The Mothers of All Battles: How the Fight Against Climate Change is Being Led by Moms Across America
With gratitude to The Elders for giving a spotlight to the mothers' voice as we confront climate change.
You can join us for #RiseForClimate here:
More ways to get involved - https://www.mothersoutfront.org/rise_with_mothers_out_front
The news on the climate grows bleaker every day. In the United States, the current administration not only denies human-caused climate change, it actively works to roll back any progress made on environmental standards or climate change policy implemented in the past few decades.
Five short years ago, I founded Mothers Out Front with a handful of other mothers in the Boston area. We came together out of a deep fear of what the future held for our children in the face of climate change and a shared determination to do something about it. Today, we are a strong and growing movement of more than 19,000 mothers and other allies, with teams in nine states. It is clear that we must step up to fill the leadership void left by elected officials at the highest levels of our government—and that the opportunity to effect change lies at the state and local levels.
Why are Mothers Out Front members stepping up to protect all children from accelerating climate change? Because they feel at a cellular level the special vulnerability of the young to the emerging threats from climate change:
- The spread of tropical diseases caused by insect range expansion
- Air and water quality degradation
- More intense and frequent natural disasters
- Soaring heat, widespread drought, and more frequent wildfires
- Swamping of coastal areas caused by rising sea levels
- Agricultural failures
- Disruptions due to geopolitical conflicts and increased population migration
What mothers have known for years pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics now confirm. The journal, Pediatrics, citing several studies on climate change and children’s health, concludes: “Climate change will disproportionately affect children and the poor…” CNN, in reviewing this article, states that “Children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease related to climate change…”
There’s Sierra Club, 350.org, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Earth Justice and many other worthy organizations fighting to slow climate change. They all seek to decrease our dependence on carbon fuels whose burning releases powerful greenhouse gases. So why join Mothers Out Front as a member and volunteer?
I pondered this question the other day and came up with some answers for myself.
If I were looking at Mothers Out Front from the outside, this is what I would see...
- Mothers, grandmothers, and other nurturers with a laser focus on getting real things done on the ground in communities and states to slow climate change.
- A highly visible, high-impact presence at key legislative events, community meetings, industry events, and climate demonstrations.
- A record of successes exerting irresistible pressure on leaders and entities that stand in the way of efforts and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- A strong sense of the rightness of the cause and a willingness to work hard for it without resorting to hostile, belittling treatment of adversaries.
- A powerful and compelling brand: “Here comes Mothers Out Front in their black t-shirts, so pay attention and do something!”
- An aura of hope, power, and confidence that mothers will not be denied in their work to protect the health of children and communities by slowing climate change.
Anne Goodwin (Massachusetts Leadership Team) gave this Keynote for the Mothers Out Front Assembly 2018 on January 27th.
Hello, I’m Anne Goodwin. I serve on the Massachusetts Leadership Team for Mothers Out Front. I joined Mothers Out Front in 2012 and was part of the Arlington team before joining the Leadership team 2 years ago. This was when my only child was in high school, and I saw the empty nest ahead of me, with an opportunity to get more involved in something meaningful. I was so pained and afraid of what was happening to our Earth, I could barely look. But when I found Mothers Out Front, I felt I could speak from my heart as a mother, and make connections with other passionate women to create a livable future for all our kids. Mothers Out Front has given me support, and challenged me to have courage, and hope.
So today I'm going to talk about why Mothers Out Front makes me so hopeful.
Thank you to Mother Out Front Jean Cummings for sharing this blog post with us!
As members of Mothers Out Front we are keenly interested in the progress made by climate activists both within our organization and outside of it. And no group is a more natural ally of mothers and grandmothers than youth.
Interestingly, young people have brought us to a critical juncture in the history of climate legal action in the U.S. Twenty-one children and youth have been fighting in the courts since 2011 to force the federal government to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a key contributor to global warming.
Photo Credit: Clayton Aldern/Grist
On January 11, 2017 the Boston Globe published an editorial entitled Mass. turned to oil and coal during the cold snap. Here’s what went wrong, on January 11, 2018, questioning whether a strategy of moving away from "natural" gas is the right strategy.
Please see our response below, written by Mothers Out Front volunteer leaders Eugenia Gibbons and Ellen Nelson van Bever.
Predictably, the gas proponents are leveraging last week’s “bomb cyclone” and the coldest 10 day stretch in 100 years to renew their push for new pipelines. Building permanent pipelines to solve an occasional challenge is a shortsighted fool’s errand benefitting the gas industry, only. The Globe, in its January 11 editorial, has sided with fossil fuel interests, perpetuating the myth that gas is a clean fuel and that more of it is needed to power the renewable energy transition.
In the same week that our national monuments in Utah have been opened up to the risk of oil and gas drilling, fires blaze across Southern California. The impacts of our dependence on fossil fuels can be felt on an all too regular basis. The fire season in the West has become more intense and prolonged. The changes in our climate contribute to the heightened extremes in the weather. Powerful storms, severe drought, and wildfires will continue and, unless we act, they will get worse.
Mothers Out Front offers our support and concern to the families disrupted by these destructive flames. Many residents received only 30 minutes of warning to pack up any belongings they could carry, and evacuate, uncertain of what will remain when they return. These fires disrupt the lives of many, even those not directly in their path. Students from more than 300 schools had to stay home because of the thick gray smoke that hangs in the air, making breathing difficult and causing fear and anxiety all around.
Mothers Out Front works everyday for a more livable climate for all children. We act with urgency because we know that climate change is a critical and encompassing challenge of our time. If you feel compelled to act in the face of climate change we invite you to join us to continue this vital work.
BOSTON- Mothers Out Front announced the receipt this week of a $1M gift from the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation to support general operations and program expansion. This transformational gift will have significant, lasting effects on the organization, enabling it to make key foundational investments in staff, leadership capacity, systems and infrastructure.
“My wife Lulie and I and our family are extremely impressed with what Mothers Out Front is accomplishing,” said Gordon Gund. “We are pleased to make this additional gift to help Mothers Out Front develop an organization that can leverage its unique creativity, entrepreneurship, and energy to an even greater extent.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced repeal of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions by 50% of 2005 levels by 2030. We know this is wrong for our family’s health today and for a livable climate for our children tomorrow.
It is even more difficult to accept this decision when fires are destroying towns in the West and powerful hurricanes are drowning communities from Texas to Puerto Rico. High carbon emissions are transporting us toward increased drought, accelerating our sea level rise, and presenting us with extremities of weather.
Once again we face the unimaginable. The footage of the damage in Puerto Rico easily conjures comparisons to post-apocalyptic fantasy. Maria ravaged the island upending the lives of its children and leaving their mothers desperate to provide what so many of us take for granted- water, electricity and food.
The devastation escalates the urgency of our work. Without question, the wreckage left behind by Harvey, Irma and Maria are symptoms of our changing climate. Our call to push decision makers to a swift, complete, and just transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean and renewable energy is more vital than ever.