Ask Your Congressman to be a Climate Hero = “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”


At ClimateMama, we have the honor and the privilege of meeting many amazing Climate Mamas and Papas – parents committed to doing everything they can to tackle climate change as they try to make the world a good and safe place for their children to grow up and flourish in. One of these extra special Climate Mamas is the guest author of this post, Elli Sparks, who is one of our Climate Heroes! Join us, grab the kids in your life, and read them this special story, Elli’s present to us, and ours to you.

If You Ask Your Congressman to be a Climate Hero, By Elli Sparks

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (ISBN 0-06-024586-7) is the title of a 1985 children’s book illustrated by Felicia Bond. It is the best-known book written by Laura Numeroff. Its plot deals with a boy named Estuardo who gives a cookie to a mouse. After eating a cookie, the mouse has some milk. Then he decides to clean his face. This starts simply enough, but the mouse keeps getting distracted and is constantly moving on to other projects, leaving unfinished ones behind. In the end, this leads back around to the mouse wanting another cookie and Estuardo being so exhausted that he falls asleep on his desk.

I have taken that story and rewritten it based on my continuing experience in climate solutions advocacy.

If You Ask Your Congressman to be a Climate Hero

“If you ask your congressman to be a climate hero, he’s going to want you to explain urgency.

When you tell him why climate change is urgent, he’ll probably ask you what others are doing about it.

When he’s finished listening to you explain Danish turbines, Chinese solar panels, and Volvo’s zero carbon truck manufacturing plant right here in the USA, he’ll ask you about a transition plan. Then he’ll want to take a good look at that plan to make sure it’s covered all of the bases.

When he looks at the plan, he might notice our economy needs a price signal. So he’ll probably ask you about a carbon tax.

When he’s finished considering the elegance of a carbon tax, he’ll want to write a carbon tax bill. He’ll start writing that bill. He’ll send his staff to visit other congressional offices. He might get carried away and reach across the aisle. He may even end up co-sponsoring that bill with a member of the other party!

When he’s done, he’ll probably want to present that bill to committee. You’ll have to support him as he does

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

with letters to the editor and op-eds in the local papers in his district. He’ll feel comfortable knowing those letters are there. The op-eds will give him political cover. He’ll probably need the newspaper to come out in support of his actions. So you’ll call your new friend on the editorial board, and ask the paper to celebrate the courage of this congressman.

When the editorial page editor writes an article celebrating the congressman’s actions, the congressman will get so excited he’ll want to write one of his own. He’ll ask for paper and a computer. He’ll write his article. When the article is finished, he’ll want to sign his name with a pen. Then he’ll want to send the article to the newspaper. Which means he’ll need their address. He’ll send in his article, they will print it, and he’ll stand back to look at it. Looking at his article in the newspaper will remind him that he’s fighting for the climate.

So… he’ll think about the urgency of climate change. He’ll think about China and Denmark and Volvo. He’ll remember the transition plans. He will connect the dots from a consumer friendly carbon tax to the health, security, and well being his family.

And chances are if he thinks about his family, he’s going to be glad he is a climate hero.”

Elli Sparks was the co-founding member of the Richmond Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby. She is building relationships with members of Congress, their aides, and the local newspaper’s editorial board for the purpose of ensuring her own children’s health, security, and wellbeing. She has since moved from Richmond to Keysville, Virginia. She will be starting a new group there in January with the help of interns from Longwood University. She has passed the Richmond baton to her wonderful friends Dr. Bill Nelson and his wife Judy Nelson, Monica Lewis, Johanna Stoneking, Jim Metz, Richard Taranto (who is the group’s other co-founder), Jordan Grubbs (a wonderful intern from University of Richmond) and others.

In Keysville, Elli has started a biodynamic permaculture farm with her husband, children, and several interns. She will be increasing the carbon sucking capacity of her pastures with mob grazing. She is feeding her family with food they raise and prepare. Her farm is called Sacred Foods Farm. The name comes from the research done by Dr. Weston A. Price and the book he wrote that collected together in one place the food wisdom of our ancestors. It is this wisdom that has helped Elli heal from rheumatoid arthritis and depression.

You are welcome to contact her ( about her work with Citizens Climate Lobby, her farm, or the food wisdom of our ancestors.

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