The environment is under attack. Everyday we read more about how the new leaders in Washington want to dismantle environmental protections. They dismiss scientific data presented by a huge majority of experts on issues like climate change, and they want to roll back decades of progress created to protect us and our children from harmful chemicals in water, air, and the food we eat.
Since the election, I have been doing everything I possibly can to help ensure that my children have a safe, clean environment for the many years ahead in their lives. The good news about this election is that it reinvigorated my soul to go back to my roots of environmental activism. I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental policy and spent the beginning of my career (before children) working on environmental communications for the Environmental Protection Agency, National Academies, Union of Concerned Scientists, and other key organizations.
But how can I get back to this work as a mom? I feel an incredible need to be part of the effort to resist these devastating steps in the wrong direction that the President and his partners are taking. Yes, it is challenging to get involved in advocacy while doing my writing work and raising my children.
However, I realized that there is no option here. Part of being a great mom to my children is to protect them from harm’s way. I spend my days trying to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. This is no different. It is my duty to protect our natural environment because without that simple basic human need and right, my children’s future–all of our children’s future–is bleak.
Here are some ways that you can make a difference as a mom to help protect the environment in these trying times:
If there’s one lesson we learned from this election it’s that every vote counts, and sitting out an election is giving up your right to participate in our country’s decisions. Can you believe that a third of eligible voters did not vote in November? You can no longer assume that someone else will speak up for what you care about. Voting is the first step to making sure that your voice is heard. It is so simple, yet so many people use excuse after excuse to not participate in Democracy. In fact, 15 million people who consider themselves environmentalists have stayed at home on Election Day year after year.
As someone who cares about the future of our planet, you can make a difference by committing to vote in every election. And I am not just talking about Presidential elections. Critical environmental decisions are being made at every level of government, from the school board, to the mayor’s office, to state legislatures, to Congress in Washington.
Please commit to being a consistent environmental voter by signing the Environmental Voter Project pledge. They will send you reminders when an election is coming up. No more excuses!
One more tip: before you vote, check out the League of Conservation Voters Scorecard to determine which elected officials are most effectively working to protect our natural environment.
The day after the inauguration, 2.6 million people marched in hundreds of Women’s March events around the world to express their concerns about the new President’s comments and policies, and to show solidarity with their friends and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families. I had a very meaningful day at the march in Miami. The march really kicked off a new time in history, calling on citizens to gather and speak up for what they believe in to ensure progress in America and beyond.
Following this momentum, two marches focusing on the environment and science in general are coming up. Both are amazing opportunities for you to get involved with your children. It is the perfect way for your children to learn about science and democracy, while you spend time together as a family.
The March for Science is taking place on Earth Day on April 22nd all over the world. This event is a celebration of science. It’s not about scientists or politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in all of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. Find a march in your community.
The People’s Climate March will be held on April 29th. It is organized by the Peoples Climate Movement, a project made up of dozens of organizations working together to solve the climate crisis. You can join the march in DC or find one in your community.
Make Your Own Science Quilt. To prepare for the marches, you have to check out an incredible project led by a woman in Arizona. Jane Brown ([email protected]), a world-renowned adoption therapist and creator of Adoption Playshops!, is making Science Quilts that students of any age can carry in their local Science or Climate March. Inspired by the Aids Memorial Quilt Project years ago in Washington, D.C., she decided that this was a great way to get kids involved in and excited about the marches. The quilts are easy, quick, and inexpensive to make. They do not require sewing skills, although its nicer to finish the edges by sewing a binding around them. Here are the steps:
- Draw or write with crayons on 7.5 inch squares of fusible interfacing (can be found at any fabric store). The final product will have 12 squares (4 down, 3 across) on each quilt. The theme is SCIENCE.
- Once the students have created their quilt square, go over their drawings with fabric paint to make their squares really pop.
- The quilt squares are applied to a colorful, cotton fabric background with spray-on permanent adhesive (find this at fabric or hardware stores). Put plenty of paper or plastic on your work surface under the squares to protect it.
- Adhere the fabric background to pre-quilted fabric using the spray-on adhesive OR you can layer muslin, batting, and the colorful fabric and the squares. If you layer, then you will need to tie the three layers by taking a stitch through all layers with strands of embroidery thread and tying the ends (which will show the knot and the thread ends on top of the quilt).
- Add 4 ribbon loops to the top of the quilt so that a dowel can be inserted through them to hang or carry the Science Quilt.
Making calls and writing to our government leaders has quickly become the norm for so many Americans. There is a fabulous project going on in advance of Earth Day that you can do with your children. Kids 4 Planet Earth One Million Letters is an initiative challenging kids across the United States to write 1 million letters or postcards to the President about their concerns regarding about climate change and the health of the planet.
In order to avoid wasting paper, please create your own recycled postcards using this awesome tutorial. Get creative with this project and invite some friends over for a policy action play date. You will be teaching your kids about civic responsibility and the importance of science, and get their creative juices flowing.
Please mail your letter or postcard by April 22nd to:
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
We moms love to get together in groups. From play dates to mom’s nights out, we crave being around like-minded women to laugh, share stories, and get advice. Join a group of moms already fighting for our environment. Here are some amazing groups to check out and to offer your skills and passion:
Moms Clean Air Force: This is a community of a million moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health. They harness the strength of mother love to fight back against polluters. Their goal is to make it easy and fast for busy parents to make their voices heard, even while caring for their kids. They do this by providing members with reliable information and solutions through online resources, articles, action tools, and on-the-ground events.
Moms Rising: With more than a million members, this group takes on the most critical issues facing women, mothers, and families like ensuring a toxins-free environment. They educate the public and mobilize massive grassroots actions to bring the voices and real world experiences of women and mothers straight to our local, state, and nation’s leaders.
Mothers Out Front: This group consists of mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers coming together to make climate change an issue that our leaders can no longer ignore. They are building a powerful grassroots movement to ensure a swift, complete, and just transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean and renewable energy. Many of their activities involve person-to-person interaction at house parties, in coffee houses, on playgrounds, at schools, and in front of our state houses. They believe that together, we can create a healthy climate today and a livable future for all children.
Climate Mama: This organization focuses on education, advocacy, and guiding members on how to choose sustainable products and services to address climate change effectively. They help explain what the politicians and scientists are saying so that you can understand the issues and know how to take action.
As moms, we buy a lot of stuff for our family everyday. We can use the power of our pocketbook to impact the economy and to push for more eco-friendly products in the marketplace. The ideas for changing your purchasing habits are endless. Here are a few ideas to get started on today:
- Bring home locally grown and organic food from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Your children will love these healthy organic breakfast ideas that you can make at home.
- Choose eco-friendly products for your kids–like toys, clothes, feeding products, skincare, and toiletries–that are natural or organic and do not contain harmful chemicals. A must-have resource when deciding which products to buy is Environmental Working Group’s Consumer Guide.
- Make your family car an electric car. One of the areas I am most passionate about when it comes to the environment is energy-efficient vehicles. I drive around town in a Chevrolet Volt. I am on my second Volt now, and love it even more than the first model we bought three years ago. Electric cars are becoming more popular, with sales jumping by three times between 2012 and 2016. Electric cars are also proving that they are the best way to get around town because you are reducing your carbon imprint and saving money at the same time. Plus, I never have to go to the gas station because I just charge the car in my garage every night. It is so much safer, more convenient, and quieter than those gas guzzling options. Next time you are due for a new family car, go electric!
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Spread the word by sharing these resources with your friends. The more Eco-Moms we have, the more success we will have in protecting the environment for our precious children.
What are you doing to be an Eco-Mom?