Presidential Candidates: Which Way Will You Lead Us?

BY ON October 3, 2012
Moms Clean Air Force and Climate Parents billboard asking the Presidential Candidate's their plans to tackle the climate crisis and lead this country into a new era of energy-efficiency.

Moms Clean Air Force and Climate Parents billboard asking the Presidential Candidate’s their plans to tackle the climate crisis and lead this country into a new era of energy-efficiency.


We were so excited when the team at Climate Parents approached Moms Clean Air Force and asked us to co-sponsor a rally and billboard in Denver before the first Presidential debate. Our collective goal was to send a strong message that parents want to know what the Presidential Candidate’s plans are to tackle the climate crisis and lead this country into a new era of energy-efficiency. Lisa Hoyos, from Climate Parents graciously provides a wonderful recount of the event:

Climate Parents, Lisa Hoyos leading a rally.

Climate Parents, Lisa Hoyos leading the rally.

 

On Monday afternoon, two days before the Presidential debate, dozens
 of Colorado parents and kids gathered in the heart of downtown Denver 
to call on the presidential candidates to explain their plans to
 reduce fossil fuel emissions, rapidly scale up clean energy, and
 protect our children from the climate-change fueled fires, floods, and
 storms that are increasingly wracking our nation. The rally, sponsored 
by Moms Clean Air Force and Climate Parents – and supported by 
groups like the 350.org action fund, the Alliance for Climate
 Education, and the Sierra Club — featured the unveiling of a colorful
 billboard picturing a young girl asking presidential candidates,
 “Which way will you lead us?” — toward climate crisis or 
climate solutions?

As a parent of a seven year-old and a four year-old, climate change looms
 large in my mind as a serious threat to their future. I’ve
 talked to enough parents who feel the same way to understand that 
we’re a constituency primed to be more actively engaged in
 fighting climate change. Standing underneath our billboard in Denver,
 I felt a strong sense of hope and possibility, mostly inspired by the
 wisdom of the kids participating in our event. A Colorado high 
school senior, Tehya Brown said, “As a first time voter, my
 vote will go to the candidate who displays the greatest and most 
genuine concern for clean energy, sustainable jobs, and environmental
 education.”

Xiuhtexcatl Martinez speaks at a rally

“The survival of our generation is at stake because of the lack of action
on climate change.” ~ Xiuhtexcatl Martinez, 12 yrs old

 

Her sentiments were echoed by Xiuhtexcatl Martinez,
 whose climate activism career spans half of his twelve years. He
 crystallized the message of our rally when he said, “The
 survival of our generation is at stake because of the lack of action
 on climate change. Neither of the candidates are taking climate change 
seriously, and it’s the biggest threat we face as a human 
race.” After throwing down that level of wisdom, Xiuhetexcatl
 and his little brother Itzcuauhtli proceeded to perform two climate-themed rap songs 
they wrote themselves.

While the emotional power of these young people’s voices was
 unmistakable, our gathering of parents and kids was not short on
 political analysis. We talked about the billions of dollar spent by the coal and 
oil lobbies to keep us dependent on oil and gas, and to slow the shift 
to clean energy that our country and our climate so desperately need. We 
talked about this corporate influence being a prime reason that 
Governor Romney mocked even caring about climate change in his
 convention speech. And we discussed why President Obama—who clearly 
understands the threat it poses–still promotes an “all of the
 above” energy strategy that includes expanded oil, gas 
drilling and even so-called “clean coal.”

Pamela Campos speaks at the rally

“My son and I watched the fires burning our mountains in
August. From one mother to two fathers, what will you do to protect
our mountains?” ~ Pamela Campos

 

Anyone who has spent time in Colorado this year knows that the dangers 
of climate change are here and now. Which is why, Pamela Campos, a representative of
 Moms Clean Air Force, while holding her three-year-old, aimed a
 question directly at President Obama and Governor Romney, saying,
 “My son and I watched the fires burning our mountains in 
August. From one mother to two fathers, what will you do to protect 
our mountains?”

Peter Sawtell, the father of a grown son and an ordained minister who
serves as the Executive Director of Eco-Justice Ministries, told the
 crowd, “People always say we should think about what kind of
 world we want to leave to our kids. We need to flip the premise and
 ask what kind of world do our kids have the right to expect from 
us?…I will vote for the candidate who demonstrates he really takes that question seriously.”

It’s fair to say that everyone over the age of six who rallied
 at our billboard knows that we’ve got an uphill battle on our 
hands, and that our success depends on a sense of urgency at every
 level of government. We also acknowledged that we’re still
 waiting on the Presidential Candidates to outline their comprehensive 
plans to fight climate change. The debate cycle gives them 
three opportunities to accomplish that task.

In the meantime, Moms Clean Air ForceClimate Parents, and our allies 
will keep keep pressing the candidates to
 give us their plan to end the climate crisis. It will only work if thousands join us, so please add
 your voice and help us build a base of parents large enough and
 powerful enough to move the political needle on climate change.

Thank you, Lisa. And thank you to everyone who helped make this incredible event a success! Please help us ask the candidates how they would tackle the climate crisis and lead us into a clean air future.

People at the rally hold sign of MCAF billboardWe urge you to sign these two petitions right now:

MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE: TELL THE PRESIDENT TO GIVE US A PLAN FOR GLOBAL WARMING

CLIMATE PARENTS: Tell the Candidates: Our Kids Deserve to Hear a Plan for Fighting Climate Change

Photos: Drew Carlson

TOPICS: Activism, African-American Community, Coal, Dads, Heat and Extreme Weather, Latino Community, Motherhood, Renewable Energy, Social Justice