As the final school bell rings to mark the end of the school year and the real start to summer vacation –  thoughts of family holidays at the beach, the mountains, hiking, camping and new adventures,  enter our minds and our conversations.   But as Climate Mamas and Papas, we also are well aware that traveling can also weigh heavy on our planet and have significant climate impacts. Thought and preparation in advance of  our travels can lessen the load, create learning opportunities, and make our vacations more memorable and fun! Our friends from Change My Footprint have shared some great travel tips with us and we are so very pleased to share them with you.

Traveling with the Climate in Mind

By Martijn & Marc, brothers and founders of changemyfootprint.com

With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves thinking about our next travel destination. But vacations often come with a heavy footprint on our planet…so, can we plan for this? In fact we can! Not only can we travel lighter, there are many things we can do that also help us save money at the same time.

Use e-tickets for everything: Why print your train or flight tickets? No need to waste that paper. Use a digital ticket instead. Most of our phones now have apps to help us store and keep our tickets with us, readily accessible at all times. E-tickets are often cheaper than paper tickets and e-tickets are hard to lose as well!

Driving vacations: Many of us drive to our holiday destinations. Especially on long drives, there is a lot of money and a huge footprint to save. To begin with, before you leave, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Your gas mileage will improve when your tires have to right amount of air in them. Continue reading

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The third week of June is filled with many monumental moments and observances that remind us to think, listen, learn and connect the dots between our planet and our actions.

In the United States, the third week of June is Pollinator week – which among many concepts, reminds us that as we live climate change, the lives of critical pollinators are increasingly being threatened, potentially impacting and imperiling our food supply, our future and now. Around the world, World Refugee Day is held on June 20th.  This solemn day connects so many dots, reminding us that 10’s of thousands of families around the world are being forced to flee their homes due to armed conflict, generalized violence, or persecution based on race, religion or nationality. Increasingly, we are also seeing “climate refugees” as the results of extreme weather disasters and deteriorating ecological conditions force more and more people to seek refuge far from home.
The summer solstice, celebrated on June 21st is both the longest day and the shortest night of the year, as well as the “technical” beginning of summer. For those of us who study climate change, it is an opportunity to remind ourselves how our planet’s formal “seasonal changes,” are being altered as our heavy footprints impact our planet’s ecosystems and throw mother nature “off balance.”

This solstice, we at ClimateMama, were honored to partner with One World One Love, to build on the awareness of this impactful week, by asking people around the world to light candles to honor our planet and connects the dots between climate change and refugees. We were thrilled to see pictures sent in from all over the world, from Maryland to Bangladesh, from Vancouver to India, from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, and from New Jersey to Washington DC, to name just a few. It’s not to late to add your photos; take one with the kids in your life  and post the photo on your social media with the hashtag  #1world1climate – remember to tell us what city you are posting from!

And, in case you missed it, take some time to sit down with the kids in our life and watch the Years of Living Dangerously episode on climate change and refugees. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 25 million people are forced to leave their homes due to disasters every year. Sadly, as our world continues to be kept out of balance, and as we all live climate change, the world refugee crisis will continue to grow. How we help manage this crisis, is up to us. Here is a short preview of this episode.

Climate Change and the Migrant Crisis from YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY on Vimeo.

Learn more about what you can do directly to impact refugee lives by visiting One World One Love. Let us know what organizations are operating in your state to help settle refugees.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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Too often these days, for those of us working on climate change, many messages from social media seem to imply a bleak future with problems too big to tackle and seemingly ignored by those in powerful positions who might be able to make a difference. We want to set the record straight. There is a way for each of us to be involved and build climate hope through real actions. With the help of an amazing Climate Mama from Florida, Sandi Schwartz, we want to help show you how it’s done. All around the country, and around the world, parents, families and children are digging in and getting to work on climate solutions. With sleeves rolled up, we are creating positive solutions and opportunities and encouraging others to join us and get involved. At ClimateMama, with the help of folks like Sandi, we are thrilled to highlight some of the many unsung heroes who are not waiting for politicians or the media to catch up, but who are already hard at work addressing climate change.

How South Florida Families Are Working To Address Climate Change

By Sandi Schwartz

If you look at the projection maps for sea level rise, South Florida is ground zero for feeling the effects of climate change. The City of Miami Beach, for example, already experiences king tides, which happen when the sun is out and the weather is completely dry. Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline, and most of the area is less than a foot above sea level, so it does not take much for flooding to quickly seep into our neighborhoods.

