One hundred years from now, what will historians say was the pivotal date in our response to climate change? Although you could make a case for the last year’s Paris Agreement, I think it might be September 21, 2014. That’s when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of New York City (and around the world) for the first People’s Climate March. Our refrain was “to change everything, we need everyone,” and the streets of New York City that day gave us a glimpse of what that might look like.
But… we’re not there yet. Our single biggest challenge isn’t reducing carbon emissions, developing renewable energy, preparing for the consequences of extreme weather, or ensuring a just transition to a clean energy economy. Those are all important, but what will make them possible is building a climate movement that really does include everyone. We need to do that swiftly, and we need to do it while fighting the riptides of inequality, divisiveness, fear, and suspicion.
I believe we can, but not if we focus on our differences. Instead, let’s look to what connects all of us as human beings. Values such as faith, family, and fairness offer the common ground where people can stand together. That search for common ground is why I’m so happy to welcome my friends at Climate Parents to the Sierra Club as one of our newest programs.
Climate Parents was founded four years ago on the simple premise that if you care about children then you also care about their future. Since then, Climate Parents has mobilized diverse parents and families across the country — both on the ground (yes, they were at the People’s Climate March) and online — for clean energy and climate solutions. By helping parents make the connection between protecting the climate and their kids’ future, Climate Parents is bringing the most powerful force in the world to our movement: unconditional love.
As both a father and an activist, I know that having Climate Parents as part of the Sierra Club is going to make our organization stronger and our movement more inclusive. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, Climate Parents wants to help you raise your voice for kids and the climate that will be their future. When parents and families everywhere begin to see taking action on climate as part of their job description, everything really will change.
For an example of a Climate Parents action, see their letter to Sasha and Malia’s dad asking him to take five important climate actions during his final months in office — and add your name.