As some folks in the U.S. continue to debate the facts, you've probably looked at your own kids and wondered, a little overwhelmed, "What then? What now? What can I do?"
Lisa Hoyos, who founded Climate Parents, wrote in Grist about the moment climate change really hit her. She was listening to the news on the way
to a birthday party.
had this lightning-bolt fearful sensation … and I was sure that if parents really
understood the depths of the threat to our kids, they’d want to do something,” Hoyos said.
My kids are older and I've been struggling with climate change for decades now. Back in the day, I
did things like using cloth diapers rather than disposable. We recycled. We took family trips took planned experiences in
wild places, so our kids would learn to respect the Earth. We also told them developmentally
appropriate stories about the grown-ups working hard to solve the
challenge of climate change.
While they continue to speak up, our family has kept up the good fight on the home front, too. My sons are teens and wellllll out of diapers, cloth or otherwise. We've moved on to other things that we hope have an impact. Here's what I mean:
Despite close family living in England, we have flown
there only once in the five years since they left the States. Our boys also
plan to use public transportation, rather than cars, as
they get older. Earlier this year, we bought a gently used,
100 percent electric Nissan Leaf.
We’ve bought more efficient lightbulbs and replaced our old
windows with high-efficiency new ones.
We grow some of our own food and buy the rest from local growers. We keep
our meat consumption low and local. Eating a plant-based diet, in addition to avoiding flying, buying green energy and driving electric cars (or none at all) are the top 4 things we can all do that have the greatest immediate impact.
As I wrote before, we stopped at two kids. But apparently, we could have done even better and stopped at one (not reversing the decision!). Still, as you're planning your families, know that one less child skyrockets
beneficial personal impact on carbon emissions. (But the decision is as complex as it is personal.)
On a global scale, family planning is key, as it is a step toward restoring justice and
education to women. Educated women have fewer kids, which makes a significant impact on solving climate change.
Holding corporations accountable
I'm also careful not to think what we do is "enough" or even the main focus of our efforts, in the larger scope of climate change. Corporate malfeasance, more than anything, is what has gotten us so close to the brink.
Taking action is not only an antidote to worry, it is the way forward to
solutions. So, even though I’ve spent my career as a science writer confronting
the most nightmarish stuff about climate change, the truth is, I lay awake
tossing and turning a little less
often these days.
That’s because parents concerned about their kids’ futures
are starting to join with powerhouse organizations dedicated to pushing our
corporate and social systems towards a sustainable, healthy, secure climate
though I have a healthy—and sometimes ferocious—dose of justified
mama bear concern about my kids’ climate future, I also have hope,
confidence and faith in human beings: our profound ingenuity, creativity and compassion, and our ability to rise together to effect change for the greater
As Kelsey Wirth, mother of two who and founder of Mothers Out Front said over
at Grist, “Having a man who denies climate
change science in the White House poses a grave threat to all we hold dear … [but]
we have the most potent counter to this: a growing movement of mothers who will
stop at nothing to protect their kids.”
Rachel Clark is a science and environment writer, and author of the YA novel "The Blackfish Prophecy, " Fawkes Press, 2016. She's also the author of the Psychology Today blog Mothering Nature. You can follow her on Twitter @MotherngNature