I can picture my daughters as college students, enthusiastically joining me to rally for protecting the climate at our nation's capital city. That would be several years from now. In the meantime, my young girls need me here at home cooking their meals, helping with homework and tucking them into bed at night. Trouble is, protecting our climate can't wait several years. Actions or inactions today influence this young generation's very survival at some point in the future.
As I hear about the nation's largest every climate rally #ForwardOnClimate converging in Washington, DC this Sunday, February 17, I know I can't be there among the tens of thousands who will visibly carry this message to the National Mall. So, I asked an experienced climate advocate, policy analyst and economist Harriet Shugarman, for some advice on what I can do. Shugarman founded the Climate Mama website that relates climate change issues to every busy parent out there. She graciously responded with answers and easy-to-use-resources to help you and me get connected to this historic moment, even from our kitchens.
Q: Why should every parent consider being an activist on climate change?
A: As alarmist as it may sound, our future, and the future of our children, depends on it. We assume and hope that “someone” has our best interests at heart. Someone like our mayor, county executive, state senator, congressperson or President.
I do believe that in most instances, our elected officials want to do what is best for their communities. But multinational companies with vast sums of money at their disposal are “skewing the facts and promote their own reality,” minimizing and downplaying the facts on climate change. Our planet is "out of balance, and has a fever" and it can’t heal itself when we continue to create an environment that perpetuates its disease.
98% of scientists the world over tell us climate change is here, it’s happening now, humans are causing our climate to change in dangerous ways and this is occurring in large part because of our burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal and GAS).
We are all witnesses and have our own stories from our own neighborhoods of drought, floods, heat waves, super storms and sea level rise.
Scientists also tell us that climate change is solvable, we can avert the worst scenarios and live with the chronic condition we have created, maybe even make it better, but we need to act now.
Q: Why do the vast numbers of people, expected in the tens of thousands on the National Mall February 17, matter in the climate struggle?
A: The voices of parents and children need to be heard loudly and clearly at every level of government. International and national media will be covering this event. We are “a force to be reckoned with” and we need to be seen and heard in numbers.
We are the voters, we are the consumers, we are the people of the United States of America. Climate change is THE defining issue of our time, and we need to demand that our country, the media and our politicians see and hear that we care and we are demanding action.
Fighting Climate Change MUST be president Obama’s legacy and if politicians choose to be obstructionist and get in the way, they need to know they not only don’t have our support, but we will go around them to solve this crisis.
Q: If other responsibilities keep us closer to home, how can we still support this effort?
A: You can go to the sign on page for the Rally and start a local action in solidarity with the DC rally. Sign up to make calls to tell others about the rally. You can do this at anytime that works with your and your family’s schedule. If these options aren’t possible, make sure you and your family get educated on the facts and the reality of climate change. Tell people about the rally, about why this is so important to so many, help create a buzz. And in the long term, as you learn more, help others get educated as well.
Why are tens of thousands of people giving up their holiday weekend to take a long bus ride to Washington DC? WE CARE and we want our voices heard. Go to sites like ClimateMama and learn why we all need to be activists – at big events and in small local gathering – PTA meetings, the lacrosse field, family dinners and in Washington, DC. Stand up to denial when you are faced with it. We all need to be brave and bold on this one. Climate change is real, it's now, it’s happening and we are causing it, this is REALITY, ‘nuf said.
*Watch for Shugarman's latest article she posts this week for the Sierra Club, one of #ForwardOnClimate's major organizers. And listen to what the parents and kids in this new video think about climate change.