Many people in Florida are realizing that sea level rise and more intense, frequent storms could cause serious problems. However, we are no California. Sadly, our state government leadership is skeptical about climate change, and a bill just passed in the last legislative session that allows citizens to remove textbooks from schools that teach about climate change.

Although we are faced with a bit of an uphill battle in Florida, we have many climate heroes as well who are an inspiration to all of us.

 Young Local Climate Heroes


One young national climate hero who hails from Florida is Levi Draheim. At only 9 years old, he is one of the children suing the Federal government through Our Children’s Trust. The children allege that the federal government, through its actions and coordination with the fossil fuel industry, have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to a livable climate. Our Children’s Trust is also working with youth in Florida to file a new state level case. If you or your children are interested in learning more, contact Our Children’s Trust today!

Another local hero is Delaney Reynolds, a college student at the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and founder of The Sink or Swim Project. She grew up in the Florida Keys surrounded by water, which peaked her interest in global warming and the threat of sea level rise. She speaks with kids around the world about climate change and what they can do to help, and is a published author and illustrator of children’s books on ecological topics.

A group of four Florida middle school students went beyond the classroom to make incredible environmental improvements in their school and throughout the community. They were so concerned about sea level rise impacting Miami, that they conducted a school energy audit with the help of the non-profit Dream in Green. They created an educational program to teach their fellow students about energy savings and other sustainability topics. When they moved over to high school, they continued their efforts and ended up saving the school about $5,000 in just one year. Check out this inspiring video about their story.

What Families Can Do

Here are some ways that families can get involved in South Florida and beyond.

MuseumsThe first step is to teach your kids about climate change. South Florida has so many amazing museums with exhibits about climate change. The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale teaches kids about weather and their carbon footprint. The H2O Today exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami shows how climate change, population growth, and pollution affected the water cycle and weather patterns. Other museums to check out in the area are Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, and Loggerhead Marine Life Center.

Marches and Rallies: In April, both the March for Science and People’s Climate March took place all over the world. I attended the ones in West Palm Beach, Florida. These types of events are a terrific way to show your children the importance of speaking up for what they believe in. Look for more of these opportunities for families to join together on climate change.

Volunteer Groups: Join a local group of moms already fighting for the environment. Moms Clean Air Force is a community of a million moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health. They provide members with online resources, articles, action tools, and on-the-ground events. There is a specific group for Florida families, but you can also find one in your state as well.

Contact Government Leaders: Making calls and writing to our government leaders has quickly become the norm for so many Americans. There is no reason that you can’t get your kids involved as well. Kids 4 Planet Earth challenges kids to write letters to the President about climate change. Consider organizing a letter writing playdate and having your kids send postcards to other government officials like your mayor, governor, and members of Congress. Create your own recycled postcards using this awesome tutorial.

I hope that more Florida families will do their part to ensure that we slow down the impacts of climate change in our state and throughout the world.

Sandi Schwartz writes the blog Happy Science Mom, a parenting toolkit for raising happy, balanced children that highlights the importance of protecting and spending time in nature.

Resources:  P.S. Check out Climate Central’s Surging Seas, app and website to learn more about sea level rise and what it will mean for YOUR community. 

 

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Father’s Day 2017 is my second Father’s Day without my father. Life happens, we all lose loved ones – this is a fact and the circle of life. While these heartbreaking losses stay with us forever – the crushing, immediate and paralyzing hurt does fade.

In 2016 I wrote a post that was published in Elephant Journal, called “Climate Change & Cancer, The Long Goodbye.” The post drew parallels – using my personal experiences and thoughts – between the campaign to keep cigarettes in peoples hands and todays climate denial. By downplaying the clear links that 100’s of peer reviewed scientific studies showed between cigarette smoking and cancer, many people became addicted to cigarettes and experienced negative health impacts – including death. Many articles and studies have shown how the same tactics used to downplay linkages between cigarette smoking and cancer, are now playing out to cast doubt on our role in accelerating climate change. A small group of well-funded climate deniers has been raising doubt about the linkages between our use of fossil fuels and our heavy footprints on our planet and the exponential acceleration of climate change that threatens our species and all others species as well. These climate denier campaigns have been brewing for years, with success.

