The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep ペーパーバック – 2018/4/17
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“Relax,” writes author Mary DeMocker, “this isn’t another light bulb list. It’s not another overwhelming pile of parental ‘to dos’ designed to shrink your family’s carbon footprint through eco-superheroism.” Instead, DeMocker lays out a lively, empowering, and doable blueprint for engaging families in the urgent endeavor of climate revolution. In this book’s brief, action-packed chapters, you’ll learn hundreds of wide-ranging ideas for being part of the revolution — from embracing simplicity parenting, to freeing yourself from dead-end science debates, to teaching kids about the power of creative protest, to changing your lifestyle in ways that deepen family bonds, improve moods, and reduce your impact on the Earth. Engaging and creative, this vital resource is for everyone who wants to act effectively — and empower children to do the same.
Relax — this isn’t another light bulb list. It’s not another overwhelming pile of parental “to dos” designed to shrink your family’s carbon footprint through eco-superheroism. In fact, drop that light bulb. Stop recycling. Get off your bike, stop gardening, leave your cloth bag in the SUV, and bring hamburgers to the family picnic. Let your faucets leak, leave your windows open with the heat on, and for heaven’s sake, don’t hang your laundry.
Busy parents — along with everyone else — have been told for years that individual lifestyle changes can stop the climate from spinning out of control, but the truth is they can’t. Not by themselves, anyway. This book kicks aside that great myth so we can refocus our efforts on actions that can accomplish what those lifestyle actions intend: to build a livable future.
The Climate Crisis Is a Parenting Problem
First, though, let’s get clear on one thing: The climate crisis is really a parenting problem. Here’s why: We have a problem of too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, right? And they’re making the Earth heat up dangerously. So, we need to stop adding more gases and reel back in the ones already out there. Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions isn’t complicated. It’s not easy, but it’s do-able. In fact, it takes only two steps:
Stop Stupid. Start Smart. To stop Stupid, we simply cease burning fossil fuels. Stop deforestation. Stop farming and ranching in ways that unleash carbon. Stop releasing refrigerant gases and methane. Those are the big-ticket items.
To start Smart, we massively expand solar, wind, and wave power, conservation, tree planting, carbon farming, methane capture, local resilience, and more. And we sequester, price, and regulate carbon.
All this requires is a simple switch in mind-set: Turn off Stupid, turn on Smart. Totally do-able. Except that there are madmen in charge who block Smart because they get richer with Stupid.
That’s it. It’s really that simple. Like drunken teens, adults who should know better don’t want their carbon kegger to end.
Most parents, when it comes to their own kids, know how to close down an out-of-control party. They assert authority. They shut off the tap, make everyone clean up and go home, and make new rules to avoid a repeat. We should have done this decisively when we found out in 1988 that burning coal, oil, and gas was cooking our planet. Instead, we let the party continue. We didn’t powerfully confront the self-serving denials and lies — the people who said, and still say, “Global warming isn’t real, and even if it were, it’s certainly not our fault.” We’ve been permissive with Uncle Sam and Exxon for way too long, and things have gotten so far out of hand that we’re facing our own — or, worse, our children’s — annihilation. And yes, I mean that word. It’s really that serious.
That means that, right now, we need to do more than just assert our rightful authority. What’s required is full-scale climate revolution.
Revolution may sound extreme, but I’m not suggesting we grab our muskets for an armed insurrection. The climate revolution I’m talking about seeks fundamental political, cultural, and technological changes. And it’s already going full steam. It’s also fun and rich with potential for personal connection — which is the only kind of revolution that’s going to work, frankly. Plus, this revolution is taking place everywhere, all over the world, which makes it easy to join.
What does this climate revolution look like? It’s solar farms in Nevada, Danish bicycle highways, and defiant governors upholding the Paris climate agreement in their states.
It’s fracking bans, mayors helping fifth-graders pass climate laws, and New Yorkers paid to reduce their electric use.
It’s biogas composters in refugee camps, grandparents moving retirement funds from frackers to wind farmers, and Pacific Islanders in canoes blocking coal shipments.
It’s college students designing sustainable police stations, climate literacy in public schools, and nuns building chapels in the path of pipelines. It’s South African clerics marching with indigenous leaders, zero-waste apartment complexes, and parents peacefully blocking oil trains running past their homes. It’s the Cowboy-Indian Alliance — a group of US ranchers and Native Americans fighting pipelines on their lands together. The climate revolution is about behaving like mature global citizens. It’s that simple. And the solutions, though sometimes difficult, are equally simple: Keep fossil fuels in the ground, drastically cut emissions, and transition quickly to clean, renewable energy. To do this, we can embrace the technology that author Bill McKibben says we need most: “The technology of community — the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.”
That kind of community invites everyone’s participation. You don’t need a physics degree, wealth, or connections to celebrities, senators, or CEOs to save the planet. All you need is a beating heart and a desire for authentic solutions.
To be clear, the “climate” I’m talking about refers to our atmosphere, yes, but it includes much more. Each of us inhabits multiple climates — the climate of our individual body and its health; the climate of our home, relationships, neighborhood, school, and job; and our national political and cultural climate. We each have a right to feel safe within all of these climates — a right to a safe workplace, good health care, safe shelter, and freedom from violence and oppression. We have a right to healthy air, soil, and water. And all present and future generations have a right to a livable planet.
All of these climates are deeply interconnected. They’re also all badly threatened today — so much so that, in 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical letter addressed to every person on the planet decrying income inequity, war, and degradation of the Earth, “our only home.” He spelled out how climate destruction disproportionately punishes the poorest and most vulnerable of the world, and he called for a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. He then issued a thunderous call for a “bold cultural revolution.” Revolution! From a pope!
He gave us a clear moral directive for revolution, but perhaps not being a family man, he was a bit short on the details of exactly how parents might go about waging it. Now, I don’t claim to be writing the road map, but I hope this can be a road map that will help all of us, particularly parents, navigate our way. The worldwide climate revolution boasts no savior or silver-bullet solution. Instead, it’s made up of millions of assertions of authority over our own futures that, taken together, are transforming our societies on every level. That kind of transformation requires many maps, and this is the family-friendly one with plentiful games and snacks to sweeten the journey.
So, so often, I find myself thinking, "What in the holy HELL can I actually do to make a DIFFERENCE in the world?"
Mary gives us some sound, realistic, practical advice.
This book is on sale as I type, so if you buy one book this year, treat yourself to this one.