Climate Action for Parents

Climate Action for Parents

Five easy steps to move from angst to activity
By Vanessa Christie

Let’s get straight to it. The climate crisis is very much here for millions of people and is making many of us feel worried for what kind of a world our kids are inheriting. The images of record-breaking forest fires, droughts, flooding, storms, water shortages and famine might bring up feelings of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, anger or avoidance. We’re facing something huge and any feelings are entirely understandable, particularly if we feel that it’s out of our control.

But here’s the thing. It’s not too late to change the way things are going, the solutions already exist and we CAN all be a part of making sure it happens.

It’s not too late to change the way things are going, the solutions already exist and we CAN all be a part of making sure it happens.

For many people, the phrase ‘climate action’ can seem unattainable, overwhelming and maybe even irrelevant on a personal level. It could conjure up images of digging tunnels, slow walking in the road or, more recently, scaling the roof of one of the Prime Minister’s homes. Whilst non-violent civil disobedience, such as this, has played (and I believe continues to play) a significant role in progressive social and political change, there are also numerous other ways for everyone to get involved.  

When 25% of a population are actively engaged with a specific cause, a tipping point occurs

History has shown that when 25% of a population are actively engaged with a specific cause, a tipping point occurs that creates a cascade towards rapid social and political change. You can be part of making sure this happens by following these 5 easy steps to taking climate action.

  1. Accept that you will feel like a hypocrite and that’s OK!
    We’re all hypocrites in some way. The world doesn’t need a few people taking action perfectly, it needs millions of people taking action imperfectly. Of course, we can all do our bit but we can’t do ALL THE THINGS, ALL OF THE TIME, particularly with the way our systems are set up at the moment. Go easy on yourself.

  2. Listen and Learn.
    Educate yourself by following some climate accounts, such as @earthlyeducation and @mindful_kin on social media, read books/blogs and listen to podcasts. You don’t need to know everything there is to know, just being armed with some facts can significantly help with feeling both motivated to act and more confident to talk (see next step).

  3. Get Talking.
    Talking about the climate crisis is still a bit of a taboo. Help to break it by asking your family, friends, co-workers and the people you follow if they are worried about the climate and consider sharing some climate-related content online. Communication is the absolute cornerstone of creating change and always remember that whichever way these conversations go, they will always be creating ripples out into the pond.

  4. Join a climate action group.
    Try not to feel intimidated to join a group. There are many springing up everywhere and I’ve never heard anyone regret giving it a go. Groups such as Parents For Future UK, are a perfect place for community, support, education and inspiration. Your actions within a group may include getting help to lobby your MP, attending a protest together and/or taking part in local and national activities, campaigns and projects.

  5. Where possible, be the change you want to see.
    Whilst pushing for systemic change is critical (hence why I put joining a group before this point), how we act as individuals is absolutely key. Everything requires resources in some way, whether they are time, money, knowledge, accessibility, space or something else and it’s therefore really important to give yourself some grace, as we can only ever do whatever is manageable for our own circumstances (which takes us back to No. 1!).

    Take a look at these ideas to see which ones could work for you:

    • Switch to a green energy provider

    • Switch to an ethical bank and pension provider

    • Include more plant-based meals in your diet

    • Use public transport where possible and reduce flying

    • Buy or rent second hand clothes, toys, books and almost anything else!

    • Use repair cafes and/or learn how to repair and make things yourself

    • Cut down on single use plastic

    • Be a sustainable gardener with whatever outdoor space you may have

    • Compost your food, cardboard and clippings

    • Buy seasonal and local fruit/veg and grow your own if you have space

    • Update the insulation in your home (check your eligibility for any schemes)

    • Get some solar panels (as with insulation, you may be eligible for assistance)

    • Advocate for any of these changes to be adopted in your local community, school and workplace

    • And of course, switch to reusable products and reusable cloth nappies!

Whatever feels possible for you, just take small steps so it doesn't feel overwhelming. Set yourself some weekly or monthly goals and join up with family or a friend to celebrate each of your wins. Taking climate action feels fantastic so have fun with it!

Vanessa Christie is a former midwife, IBCLC Lactation Consultant, and climate activist. She is a mother of three girls and lives in Kent. Follow Vanessa on Instagram

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