“I am still raging inside, shaking with anger. Raging against the disease that killed my father and raging against the political machinery that lets too many of our political candidates continue to publicly, vocally, and with authority deny the realities of climate change, raising doubt about our role in what is happening and thereby slowing down solutions and actions…. Our planet is showing us in a myriad of ways that it is critically sick and suffering. And every day, new scientific studies connect the dots between our way of life, our energy choices, our actions, and our changing climate—yet these studies are not translated into the necessary tough policies we need set us on a safe path.” My feelings last year, when things were still so raw for me on so many levels.

This year, my rage has subsided to a slow simmer, and my thoughts on this Father’s Day have moved to reflection and memories –  of times well spent with my father and on building and growing my resolve. I feel strangely hopeful that we have turned a corner, our cards and those of our current Administration are “on the table.” In many circles we are moving to stronger and lasting solutions on climate change, in others, still farther away.

No, I haven’t drank any strange kool-aid, and yes, I do understand that we are at the edge of a cliff, but I feel our momentum has shifted to resolute and sustained action both in the United States and around the world. Here in the United States, it seems clear to me that we are publicly and visibly being asked to take sides, to look our children in their eyes, and tell them where we stand. If this isn’t obvious to all, then we must make it so. All our elected officials, and each of us must be clear on where we stand. Will we join with countries, cities, states, businesses, colleges and organizations around the world, who are loudly declaring they are “still in” moving forward with firm, immediate and sustained climate action – or not. From where I sit, the “moving forward side” is picking up speed and seems unstoppable.

Donald Trump and many in his Cabinet and inner circle have clearly and vocally staked their allegiance to coal, fossil fuels, big agriculture, limited environmental regulations coupled with a clear and loud amping up of the climate denial machine. But, I remain hopeful because each day I see push back to this message, and how this approach is being marginalized and side stepped. Clearly our democracy and the place of the federal government  in it is being seriously challenged, but it has been for some time. What is more obvious to me is that climate change policy has more overtly become a partisan issue and divide. This is NOT okay and more and more people are pushing back.  Now more then ever we must stand together with friends and family – whether, green, purple, blue, red, republican, democrat or independent – and declare loudly that climate change is real, here, now and caused by us, and yes, that we CAN do something about it.

My father’s death from cancer was directly linked to his years as a smoker; to be sure exacerbated by other conditions. Understanding the connections between cigarettes and cancer didn’t make it any less painful for our family or for my father – who showed us all how to live with dignity, honor and hope, even with the knowledge that death was knocking loudly at the door. As my father and our family grappled with the disease that killed him, we had our eyes wide open to the cause, but we did pin our hopes on prayer and on treatments not quite there. Prayer helped some of us feel stronger, and now almost two years after my father’s death, the immunotherapy drugs that might have extended his life are available and being widely used. Things can and do change quickly.

Climate change in it’s current manifestation is a problem of our making; one that has unfolded over years and will take years and lifetimes to resolve. But as we debate reality, and as climate denial is allowed to ferment, we are wasting time we can’t get back. Clearly, in this world of “Alternative Facts”   post election, telling the truth has been put into question and the disease we have inflicted on our planet has a death grip on our human species.We know that this hasn’t happen overnight. And the easy thing would be to place blame solely on the current administration. But this isn’t an easy problem where we can point a finger to identify the cause, nor is there one or even a handful of solutions. There ARE a myriad of solutions, with room for us all to be involved.

So, my rambling message to all our Climate Mamas and Papas this Father’s Day, as we come together to celebrate our fathers, our brothers, our grandfathers – living and dead – is that we must stay hopeful, be reflective, and be intentional. Our ClimateMama mantra guides us: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, don’t be afraid.” My father showed through his actions, how to live life this way. I strive each day to honor his memory and to follow his example.

A special thanks and shout out to all our Climate Papas for joining us on this journey and for giving us resolve and building our climate hope.

Happy Father’s Day Dad…I love you, I miss you and I think about you every day.

