Like a lego set with pieces missing, annual United Nations climate conferences and meetings too often seem like projects that will never be completed with their purposes and goals beyond our imaginations. In fact, COP23 (The 23rd Conference of the Parties) may not even be in your lexicon, never mind on your radar. If you live in the United States –  United Nations negotiations on climate change seem to be sliding ever further away from the limelight, even as the need to have climate solutions front and center has never been more important.

For our Climate Mamas and Papas who ARE wondering what is happening in Bonn, Germany, where countries from around the world (including the USA) are attending the 23rd Conference of the Parties from November 6-17th,  this post is a quick summary of what is on the table, as well as a reminder of where we need to go.

United Nations

Each COP has a rotating presidency and COP23 is chaired by the Prime Minister of Fiji, a small island developing state on the front lines of climate change. As background and according to COP23 President’s website: “COP23 is the informal name for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change. Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, and nearly all of the world’s nations—a total of 195—have now signed on. Each year the parties to the agreement convene to assess progress in implementing the convention and, more broadly, dealing with climate change. The first Conference of the Parties was held in Berlin in 1995. In 1997, the participants established the Kyoto Protocol, which included legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Making a long story short, all agreements made under the Kyoto Protocol end in 2020. With the adoption of the Paris Climate Accords in 2015, a new set of agreements were put in place, taking over and superseding those made in Kyoto. Continue reading

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We are thrilled to share with you the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) launch of Women Speak: Stories, Case Studies And Solutions From The Frontlines Of Climate Change. This WECAN project is a web-based research database and initiative is collecting and sharing stories by and about women from around the world; women who are leading struggles and solutions for climate justice under a variety of cross-sectional themes.

The goal of this innovative Women Speak is to create an accessible and ever-growing source of information, research and multimedia storytelling for frontline Earth defenders, policymakers, journalists, activists, educators, students, and all those seeking to understand and demonstrate why and how women are paramount to just action on climate change, and the defense and protection of the web of life itself.

 WECAN, helps us understand that “worldwide, when women are empowered, there are immense benefits to entire communities and societies overall.  Sustainable and local economies grow , populations stabilize, and children’s health and education improve – all of which are foundations for a sustainable path forward. In many countries, women get out the vote and vote more often, and lead on environmental and social legislation when elected to public office. It has additionally been shown that women are one of the most vital actors in peace-making.”

ClimateMama is honored to be an Allied Organization, helping launch, share and promote this unique and special project. Be part of the solution. Share your story, your videos, your photos your reports. Learn more here.


Climate Mama

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Happy Halloween! We, in North America have taken the celebration of ghosts, goblins and monsters to an extreme, and on October 31st we will be ringing in this festive and spooky holiday in a myriad of ways. It is an opportunity for fun and fantasy and an opportunity to “be in the moment” and enjoy!

I wanted to share some highlights from some of our past ClimateMama posts, some of our “scary” ghosts and goblin stories, as quite frankly these are stories that aren’t going to go away. Our kids health, future and now is in our hands and Halloween is as good a time as any to  remind us all that we must make climate solutions a part of our lives moving forward. Continue reading

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This weekend is the 5th Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. In many ways Sandy seems like a lifetime ago  – yet “Harvey, Maria and Irma” three devastating hurricanes which struck the US and the Caribbean this fall – bring back stark reminders from that weekend, 5 years ago. Below is a post I wrote, a few days after Superstorm Sandy, and on the eve of the 2012 elections. We have so much work to do to build up our resiliency and prepare for this new “normal” of superstorms. Those of us raising our children on the coasts, are on the front lines. We must make sure our elected officials not only acknowledge the crisis we are in, but help us build, plan and prepare for our future, which is now.

We thought the politicization of climate change was bad in 2012, sadly, things are have only gotten much worse. Climate change is happening whether you are republican, democrat, independent, rich or poor, blue, purple, black or white. We MUST take action. Hiding our heads in the sand, denying reality won’t stop the changes that are already taking place. In this upcoming election of 2017, please do vote; and for our children, challenge those seeking your vote. Ask them: “What are YOU doing about climate change?” If they don’t have a ready answer and a plan, please DO NOT give them your vote.

