A Climate Motherhood Manifesto

Happy Mother’s Day, CoolMoms! May your little/big ones treat you well today!

Mother’s Day is a great time to reflect on the role of women, especially us moms, in the fight against climate change; I believe bringing our mom voices together, persistently and loudly, may be the most important tool for moving climate progress forward. Why?

  • Women are better than men! When it comes to concern about global warming and supporting action to address it, poll after poll finds women consistently out ahead of men. A 2015 Pew study found women in the U.S. much more likely–17 percentage points!–than men to agree that "global climate change is a serious problem." While women outpaced men in most developed countries surveyed, in no other country was the gap between women and men as great as in the U.S. (I could make a snarky comment here about US men being a bit thick, but I’ll just say our climate really needs our feminine voices!)
    Similarly, recent Washington state polls found women 10 points or more ahead of men in their support for a variety of robust climate actions (e.g., support for wind and solar; protecting forests, etc.). Perhaps best of all, women are far less likely to swallow Big Oil’s misleading messages about sensible climate action. We gals clearly need to lead!
  • Moms rock moral authority! We moms have some serious moral authority regarding the future of the planet, and we need to start throwing it around more.  As in, “Hey elected officials/community leaders! Don’t make me come in there and make you do the right thing!”

With this in mind, my motherly comrades, I present to you:

The Climate and Motherhood Manifesto

Mothers are willing to do a LOT for our kids, to keep them healthy and safe and to give them the best chance for a happy and successful adulthood. It’s what we do every day. Therefore, let it be known that: 

I, Jane CoolMom (name), of Seattle, WA (city), did NOT endure (check all that apply):

□ Morning sickness
□ Those ___ hours of labor
□ The emergency C-section
□ Seemingly never-ending colic
□ Those ___ trips to the ER
□ Agonizing over whether to “Ferberize” or not
□ ___ Hours processing the trauma of Nemo’s mom’s death with my child
□ Reading that same board book over and over and over…
□ Lugging that car seat around when my kid was 20 lbs. but not walking
□; Those endless diapers/spit up/sleepless nights
□ Not being able to go to the bathroom alone for years
□ The Terrible Twos
□ Teenagerhood!
□ Other ____________________________________

…ONLY to stand by now and let global warming destroy my kids’, or any other kids’, $!%@#[email protected]# future! I therefore insist that you, my elected official, commit to the strongest possible climate action now.

Yours very truly,

_______________(your name)

Just in case the manifesto reader doesn’t think I’m serious, I’d add some strong motherly statement at the end, like…

  • Don’t make me come down there and force you to act boldly on climate.
  • I am a climate mom and I vote.
  • My friends and I are mother bears and we will fiercely protect all kids’ healthy future.
  • My kids’ world is NOT going to hell in a handbasket on my watch.
  • Fossil fuels are anti-motherhood.
  • If you don’t act to fight climate change, what do you want me to say to my kids? “Sorry for the unlivable climate, kids, but some people don’t like to pay for new programs and it might have been politically difficult/inconvenient/time-consuming to have saved the planet for you.” Not happening.

What do you think of my Climate and Motherhood Manifesto, gals? What would you add or change? Will you sign? Please send me your thoughts at [email protected]. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

This article was co-publlished with CoolMom.org.

Kathy Washienko's picture
, Climate Solutions

Kathy earned a BA at Harvard College and an MPH at the University of Michigan, before working as a public health researcher in HIV prevention at the University of Washington. While she's had a longtime commitment to ecological stewardship, she kicked her engagement up several notches after seeing "An Inconvenient Truth." As a Senior Partner for Climate Strategies with DC-based consultancy Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions, she spearheaded an effort to create effective, research-based climate messaging materials (climatenarrative.org) and helped organize political donors to call for bolder national climate leadership.  She's been a longtime member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, is on the Board of Washington Women for Climate Action Now, served on Seattle’s Green Ribbon Commission, and is a member of Element 8, a clean-tech angel investor group. She co-founded two local "green teams" and personally gathered over 500 signatures to qualify Washington state’s clean energy initiative for the ballot.   She is raising two teenage daughters and, while she'd be doing this work with or without kids, she feels especially committed to it because of them.