 

In hope and resolve,

 

Climate Mama

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Credit: Shutterstock

From time to time, we get inquiries from individuals and companies asking to guest post on our ClimateMama blog. We are happy to give folks the opportunity to share their views on ClimateMama, and we make clear that we don’t endorse any products or services unless we have tried them out, would use them, and recommend them to you! As far as advice, the same thing goes; we don’t share information unless we would also provide it to you. We were recently contacted by the folks at a new website, ClimateWise, who are looking to “set the record straight” on climate change information.  Below is an article we are pleased to share with you. We appreciate the simple and straightforward ways that ClimateWise helps us answer these questions.

Setting the Record Straight, by Neil Stawski, ClimateWise

By Andy Brunner, Used with Permission, UNsplash

For a concept that is pretty much settled science for those who study it, climate change sure sees a lot of skepticism and debate from those in government and normal, everyday citizens. There are many misconceptions about climate change floating around out there, and they do us all a disservice. Climate change is something we all must understand, so that we can see just how important it is to act and to act fast. Here are some of these common misconceptions, set straight.

Doesn’t cold weather mean there is no global warming? Wrong. This is a common confusion of weather and climate. Weather is defined as environmental changes in the short-term – minutes, hours, and months. Climate works on a larger scale. Climate change refers to changing patterns that take place over years – decades even. In fact, global warming can actually cause harsher winters.

“Warmer temperatures in the winter of 2006 caused Lake Erie to not freeze for the first time in its history. This actually led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation,” notes Scientific American.

What about all of the scientists that don’t think climate change is real? The fact is that there are very few scientists who do not subscribe to the conclusion that global warming is manmade, it is a factor in overall climate change, it is happening right now, and it is a problem for life on Earth.

“Humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 80 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position,” says SkepticalScience.com.

Hasn’t the climate been changing for hundreds of thousands of years? Yes, but not at the rate it is today. Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is most responsible for global warming, has been on a steady rise in our atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Scientists can study trees and ice cores to determine the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere going back hundreds of thousands of years, and we know that for most of history the global carbon dioxide level fluctuated between 170 and 300 parts per million. We have crossed the 400 ppm mark, and now hover at around 410 ppm. If you want to keep track of the CO2 levels, you can go here.

Ok, but there’s nothing I can do about it, right?

Wrong. There is plenty you, as a concerned citizen, can do to help combat the negative effects of climate change. Activism is the most effective way to fight. This means getting the message out there, joining up and volunteering or raising money for environmental organizations and climate change groups.

You can spread your message through customized merchandise with a clear and concise message. Research companies like RushOrderTees.com that allow you to place small orders, so that you aren’t biting off more than you can chew. Sell the shirts, hoodies, and tote bags, then donate the proceeds to a local like minded cause.

You can participate in the political process, vote, and urge your representatives to support policies that help combat climate change, not exacerbate it. And encourage everyone you know to do the same.

In your own life you can take steps to reduce your carbon footprint like driving a more fuel-efficient car (go electric or hybrid!), taking green modes of transportation (walking and biking), reducing your consumption of red meat and dairy (their production is a huge factor in global warming), and making your home more energy efficient (think appliances, lighting, and water consumption).

As the sea levels rise, ice caps melt, oceans acidify, species die off, and weather becomes more intense and unpredictable, we are faced with the consequences of climate change on a daily basis. Without a change, it will only get worse. It’s vital that everyone – from world leaders all the way down to Joe Q. Public – take heed of the science and begin to work to reverse climate change. Time is running out.

 

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On the Summer Solstice – June 21st, 2017 – will  YOU light a candle in support of Mother Earth?

In support of the wonderful work of One World One LoveClimateMama  is honored to join the call to and stand in solidarity to defend the One Planet we all call home. The threat of climate change is real and knows no borders – refugee or citizen – we are all vulnerable, we are all one.

The #1World1Climate Campaign will bring us together in our town halls and city squares, on our beaches and mountain tops, in our backyards and at our dinner tables as we host candlelight vigils. #1World1Climate will connect us across the country and around the globe as we share our diverse stories and images. #1World1Climate will provide an opportunity to reflect on our hopes for our planet’s future, and set intentions to reduce our individual impacts.

We are thrilled to be partnering with our friends at One World One Love on this beautiful campaign. One day after World Refugee Day (June 20th) – we are asking people to light a candle for the world and climate hope. In these unprecedented times we are living in, we invite all our Climate Mamas and Papas to  come together in a moment of unity. Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family and find time on the Solstice, June 21, to light a candle for our Mother Earth.

