Mothers Out Front is proud to support the youth leaders in their fight for a livable climate. As an organization whose focus is a just transition to a clean energy economy for the sake of all children, we support the youth in their role as leaders in the climate strikes. Mothers Out Front is building a parent constituency group that will be a major presence at the youth led climate strikes in April 2020.
This toolkit is to help parents find ways to plug in to existing organizations that provide opportunities for parents and other adults to lead on climate. We stand in solidarity with the youth of today and will continue to fight for a livable climate for all children.
Roadmap for Parents: My kids are involved, now what?
How do I support my kids?
Understand Why Youth Want To Be Involved:
Youth understand the climate crisis in ways that many adults do not. Young people are connected to information in ways we could not even imagine when we were teens. They have experienced extreme weather, seen communities suffer, and they understand the science. They are deeply worried about climate change and when they look ahead they do not see a bright future.
As parents we worry about our children. We plan our lives around their education, health and wellbeing. Naturally, it makes us concerned when they are worried. The youth are taking leadership roles and striking because they need to do something productive. In order to exert some control over their future, youth have organized Global Climate strikes. They have raised awareness of the climate crisis in a powerful, visual way.
Yes, we wish they were in school. Yet, we want to encourage them to act productively with other youth to achieve a livable climate future. This movement is teaching them invaluable skills that include: leadership, teamwork, political science, climate science, communication, regulation, etc. So let's support them in taking safe, legal steps to reach their goals! And then take our own leadership roles in this critical issue of our time.
Below are some links to resources that will help provide perspectives on climate change, the rise of the youth movement, and how to support youth leaders.
How to talk to kids about climate change & climate activism (click the link on each title):
Conversations - Feelings about our climate crisis run high. Practice open-ended questions with active listening. For instance, you might ask “How do you see climate change impacting your future?” We’ve heard youth say that they won’t bring children into a world like this. These conversations will be challenging, but keeping the lines of communication open is crucial.
Support Actions for Parents
- How to be a Good Ally to Youth Activists - The youth may need your support as they build their actions. As adults we can help them with things they may not be old enough to do (i.e. with rentals, signatures, advocacy to school boards, etc.)
Here are some ways to help before, during and after the strike:
- Support youth leadership (click for more)
- Helping kids get places
- Asking school districts to support the strikes by excusing students who want to participate from school (click here for a sample email/letter)
- Online action—amplifying our youth's voice
- Showing up to strike
- Providing spaces for meetings
- Donating money/resources
- Signing for space or other needs that require an adult
- Sponsoring youth who need a place to stay
- Providing healthy treats as youth board the bus/train/cars on way to strikes
How do I become an activist myself?
- Don't let the word scare you. Becoming an activist in a way that works for you will show your kids that you honor their concerns about the climate and are willing to take action. When we work with other parents on climate change, we find hope and community. Both of these are essential to having the strength to fight something as critical and urgent as the climate crisis.
Here are some ways to get involved:
- Connect with other local parents in your community
- Join our Mothers Out Front parent constituency group
- Find opportunities for dialogue with youth - listen to youth activists, hear their concerns and ask ways to show support. Help to amplify their voice. (Mothers Out Front would be happy to publish blog posts, etc. Please send them to email@example.com.)
- Share concerns and information with other parents and adults. This is a good way to both educate and take pressure off the youth. They do not want to have to educate adults about the climate crisis, but they often feel they have no other choice.
After the strike
Civic engagement - Put your concerns for your children’s future at the forefront to ensure that positive climate policy will be developed in 2021.
- Voting - Facilitate voter registration. Promote climate policy as an issue central to the 2020 election by educating and informing.
- Contacting your legislators - ensure that current lawmakers prioritize climate policy.
- Join an organization that is fighting climate change—organizations like Mothers Out Front work on climate change every day.
- Civic engagement - Put your concerns for your children’s future at the forefront to ensure that positive climate policy will be developed in 2021.
- After the strike
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