Parents Exchange for Change
For many parents, our days are filled with putting food on the table, wrestling limbs, into snow gear and checking in on school work. Often our busy lives prevent us from taking a leading role on the larger issues at play in the world in which we are raising our children. Many parents share a profound sense of despair in the face of climate change, yet feel powerless to act. By building “Mother Up!: Parents Exchange for Change,” we at 350VT are engaging parents to take action in both their own communities and those most affected by the fossil fuel industry. We believe parents are powerful voices in fighting for the health and safety of our collective future.
The name “Mother Up!” was inspired by Sun Dance Chief Rueben George, who, on behalf of his First Nation, was a co-coordinator of the fight against the Kinder Morgan proposed tar sands oil pipeline and tanker expansion. Chief Rueben’s mother, Amy George, a Tsleil-Waututh elder, told him to warrior up! In the fall of 2014, activists from Rising Tide Seattle were granted permission to adapt this phrase to “Mother Up!” and we have been granted permission to extend its use here in Vermont. Solidarity in action!
As a climate justice movement, we must make sincere efforts to be inclusive to families and to actively seek out the voices of parents in all aspects of our work. “Mother Up!” is intended as a verb – to mother – as opposed to a noun. We believe that “mothering” the Earth by all people and genders is part of the solution. The subheading of “Parents Exchange for Change” denotes our mission to be inclusive.
Our vision is to build locally-based parent networks across Vermont that not only participate in climate justice work, but also become leaders in it. We will support these groups by providing leadership development, educational opportunities and logistical support.
As a tool to facilitate one-on-one conversations with Vermont parents, we began with a survey that asked parents to reflect on their family structure, the challenges that they face as parents, and what climate change means to them. Nearly one hundred parents participated from Southern & Central Vermont, in addition to Chittenden County. The results of the survey were used to understand common concerns, chart existing parent networks within communities, and to identify potential parent leaders.
If you’re a parent, join us at an upcoming event or meet-up (listed below). You can also join our active Facebook group, which currently has nearly 500 members.
For Burlington and Chittenden County, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For Montpelier and Central VT , contact email@example.com
For Brattleboro and Southern VT, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming 2017 Meet-Ups, which include a vegetarian meal and childcare:
February 3 (and 1st Fridays) from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Montpelier, North Branch Nature Center
February 9 (and 2nd Thursdays) from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, First UU Society of Burlington