social problem. The preview brought to us by Hurricane Katrina illustrated this point with perfect clarity. (and so many other incidents since then, including, but not limited to, Joplin, Missouri, Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan).
All moms agonize over our children’s well-being and our choices (I’ll confess to spending a ridiculous number of hours thinking about the ‘right’ middle school). But, as mothers we need to look beyond the right school, sports team, summer camp, college and our individual family situations to our children’s global future. (I’ll confess to still thinking too much about school - only now its college!)
Imagine, if you will, what their adult reality might look like if we don’t begin mobilizing en masse to stabilize the wobbly climate. (Not mobilizing is not an option!)
Face facts, the federal government has abdicated leadership on this issue. (still largely true beyond the Executive Branch)
Today’s moms have a tremendous reservoir of power as citizens and consumers. We can begin by evaluating the environmental cost of our daily purchases and transportation choices. We all need to slow down and set aside short-term convenience for long-term conviction. (Organizations like MomsRising have helped find our voices and recognize how much power we have!)
We need to spend at least as much time lobbying elected officials as we do organizing the school auction. (Underlining this one on my do-to list!)
… We in America are the world’s privileged ones. As we know, with great privilege comes great responsibility. (Situation in the Philippines only underscores this one)
And, the last sentence I wrote oh so long ago is the one that still rings the most hopeful of all:
Once mobilized, mothers could collectively begin to chart a saner course for the climate.
Today’s national conversation around the health of our kids and our planet's climate was powerful. We are on our way forward and we won’t be stopped.