Lets take a moment to remind each other we will take care of one another, we do care and we do have hope for tomorrow, showing the world through our actions and our words today. The ask isn’t a heavy lift, but we hope that the connections being made between climate change and refugees, will be something people will take away and think about long after they light a candle for our future and now. 

Climate change is here. We notice our seasons changing earlier than before, our weather becoming more extreme, our seas rising and our children’s health suffering. We hear scientists screaming for us to pay attention to the overwhelming body of evidence they have collected, and we are perplexed, saddened and angered as many of our elected officials ignore them. We are connecting the dots between the increase in refugees around the world and the climate change fingerprints on their countries, their farms, forests and fields, their water, air and their weather.

While climate change affects all of us, it disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable among us. For refugees, climate change exacerbates the hardships they face in their home (and host) countries. With limited resources — such as electricity, food, clean water and secure housing —  refugees are often more susceptible to the climate-related effects of harsh weather and disease.

Unfortunately, the road from refugee to citizen is a long one, and only possible for a minute fraction of those who apply. Once granted asylum, refugees continue to face challenges in their adoptive countries. From learning and adapting to a new language, community, and social system, to facing the fear and distrust of some of their new neighbors, the struggle continues.

On June 21st, let’s light our candles together – to support one another and our planet in the hope of a brighter future.

JOIN US.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

JOIN OR ORGANIZE A VIGIL. There is no vigil too big or too small. On June 21st, gather your friends in your home. Gather your community in your town. Go out into nature. Do something that’s meaningful to YOU and light your flame.

RSVP TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT. Share with your friends. On June 21st, post a photo on social media with the hashtag #1World1Climate and your location.

WANT TO DO MORE? Contact us. We look forward to hearing your ideas and answering your questions!

Check in often at the One World One Light program page for updates, and on the Facebook Event Page.

Yours,

Climate Mama

Refugee girl photo credit:  Jametlene Reskp

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June 8th is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better world.

Scientists tell us that our oceans are reaching their capacity as “carbon sinks.” As they absorb the greenhouse gases that we are creating, our oceans are heating up and becoming more acidic, threatening the health of all living things….

Grab the kids in your life, and celebrate the oceans. Check out some of the resources at the World Oceans Day site as well as those at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Take some time to talk about the Paris Climate Agreement and the historic nature of the commitments made  by all governments of the world  to acknowledge and to begin in earnest to repair the damages that we are inflicting on our mother earth. Discuss as well, the US administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and the fact that this decision is not the will nor the wishes of the majority of the American people. Share the WeAreStillin campaign with them. Together we are building climate hope.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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I just saw the latest Wonder Woman movie with my daughter. I loved it! Instead of the heavy weight I seem to feel every day as I turn on and then off the tv or the radio – listening and then shutting out news of yet another mass killing, suicide attack or a clip of President Trump speaking about something that to me is the opposite of good – today I lost myself in a Hollywood blockbuster movie about powerful women standing up against evil and for humanity.  However flawed we may be, I do think that with a little help, we can save ourselves and give our planet a fighting chance to heal. Without ruining the movie for you, the story is a classic one – good vs evil – in this case Diane, Goddess of the Amazons  vs Aries, the God of War.

I haven’t heard the director or screen writer speak about the movie, but it seemed to me an interesting parallel to today. We have an “Aries like” president, bent on war through words and actions: war not only with our enemies, but with our friends, our mother earth, us, our children, our future and now. The bottom line in the movie is that love – for each other and our planet –  will save us. As the veil is lifted again and again by another hurtful and vengeful tweet, or by an inexplicable act like pulling our country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, I think we will and can rise up for love and against the bully in the White House and those who were elected to represent us but do not.

In case you don’t have time to see Wonder Woman today, we wanted to share a short video from the “Don’t Just Sit There Do Something” series, created by our partners and friends at Communitopia, and staring the unflappable Joylette Portlock – Future President Gives State of the Climate Address.

This video is timely, witty and eye-opening – a trip back to the future; share it with the kids in your life. Joylette portrays a USA leader from the future who – like Wonder Woman – reminds us that good can trump evil. We at ClimateMama, in chorus with world leaders and US states, cities and businesses, agree that Trump’s ill conceived decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a wake up call to action, rather than a doomsday address. Thanks Communitopia for helping us visualize the future; a place where a strong United States government and its leader is committed to building a safe, secure, just and sustainable future for our children and for us all.

