I’ll admit it: I grumbled to myself all the way to the airport to attend yet another conference on climate change — the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. What more is there to say — it is time for action!
But there’s plenty to say, it turns out: Quite a lot about the developing science on extreme weather, the warming of the Atlantic, the slowing of the jet streams that keeps super-charged storms in place for so long that thousand-year floods happen far more frequently. Our hearts go out to all our friends and members in North and South Carolina, who are suffering from just such conditions even as I write.
And as well: all the amazing work being done by large cities around the world— and in the U.S. — to cut carbon emissions from our power sources, our transportation systems, and the buildings in which we live and work.
This work is being shared by mayors in cities from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh and beyond, who decided, once Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris Agreement, that they were still in. They have committed to transforming their cities to fight climate pollution.
Many of these mayors are part of the C40 cities program – a network of 90 cities representing more than 650 million people and one quarter of the global economy. One after another, they spoke compellingly about how the solutions they’re putting in place are improving public health. How they are creating thousands of jobs. How they are making their economies more vibrant. How they’re making their cities more livable.
I’m also happy to report that mayors the world over know about you, and what a difference you are making. Several mayors invited Moms Clean Air Force to consult with them on how to bring our model to other countries, and build the movement of moms fighting for climate solutions.
I was thrilled to join a panel hosted by Moms Clean Air Force called “Climate Action is Female” to discuss the ways women are taking action in their communities to fight for climate action. Early on Friday morning, the room was full of people who had travelled from near and far, wanting to learn about the power of women and moms.
The personal high point for me? Listening to Harrison Ford — looking like an Old Testament prophet, shaggy beard, piercing eyes, powerfully gesturing fingers — admonish us: all the work we do in cities, all the clean buses and carbon-free power and energy efficiency we put in place, won’t amount to anything if we don’t have healthy, intact, vibrant forests and clean oceans. Do not forget nature, he said, over and over again.
I often talk about how, when I started Moms Clean Air Force, I wanted to change the conversation from polar bears to people. We have succeeded in that, beyond my wildest dreams. Everyone, from our past president on down, now acknowledges and studies and reports on the impact of climate change on children’s health. But now, I want to amend my thinking. Harrison Ford is correct. Climate change is dangerous for all living creatures, polar bear or person. We are all in this together.
Thank you for all you do for our communities and our children,
At the summit, Moms hosted a powerful panel of powerhouse women leading the way towards climate action in their cities. You can watch the livestream here to learn about how women are turning the tide.