For our Climate Mamas and Papas in the northeast, do join us if you can, on Saturday in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and on Sunday, in Asbury Park. Look for our signs…


Climate Mama

Climate Change: Making Your Vote Count For Our Kids – Post Sandy

Superstorm Sandy, “my neighborhood”

November 2, 2012: As I drink my morning coffee, through my kitchen window I still see homes with no lights, but the noise from generators that punctuated the usual early morning quiet these past few days, is absent. Neighbors are putting their recycling containers on the curb –Tuesday’s pick up has been rescheduled for today. Some normalcy returns. About 1/3 of our town now seems to have power, although on some streets it continues to look like bombs went off and clean up has yet to begin. The shock of Sandy is being replaced by resignation and acceptance, as people who’s homes have had extensive damage are looking for more permanent short to medium term solutions for places to live, and those without power are accepting the fact that it still could be days, or even weeks till they get it back. Continue reading

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In 2007, I had the honor and the privilege of training with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality leader. These 3 days changed the direction and future course of my life. My 2007 training was one of the first 6 trainings of the newly formed Climate Project (now Climate Reality Project). These first trainings were conducted by former Vice President Al Gore – as have been all subsequent trainings – and they were held in Nashville, Tennessee. 1000 people were trained over this first year. In October 2017, I was a mentor in Pittsburgh, PA where we trained 1400 climate leaders over 3 days. As my dear friend Jill likes to say, “we need everyone, everywhere doing everything all the time as quickly as possible.” While certainly larger in scale then the 2006/7 trainings, at this most recent training the same hopes were strengthened and reaffirmed,  new friendships and life long bonds were forged, and a fierce determination to succeed was enshrined in all.

It’s not easy logistically to train so many people at one time. The staff, the experts, and the mentors each contribute to creating a unique event, filled with long days of learning, networking, and discovery. Your head and your heart are made to hurt; nothing is held back about the gravity of the situation we face and the urgency of the crisis before us. Yet, no one wants to leave when the three days are up. To be in a room surrounded by so many people who are like you in so many ways is truly a life-affirming event. On the surface it seems everyone is so different, coming from diverse backgrounds and different locations around the country and around the world. Yet, we all share the hope and the belief that we can and will re-build our home; that a livable, healthy, and safe world can and will be a reality for us all and for our children, and their children. We all know it won’t be easy and that time is not on our side.

Photo Credit: jill Macintyre Witt

At our Pittsburgh training I was awarded the Green Ring, which is given “to an outstanding Climate Reality Leader who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their role as a climate communicator and activist. “

Wow!! I am so incredibly proud and honored to be the recipient of this very, very special award.  Yet I know without a doubt that it could have been given to any one of the other 1400 people in the room, or the 12,000 Climate Reality Project leaders, not in Pittsburgh with us,  who help to make up our Climate Reality family. I am fortunate to work with so many inspiring people.  We aren’t giving up, we have our eyes wide open and yet we still believe we can and we will win against this existential threat we face from our changing climate and ourselves. Together we are unstoppable!

With love and gratitude to all our Climate Mamas and Papas.  A special thanks to my Climate Reality family –  for strengthened my commitment and fortifying my resolve – we will succeed because we must. I will continue to live each  day by our Climate Mama Motto: “Tell the Truth, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Don’t be Afraid.” 

Stay tuned and consider joining us for our next training. The date and location haven’t been announced yet, but if you sign up now, you will be one of the first to learn about it when it is announced.

Also, put December 4 and 5th on your calendar and save the date! Tune in to 24 Hours of Reality, which this year will highlight activism: inspiring us all to grow, fortify and build up our climate hope –  to find and create solutions to the crisis we face.



Climate Mama

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For many of us at ClimateMama, smiling seems harder and harder to do these days. Hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, humanitarian crises, food and water shortages, human rights trampled, and the list goes on. In fact the list seems so long these days, that our natural reaction has been to “shut down” completely, tuning off and tuning out. We realize too, that while some of us may have this luxury, too many of us don’t. The boogey man is knocking at the door and our hiding places are few and far between. But, regardless of where we live, how we live, or who we are, the act of smiling is human, and it is humane. Smiling is a critical human connection that we must not forget how to do.