Do your own research. Uncover the facts so that you can clearly understand and see the many ways that Trump has manipulate the truth when it comes to what the Paris Climate Agreement is all about. The United States continues to move forward  reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and leading on climate change policy and action, regardless of what is said by the Trump administration. Actions speak louder than words. The sustainability revolution has begun and Trump will not unravel it.

Check out the new website, WeAreStillIn which lists the cities, states, companies and universities that are committed to meeting the Paris Agreement.

Our role is to double down and show the world that climate change must no longer be entangled in partisan politics – it never should have been – we just don’t have time for this;  our children’s future and now IS in our hands. As Climate Mamas and Papas from all political parties and persuasions, we must continue to speak the truth and act on climate change, in our homes, our communities and in the ballot boxes.

With a shout out to all our many Wonder Women Climate Mamas..thank you for what you do every day, and also a shout out to the Climate Papas who love and support us.

Yours,

ClimateMama

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, In The News, Politics, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contrary to many voices you may hear today and in the coming weeks, I see the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement as a positive. Let’s move on – let’s stop pretending the US federal government can actually implement strong climate policy at home – it hasn’t done this for many, many years, not by Obama nor Bush before him. Nor have we effectively or substantially contributed in the past to international climate policies and accords; we were never signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, the precursor to Paris, and we put a “pin” in the Copenhagen Agreement, that was poised to  put the world on a positive trajectory for immediate and effective climate action.

I spent 13 years working at the United Nations and I know the importance of an international agreement and the strength of a country’s signature on that agreement. For states, cities, civil society and companies on the ground, a signed agreement gives everyone in that country a reference point to demand that the national government live up to it’s commitments. We KNOW this administration will NEVER live up to our Paris commitments – in fact Trump and company are already unraveling and  tearing down President Obama’s climate policies and his clean power plan.

Other countries can see clearly our “Emperor” is wearing no clothes. So, when it comes to being prepared to address climate change, I say GOOD RIDDANCE. I only see negatives of having the Trump administration at the table for international agreements on climate; his administration would weaken and slow down other government’s commitments. Having Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State and ex-CEO of Exxon or Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator and an avowed climate denier,  sit at the international climate negotiating table on behalf of the US people – this clearly is NOT a good idea. The Trump administration has made clear from it’s first days in office that it is set on weakening climate policy and/or instituting the lowest common denominator solutions. It’s first official act in office was to “re-approve” the Keystone XL pipeline. Our children are watching, their future and now in our hands. We need an “all hands on deck” approach. This will not come from the Trump Administration –  let’s not fool ourselves.

It’s time for China, India and the EU to lead on climate; in fact they already are. If we want to see the US resume it’s position as a world leader – on climate, on refugees, on health, on security –  then let’s vote in leaders who will lead, not leave. In the meantime, lets champion our states, cities and businesses who are taking climate action now – let them represent America. We are living in unprecedented times. Trump doesn’t represent the American people, he doesn’t have a mandate to undo these agreements, and yet he is acting as if he does and no one is stopping him. So, as Trump continues to take action that shows him for what he is – NOT  a world statesman, NOT someone with our long term interests at heart and NOT someone who will help America rise…He has CHOSEN to remove HIS administration from the international stage..The US will be visible and on that stage but fortunately for us all HE won’t.

The Paris Agreement was an important agreement for one main reason – 195 countries came together and agreed that the “sh@)&t had hit the fan”, that climate change is real, here and now, and that we were causing our climate to change. When it came to “solutions”, each country brought to Paris their own INDC (Intended National Determined Contribution or “Country Plan”) which, even if every country completed to the letter of the plan, would still not put us on a safe trajectory for dealing with climate change. So, good-bye President Trump. The Paris Agreement will occupy the news cycle for a few days more, but then you will have to deal with the issues at hand.

We all need to loudly champion what is happening at the state, regional and local levels on climate change solutions, mitigation and adaptation. WE don’t have our heads in the sand; as Climate Mamas and Papas we see how our climate is changing – it’s happening in our backyards, on our beaches, our mountains and at our homes. American companies too are on board to tackle climate change; their bottom lines are at stake. So, at least we don’t have to pretend anymore that there is “someone minding the store” on climate and energy policy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. We know that the administration’s energy policy is about “bringing back coal and doubling down on fossil fuels.” This won’t last long, as companies will not see long term economic gains and the stock market is already pulling away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. That is our future.

