We are the patriots. We are the nurturers, the breadwinners, the boo-boo soothers. (Tweet this) We dream about the future, because we are watching the future grow up before our eyes. And we fight the nightmares, because we can’t stand to see fear in our children’s faces.
Last week, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement.
I am devastated by this corrupt, myopic decision. But I got up this morning, and hugged my kids, and made the lunches, and checked that the bike helmet was on, and checked that the homework was packed, and asked for the cereal bowl to be cleared, and kissed my children goodbye, and told them to have a good day, and said that I loved them.
That’s my job, as a mom. To carry on, with love.
Once, many years ago, I was home with my babies when someone tried to break into my house. I remember the sound of the intruder pounding on the back door as he tried to get in. While I frantically gathered my kids in one room, I could feel that back door pounding in every cell of my body. It was the loudest sound I had ever heard.
I’ve been thinking about that pounding on the door, because I have the same feeling today.
When my children are threatened, I respond. I protect. I fight back.
Trump has withdrawn America from the global climate agreement endorsed by every nation except Syria and Nicaragua. (Poor Nicaragua, getting lumped in with Syria and the US. Nicaragua rejected the agreement because it didn’t go far enough to slash greenhouse gas emissions.)
Parents of America, it’s time. Hear the pounding on the door. Feel it in every cell, feel it in your hearts.
There are those who are saying, it’s Game Over for the climate now. By exiting the Paris agreement, we have blown our chance to meaningfully respond to this global crisis. But parents know: our kids will continue to grow and learn and live. We get up, we study, we work, and we do our best as a family. The game isn’t over, not by a long shot. Our kids are still here, and it’s our job to take care of them.
Trump’s decision is painful. It grates against the moral leanings, the deepest wishes, the most cherished values of my soul. You see, I went to Paris in 2015. I was there to join parent groups from around the world, and to represent you, American Parents. We gathered to observe the negotiations. We showed up to highlight that parents everywhere were watching. We showed up to assert that climate change was not just happening to the Earth, it was also happening to us. It was time to respond as if our children’s very lives depended upon it – which they do, actually.
We hugged, cried, and, yes, raised a few glasses of wine, when the agreement was finalized. Almost every nation on Earth had come together to solve this problem in the only way that is possible – globally. It wasn’t everything needed, not by a long shot (Nicaragua, we hear you) but it was an essential, absolutely necessary step toward the future we want. And as such, it was a gift for my children, and for yours.
Now, that moment of celebration feels like a precious firefly, gone dark. And there is a thunderous pounding on the door.
Climate change is real, it’s happening now, and it will get worse, unless we do something about it. There is no more important stakeholder in this problem than our children — all children.
When the seas rise, when the storms hit, when the air pollution spikes, when the mosquitoes and ticks colonize new areas, when the crops falter and the droughts squeeze our water supplies, that will be our children out there in the future, breathing, loving, surviving, struggling, wondering.
Wondering: Why didn’t they do something about this problem when there was still time?
Climate change is a complex, global problem. That means that we need a collective response to it. The only way to get that is to demand it of our leaders. If they can’t provide it, well then, let’s get us some new ones – or become the leaders we need, at every single level of government, at every single election.
We know how to dream about the future, because we are the parents. We are the patriots, protecting our kids, our communities, and our beautiful country. Let’s do this.