These days, often what truly makes me smile, what makes me stop and be in the moment –   just for a moment –  is my dog, Ivy. When I watch her, as she intently watches the busy squirrels and chipmunks that are racing to get ready for the winter season, everything else seems to fade away. I can hear the birds, I can see the leaves, I can smell mother earth.  I live in the northeastern USA, where it is “technically” fall. Yet the daily temperatures, which are regularly in the ’80’s make it feel much more like summer. This too causes me stress, and increases my anxieties about our changing climate. Mother Nature, while angry, also reminds us of the annual cycles, and the leaves in our neighborhood are beginning to change color.  The animals, birds and insects, while confused, are also busily preparing for winter.

According to the World Smile Day website (yes there is such a thing!) “Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963. As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace.  Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day. He thought that we, all of us, should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.  The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.  Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we.  In 1999, he declared that the first Friday in October each year would be World Smile Day.”

So, while we try to remain sane in what continues to be a very insane world,  take time out to remember to smile, to be extra kind to someone, and to be kind to yourself.

What makes you smile? What brings down your anxiety, who or what calms your nerves and gives you hope and comfort? We need to remind ourselves of these special “totems” and channel them, as the insanities and injustices of the day continue to be an onslaught that just keep coming. It remains up to us, to remind ourselves, our families, our children and even completes strangers that compassion and hope do reside in each of us. Smile at a stranger today, hug your children extra tight, give your dog a belly rub, and keep your climate hope alive.

Happy World Smile Day,


Climate Mama


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On September 25, 2015, 197 countries adopted a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and Climate Mamas and Papas the world over.

On this, the second Anniversary of the adoption of the Global Goals, let’s choose to focus on the positive, what we can and must do.

Let’s remember our priorities and that solutions to our world’s great problems, are in our grasp, if we work together.. let’s NOT focus on divisiveness..rather togetherness. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed has a powerful message on how and why we must to take action if we want the Sustainable Development Goals to be a reality by 2030. Share it with the kids in your life.

We are in? What’s your priority goal? Ours in #13, Climate Action, which is intrinsically connected to all the others. Join us as part of the solution. Let’s  start by telling everyone we know about the Global Goals. Here is  a list of actions that each of us can easily take in our everyday lives to contribute to a sustainable future. We know many of these things you are already doing, so we can and must do more too. We all must do what we can. Our children are watching.

Yours in action and hope,


Climate Mama

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Hurricane Harvey, 2017: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory, Public Domain

Hurricane Harvey’s wrath and destruction will remain with us for years to come. How we as a country rebuild after the storm – what regulations and safeguards we put in place to protect people, homes and business from the next epic storm can and should serve as guidelines as we live with climate change. Yet, if the Trump Administration’s environmental, energy and climate guidelines to date are any indication, we are heading  in a dangerous direction.

We are pleased to share with you an original post by Morgan Statt, the Health & Safety Advocate at Morgan’s post walks us through some of the environmental deregulations we have seen so far from the Trump Administration, and why these deregulation proposals lead not only to false hopes but potentially dangerous environmental and health impacts.


by Morgan Statt

Prior to Election Day 2017, Donald Trump assured America that he would work towards strengthening and growing the middle class through job creation and lower taxes. Now successfully in the Oval Office, the Trump Administration has proposed substantial deregulation efforts across many sections of the US economy, including in support of “rebuilding” the coal industry.

During Obama’s years in office, many industry regulations were instated with the rational that these were needed to protect both American’s health and the environment. If Trump’s proposed deregulations and focus on bringing back the coal mining industry indicate one thing, it’s that a crack has appeared in the Obama Administration’s foundation, built to ensure these protections. And it’s a crack that has the power to bring the [White] house down. Continue reading

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In 2017 “labels” seem to define us. People know “immediately” what we stand for, what we look like, what we believe and how we think, according to our label. We are: Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, urbanites, suburbanite, southerner, northerner, east coaster, west coaster, Midwesterners, Jewish, Muslim, religious, born again, atheist, rancher, farmer, fisherman…. These are only a handful of the many labels that are thrown around with authority…But, are we actually defined by our “labels”…?

The documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman turns labels upside down for ALL of us to clearly see and deeply understand. Our differences can be set aside, our passion and compassion for our planet and for one another can and does make us stronger.  We can find ways to  work together when we have a shared vision of what is at stake. Our Climate Mama community knows this intimately. We are so much more than one-dimensional versions of what others think we should be.

This special film is a tribute to people like Justin Knopf, a fifth-generation Kansas farmer revolutionizing industrial scale agriculture to rebuild the fertility, biodiversity and resilience of his soil, and Dusty Crary, a fourth-generation Montana rancher who forged alliances between cattlemen, federal agencies, hunters and environmental groups to protect the Rocky Mountain Front. Based on a book by best-selling author Miriam Horn, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman was directed by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Susan Froemke and Emmy winner John Hoffman, and narrated by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw.

The individuals in the movie personify our ClimateMama motto, “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, and don’t be afraid.” Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman shows us that one person CAN truly make a difference.

The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and will be broadcast  on the Discovery Channel on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 9pm ET. Watch it with the kids in your life.



Climate Mama

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Across the country, and around the world, many of our children have already headed back to the classroom. In the United States and Canada, Labor Day – the first Monday of September – is traditionally the last day of summer vacation for many of our children.  As we start gathering our children’s school supplies  and back to school clothing, we begin by searching shelves and closets to see what supplies are left over from last year, what school clothes still fit, and what we may need to replace or find.  Our back to school travels often bring us to stores and malls, as we ready our children for their first day of the new school year.

Our friends and new partners at Generation 180 have a simple, yet powerful campaign called Keep it Cool, that we LOVE and which we know you and your kids will love too.  As Climate Mamas and Papas, we are always looking for ways to help our children learn that every step of the way,  we can make a difference. Lets help the businesses that we support and shop at – those that we already know have sustainability plans and climate solutions as part of their business models –  save money and save energy too just by remembering to shut their door; something we remind our kids to do every time we leave our own homes……Generation 180 gives us an easy way to help ALL stores and businesses do their part for our planet and for their bottom line.  Join us and  learn more about the Keep it Cool campaign.

Make a Difference While Back to School Shopping!

by Susan Klees

As kids head off to school, many of us are rushing to our local stores to stock up on supplies. This is the second-busiest shopping season of the year, and it is also the hottest time to shop. Along with big sales, many stores prop open their doors to lure in customers with refreshing air conditioning.

While the cool air may feel good, this practice harms the environment. The average store wastes some 4,200 kWh of energy, which generates 2.2 tons of pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the environment when keeping their doors propped open during the summer. That’s the same amount of CO2 emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.

But there is an easy way that you can make a difference and encourage local stores to close their doors while you are out on the town back-to-school shopping. Our non-profit Generation 180 has created a campaign that enables environmentally conscious consumers to take action. Through Keep It Cool, you can easily and anonymously urge stores to close their doors and reduce pollution in your own community.

A Simple Campaign

Participating in Keep It Cool is simple: Just use Facebook Messenger on your smartphone to send a pinned store location to Generation 180 (read directions here or watch this video) noting whether the store has its doors open or closed. We will then reach out to the stores to recognize those that ‘keep it cool’ with their doors closed and educate those who are allowing energy to escape. A national campaign map tracks all the stores identified by consumers with doors open or closed.

Consumers support this change. We surveyed 1,500 millennials and 62 percent think that this practice is wasteful. Up to 25 percent are less likely to shop at retailers that leave their doors open.

Just creating awareness could go a long way toward reducing carbon emissions. If U.S. retailers maintained closed-door policies all summer, they could reduce pollution equivalent to cars driving 830 million.

At a time when many of us are feeling powerless about climate change, one of the quickest and least-expensive ways to cut carbon emissions is for people to make simple changes in their everyday lives. And our Keep It Cool campaign gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values. It is good for business, the community and the environment.

So, when you are strolling down Main Street, take the time to notice stores with their doors open or closed and join the Keep It Cool campaign to make a difference.

Susan Klees is campaign director at Generation 180, a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness via original content, digitally enabled campaigns and an empowered volunteer network.

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