Our ClimateMama moto: “Tell the Truth, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Don’t Be Afraid”. The Truth is, Trump and company will not take action on climate change, those actions are up to us, and we aren’t afraid to call out what we see and demand a future and now for our children that is livable, safe and hopeful. Trump is NOT part of that future. The sooner we all agree on this, the better.

 

Yours,

 

 

Climate Mama

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On Friday, May 26th I was honored to be invited to tour the R/V (research vehicle) Neil Armstrong, which was docked next to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River in New York City. This US Navy research ship was in New York to take part in the 2017 Fleet Week festivities. The R/V Neil Armstrong is owned by the Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The ship is one of only seven US academic large ships, and a “dwindling number of small and medium sized ships” tasked with exploring 2/3rds of our plant’s surface.  After our tour, the R/V Neil Armstrong was heading back to Woods Hole, MA to be deployed on a research mission to the Pioneer Array. I learned that the Pioneer Array is an Ocean Observatory, about 100 miles off the coast of Massachusetts  that uses advanced technology to help gather detailed information on sea temperature, winds, wave height and currents. This was the first visit of the R/V Neil Armstrong to NYC’s Fleet Week, and included our special social media outreach tour so we could share more information about the ship and its mission with you.

Standing up for science and facts is something we all must do, particularly as we in America live through this era of “alternative facts.”  On April 22nd, 2017 – Earth Day – scientists and their supporters across the United States took to the streets, marching for science and against the current  US administration’s plans to  severely cut funding for science research in general and in particular for climate science research. As well, scientists and regular folks continue to speak out as senior officials in the US administration raise doubts about proven climate science.  We – as parents and voters – must stand strong and speak out to support scientific research and the means and mechanisms through which scientific data can be collected and studied.

Now more then ever research and understanding of what is happening to and in our oceans is critical. As Climate Mamas and Papas we know that through scientific study we are learning how our oceans are absorbing much of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we are creating from human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. We are already witnesses to some of these consequences, including ocean warming and increased acidity, that have potentially devastating consequences for our coral reefs, marine animals, fish stocks, sea shores and previously steady and constant ocean currents.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong will be remembered always as the first person to step foot on the moon. His words, as he took that first step, continue to echo around the globe: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The US Navy honored Neil Armstrong by naming it’s first ship in it’s newest class of research vessels after him. This ship is designed for exploration and discovery, something Neil Armstrong new and understood well. We must make sure that we do what we can to help the science community  continue to carry out Neil Armstrong’s work of discovery and exploration. We have so much to learn from our world’s oceans – they are deep and mysterious, just like outer space. The R/V Neil Armstrong was christened by Carol Armstrong, the ship’s sponsor and Neil’s wife, on March 29th, 2014.

Here are a few interesting facts to share with the kids in your life about the link between the vehicles that conduct outer space exploration and those exploring our oceans.

With Gavin Schmidt, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

According to the Woods Hole Institute which operates the R/V Neil Armstrong: “NASA’s space shuttles were all named after famous ships that explored the ocean: Endeavor, after the ship Captain Cook sailed to discover Australia and New Zealand; Discovery, after the ship that founded the colony in Jamestown, Virginia and later explored the Northwest Passage; and Atlantis, after the nations first ship build expressly for ocean research.” The Neil Armstrong primarily explores the Atlantic and points east and it’s sister ship the Sally Ride, based at the Scripps Institute in California, primarily explores points west. Both ships conduct research in tropical and temperate oceans around the world.

Stay tuned for more posts on the R/V Neil Armstrong, and the work of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. We are excited to learn more and share what we learn with you!

Also, do check out the Woods Hole Institute Website with your kids. Learn more about it’s mission together, and keep tabs on the work and journeys of the R/V Neil Armstrong.

Warmly,

Climate Mama

 
P.S. Did you know that between June 5-9th, 2017 the United Nations will be hosting the Ocean Conference, in New York City and that June 8th is World Ocean’s Day?   Learn more about our oceans and why we need to understand more about their health and our impact on them; help your children learn more too!

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