You and me, kid, we can save the world

To my five-year-old son,

You asked me why I’ve been working so hard on the Mother’s Day Climate Rally. (Which is happening TOMORROW, rain or shine.) Like the other moms and dads in NOVA Climate, I believe the best thing I can do as a parent is to protect you. To fight for you. To make sure you have a good future. By the time you’re my age, the year will be 2051. I don’t know what the planet will look like. And that scares me.

Today, it’s obvious that nature is changing too fast, too much. Of course, nature is not the culprit. We are. Humans. Your parents, your grandparents, and so many generations who came before us. We’ve been selfish and careless. We’ve forgotten to think about the future. We’ve screwed up the environment with our plastic water bottles and our massive landfills, and most of all, our fossil fuels. Now, humanity is experiencing some effects of climate change. But if we don’t make real changes, soon, our Earth in 2051 may look very different from our Earth in 2018. I have to fight for your future. There’s no other reasonable choice, for me or any adult. We have to choose the Earth. We have to choose our children’s future. What I’m fighting for: I want you to share these four experiences with your own kids, c. 2051.

1. Hikes in the woods, among the trees and the bluebells, deer peeking out at you through the brush, birdsong floating all around us.

Hiking with my son along the Potomac

I want you and your kids to love to explore the woods. Climate change causes droughts and forest fires. It threatens our whole eco-system in countless ways, endangering too many species, particularly bees and butterflies and other pollinators (which are vital to our eco-system). That’s not acceptable to me. I will fight for your future forests.

2. Fun at the beach.

My mom and me at the beach in 1982

The beach is my favorite thing in the world, other than you and your dad. I am in awe of the vastness of the ocean. As I dig my toes into the sand, I feel connected to the Earth. Like I belong. I want you to have those long, lazy summer days at the beach, swimming and body surfing, stretching out on a towel to read a book, and building sandcastle after sandcastle. But climate change threatens beaches, with tides rising and coastlines eroding, whole cities disappearing. That’s not acceptable to me. I will fight for your future beach days.

3. Snow.

My son's first snowfall

I remember taking you out in the snow for the first time. It was magical. I want you to have that same magic with your children. But as temperatures soar, winters in many parts of the world will be under siege. Winter freezes could shrink or disappear. That’s not acceptable to me. I will fight for your future snowball fights.

4. Lazy summer days.

My husband teaching our son how to climb a tree

I want you to love summer as much as I do. It’s my favorite season. I love to lie outside in the sun, to feel the sunlight soaking into my skin. I love that warmth. Summer is your favorite too. You say, “I like it hot.” But if we do nothing, your favorite season could become miserable, oppressive. You might not want to climb trees with your kids. That’s not acceptable to me. I will fight for your future long days of summer.

I will fight like hell to make sure you have those experiences. The good news is that it’s not too late. We can change our ways. We can give you a wonderful future. We can demand clean energy. We can conserve energy. And recycle. And compost. And clean up litter. And eat less meat. And use public transportation. And drive cars that pollute less. All these big and little choices make a difference. If every person on the planet does his or her part, we can give you a beautiful, healthy planet in 2051. And along the way, we can teach our children how to make good choices, how to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. You and me kid, we can save the world.

We just have to try.

We have to be willing to work hard.

We have to show up.

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