Climate Change Education from Home

I’ve been with Climate Generation for over five years. Where does the time go?!?

I started as an Education Intern after being an 8th-grade earth science teacher for five years. (Shout out to all the teachers out there…woot!) I am so lucky to have been able to continue on after my internship as Education Coordinator and then Climate Change Education Manager.

Over the years I have done some amazing work and got to work with some very talented professionals. Next Generation Climate was published in 2017 and has been downloaded by hundreds of teachers around the country. We partnered with Minneapolis Public Schools for the past two years to bring “Green STEM” to their STEM & Career Exploration Expo. I have presented at numerous conferences to teachers from all over the world. But my proudest moments have happened when teachers share how they are using our curriculum and how they are teaching climate change. Thank you teachers!

Next month starts a new chapter for me, one without daily staff lunches and writing curriculum.

My husband Travis and I recently welcomed a beautiful little boy into the world and I have decided to stay home with him. That adorable little face has such a strong pull on me. I’m so excited to take care of him and raise him to be a kind and loving little gentleman.

But that doesn’t mean the climate change education stops.

Unbeknownst to me, I realized I am unable to leave this work. It has become a part of me and I will continue to educate students, teachers, and those around me about the importance of action on climate change for the rest of my life.

Shall I do some climate change education right now? Here goes…

Climate change is happening because of the increased amount of greenhouse gases we have released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, filling up landfills, eating far too much meat, and burning our forests. In order to lessen the effects of climate change, we need to stop using fossil fuels, live zero waste, and protect our forests (by planting more trees, eating less beef, and using more sustainable alternatives to wood/paper products). I could go on, but nap time around here only lasts so long.

There is so much that people can do.

I’ve always been a “list person”, so here is a list I would like to share with you about ways my family practices solutions to climate change (in no particular order):

  • Our son is wearing cloth diapers.
    • In the U.S. and Europe, plastic diapers are one of the largest categories of nonbiodegradable items in landfill sites.
  • We buy renewable energy from Xcel Energy.
    • The Windsource program is easy to sign up for and is an inexpensive way to tell your utility company that renewable energy is important to you. Check out your area for similar programs.
  • We shop local (farmers markets, the co-op, my mom’s vegetable garden).
    • Our local co-op (Eastside in NE Minneapolis) carries local, organic products, has a robust bulk aisle, and supports smaller, environmentally-friendly companies.
  • We shop in bulk. This doesn’t just mean Costco (because there is a lot of plastic involved there). I’m talking “bring your own containers to the grocery store” bulk.
  • We are a 1-car family (and it’s a hybrid).
    • Now this only works if you work from home and/or live close to what you need. But it’s saving us money and carbon emissions.
  • We vote for candidates that will fix this problem. The democratic candidates are much more likely to understand the impacts of climate change and introduce and vote for legislation that will do something about it. We also call our elected officials to let them know they must #actonclimate.
  • We recycle, but more importantly, we compost!
  • We wash our laundry in cold water.
    • It may be a small thing, but that’s a lot of hot water saved. And could save you around $60/year verses washing in warm water.
  • I don’t eat beef and haven’t since 2008.

I could keep going, but alas, nap time is ending. You are probably taking part in climate change solutions without even knowing it. Keep practicing those good habits that use less fossil fuels, produce less waste, and are better alternatives to the status quo of products out there.

People can see the changes around them on a local level.

We need to continue to connect the dots for people about how these changes are a result of climate change. My climate change concerns over the years will likely be focused on my little one. Is it too hot for soccer practice? Is this lake safe for swimming (no blue-green algae)? So, my work to educate those around me will continue. Conversations with his teachers, coaches, and other parents will be the norm. I hope you are having those conversations, too.

To all the climate change activists, educators, and policy makers out there…keep working! We need all sizes of action — from the international to the household level. Keep talking about it, keep pushing, and we will solve this!

To my co-workers and friends at Climate Generation: I see you. You are doing important work and I will be here cheering you on and sharing your work as you help the world engage in solutions to climate change.

 

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