Mother’s Day is an opportunity to step into action
A growing group of California moms are following in the footsteps of JuliaWard Howe
Mother’s Day is understandably a time when many moms relax, as their partners or kids serve them breakfast in bed and pamper them for the day in appreciation for all they contribute.
However, for a growing group of California moms, Mother’s Day is a time not to kick back but rather to step into action. Following in the footsteps of Julia Ward Howe, whose fiery proclamation launched a Mothers’ Peace Day in 1870, they are reclaiming the original purpose of the holiday as a call to action for mothers to protect all children.
Howe focused on the threat of war, but these moms are focusing on an even bigger, more in- sidious threat: climate destabilization. Aware that more than 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree conclusively that climate change is occurring and is driven largely by human activity, these mothers are mobilizing to preserve a livable climate for all children.
They know that if we continue to burn fossil fuels at current rates, we will cross irreversible tipping points leading to dangerous sea level rise, extreme weather events, wildfires, the spread of disease, drought, food shortages and wars over scarce resources. Not the kind of world we want to leave to our kids, is it?
So what are these mothers doing about this threat? In a word, they are organizing.
Part of a powerful national movement of mothers, grandmothers and other caregivers called Mothers Out Front, they are driving climate action on the local level, bringing pressure to bear on elected officials to hasten a swift, complete and just transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.
Case in point: Last spring, the Mothers Out Front South Bay Team played a pivotal role in convincing the San Jose City Council to adopt Community Choice Energy — a cost-effective way to source our electricity from more renewable sources. This spring, they have mobilized public support for SB 100, the California CA Clean Energy Act, which would accelerate the state’s transition to 100 percent zero-carbon energy.
And now, Mothers Out Front around California have enthusiastically joined the Brown’s Last Chance campaign, the nonprofit coalition calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to be the true climate hero he aspires to be. While these moms appreciate Brown’s tough talk on climate change, they want to see tough action as well.
They know that California is one of the top oil producing states in the country and the only state to allow oil drilling in close proximity to homes, schools, and other sensitive sites without even a minimum set-back requirement. They are alarmed that the state allows agricultural companies to use oil drilling wastewater to irrigate crops, even foods labeled organic. And they are appalled by the environmental racism that leads to oil drilling and refining taking place predomi- nantly in communities of color, causing major health impacts on already vulnerable populations.
So Mothers Out Front urge everyone who wants bold climate action and environmental justice to sign a petition calling on Brown to use his final months in office to take truly transformational action on climate. And they invite mothers, grandmothers and others to participate in the Global Day of Climate Action on Sept. 8 in San Francisco and around the world.
Because yes, flowers and chocolate are wonderful. But a healthy environment today and a livable climate tomorrow for all children? That’s priceless.