Author and respected climate activist Mary DeMocker has some thoughts about the mainstream narrative on climate change.
For a start, the approach we hear the most—from the government, from many schools, from magazines and other popular media—is all wrong. Climate change is not unavoidable, although we’re rapidly heading toward a point where we might not be able to fix things. Climate change is indeed primarily caused by human activity. And, fortunately, there’s much the average individual can do to help, both in communities and on a grander scale, and it goes far beyond shorter showers and new lightbulbs.
The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution is the book we all need right now. Every one of us—we can all agree that we deserve clean air, water, and soil, and our children deserve a healthier future. So many of us want things to change, but for so long we’ve felt mostly alone, and almost completely powerless. But this book presents truly actionable ideas for anyone wanting to be that change.
Want to join a group? DeMocker drops the names of different organizations all throughout the pages, groups for kids and groups for families, politically-minded groups and community-building groups. No groups near you? Start your own. Help your kids start a club at school. When you’re in it with a group, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of others who care—and if you create the group, you’ll be surprised by the num- ber of people who want to join you. Interested in supporting these groups, but not quite ready to jump in yourself? Financial backing helps a lot, too!
Don’t think you have enough time to be an activist? DeMocker offers many suggestions that take less than an hour, or even just a few minutes. Call your congressional representatives — there are apps that can help you find yours, and they even provide simple scripts to use when speaking with whoever answers the phone. DeMocker provides the names of YouTube videos that can help readers understand complex topics, songs to bring the family together, books you can read with your children, and books you can read yourself (or listen to in the car). Turn everyday times more productive by being more intentional during family meals or road trips, or by volunteering on vacations or holidays, or by simply choosing different movies for Friday night.
DeMocker also spends some time tackling all those things we’re told we should do to save the planet. Considering buying an electric vehicle? That’s a great thing to do, but if you can’t do it without taking out a loan, maybe hold on to your current ride until you can save up to buy outright—and use the time while you’re pumping gas to lobby your Senators. Desperate to develop a green thumb? Growing your own food is great, but it’s also okay if gardening just isn’t your thing. Consider joining a CSA or food co-op instead, and use your extra time to push for change on a bigger level. Not interested in going vegan? Eat more (but not necessarily only) plants, and then raise your voice — and your wallet — in support of healthier agricultural practices.
At the same time, don’t think that the “little things” we’re always told to do have no value. Sometimes, changing that lightbulb is all you feel you can do (and it definitely does help!). It’s great to convert your lawn to native plants. Public protests, small and large, really do get the attention of government officials. And sometimes, the little things help in ways you may not have even considered.
Walking or biking to school and work does cut down on car emissions, it’s true, but doing so also improves our own health. It helps build community between neighbors and classmates. It might give you a deeper drive to work for more bike lanes or safer sidewalks in your city.
Buying things used, be it clothes or cars or furniture, does cut down on overall waste and help keep things out of landfills. But it also saves you money and maybe enables you to instead save toward a bigger, even greener purchase. It keeps us out of debt. It helps us break free of the overspending consumerist trap, that desire to always have the newest and shiniest or whatever-our- neighbors-have-been-bragging-about thing.
The fact of the matter is that there truly are things everyone can do to make a difference here. Whether you’re a social butterfly or extremely shy, well-off or strapped for cash, new in town or already firmly entrenched in your community, there are steps YOU can take. DeMocker’s book will help open your eyes to some of those things.
The ideas in this book are guaranteed to get readers fired up. You’ll want to invite your neighbors over to create an emergency preparedness plan, or have a picnic, or share favorite documentaries. You’ll want to tear down the fences in your neighborhood to more easily facilitate free-play for the kids and friendships between the parents. You’ll want to visit the officials in your city to see how they’re preparing for the future. You may even want to run for local office yourself.
The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution is a book that you’ll reach for again and again. Whether you read it all in one go or pick at it a chapter at a time, the ideas in here aren’t going to get old anytime soon. DeMocker is a true force for change, and her ideas will help you become one, too.