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Episode Twenty Three — What about the Mothers?

Episode 23 of Climate Stew includes some new voices. We are asking about mothers and Climate Change. Some studies reveal they they talk about global warming far less than other people. We talk to Climate Stew Crew Member (and recent mom) Lori Hayes Kershner.  We get our news today from high school students in Hartford, CT who have been listening to Climate Stew and creating their very own climate themed podcasts. Students in Climate Stew Crew Team Member, Dr. Jennifer O’Brien at the Watkinson School have been busy bees making the podcast honey. Direct from the year 2165 we hear about an amazing story of cooperation and creativity and learn about the famous (although still in the future) International Mothers Sit In Movement. Climate Stew is available on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud, or Listen here  on our site.

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Transcript

Intro

At the Watkinson School, a pre-engineered building blends environmental science with ethics.

At the Watkinson School, a pre-engineered building blends environmental science with ethics.

Welcome to the 23rd episode of Climate Stew, the global warming program that shares personal stories from a changing planet. It is nice and toasty in the studio as the steam heat hisses away. This episode we hear from some mothers, contemporary and future mothers. We will discuss data that reveal women, and mothers in particular talk about climate change less than men. I ask a new mom what she thinks about that. We also get more good news from the future in our regular segment, That Day in Climate History. Seems a group of moms will band together to finally get us to clean up this place already. But first we have the news, but wait, it’s extra special.In an environmental science class at the Watkinson School in Hartford, CT students have been listening to Climate Stew. Their teacher and fellow Climate Crew Stew Member, Dr. Jennifer O’Brien asked them to try their hands at creating their very own climate themed podcasts. So today’s news was researched and written by Aidan, who also serves as news reader, Owen, Isabel, and Ryan. Take it away Aidan.

News:  Arctic Melting Affecting Ocean Levels

Supplied by Watkinson School Authors & Researchers:  Aidan (narrator), Owen Isabel and Ryan

Hello I’m Aidan and welcome to Keep It Cool. Today we will be talking about Arctic and Antarctic sea ice melt, and how sea ice melting is also affecting sea level rise.

Copyright: Henrik Egede Lassen/Alpha Film

Copyright: Henrik Egede Lassen/Alpha Film

Carbon dioxide emissions and Global warming are warming the air and earth’s surface which can cause ice melting. A major problem is that the permafrost, which is the frozen ground in the arctic that holds a lot of CO2, is melting and releasing more Carbon and methane into the air, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

In the summer the Poles ice naturally melts, but in the winter it refreezes. The Arctic sea ice minimum extent has shrunk by more than 50 percent since 1979  according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Lately the sea ice has not been refreezing to the same degree as it has been in the past, which means that ocean levels are rising at a dangerous rate.

Ninety percent of the world’s ice is in Antarctica as well as 70 percent of the world’s fresh water. If the ice melted it would cause big problems. If Greenland were to melt it would raise ocean levels by 20 feet. If all of the Antarctic were to melt it would raise ocean levels by 200 feet. This would not only raise ocean levels, but also release CO2 and other gasses into the air. Lots of places such as Mumbai, India; Shanghai, China; and Miami, Florida would be affected by ocean levels rising.

Thank you for listening and save our Earth!

 

Main—What about the Mothers?

A moment with Lori Hayes Kershner

Lori Hayes Kershner (and infant Soren)

Lori Hayes Kershner (and infant Soren)

Thank you Aidan, Owen, Isobel, and Ryan. I can’t wait to hear more from the students at the Watkinson School.

Don'tEvenThinkAboutIt_HC_catI’ve been reading the book, Don’t Even Think About It: Why our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change written by George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach and Information Network in Oxford, England. I have been fascinated and perplexed by a point he makes early on in the book. He shares data about the various types of people who talk about climate change and those who have nothing to do with it, as if it didn’t exist.

Frank Kaminski  in his review of the book also highlights this data

He writes:

“The research…finds that women talk about climate change much less than men do, and that younger women talk about it the least… This last is especially true of young women with children. Indeed, polling by market research agency Haddock Research shows that parents as a group are less concerned than are non-parents. This, writes Marshall, is perhaps due to a general tendency to accept narratives that allow our children to live as well as we’ve lived.” end quote.

Perhaps. I episode five of  Climate Stew, I asked, “What about the Children?” In this episode I ask, “What about the mothers?” I decided to do some of my own very limited research to begin to answer that question.

(audio clip with interview of Lori Hayes Kershner)

That Day in Climate History: Mother’s Sit Ins

I am Timothy Meadows. It is Saturday, February 23rd, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History.

In the early 21st Century, as governments and businesses floundered to cooperate and respond to the growing threats of a rapidly changing climate, one large diverse group of people came together to demand action. In 2019 Women, and in particular mothers and grandmothers in North America began a series of organized actions to highlight the danger climate change represented to them and their children. What would become the International Mothers Sit-In Movement brought business-as-usual to a standstill as millions of women, often with their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in tow, flooded government buildings, offices of lawmakers, corporations, major street intersections, shopping malls, and schools where they camped out for days, even weeks at a time.

Mothers Day actually started as an anti-war protest

Mothers Day actually started as an anti-war protest

It started in Tacoma, WA when Jane Brazell, concerned for her nieces and nephews and the homeless LGBTQ children in the community for whom she served as a surrogate mother, inspired a group of women from her church to a to disrupt a local city council meeting where they highlighted the immediate risks of climate change on the children in their community. Their actions that day and their urgent message of immediate danger connected with other women around the world and served as a catalyst to to an international movement that would rock New York, DC, London, Beijing, New Deli, Ottawa, Melbourne, Belfast along with thousands of other cities and towns.

These women cooperated and organized with a single focus—namely to communicate that the threat to peace, security, health, and happiness was already a present reality that required immediate and robust action. Their sit-ins also served as teach-ins where they shared their knowledge about climate change with their communities and each other.  During these sit-ins they also found support as they processed their feelings about a changing and failing planet and helped their communities to grieve the losses already sustained and the coming end of the fossil fuel age.

The International Mothers Sit In Movement, which lasted approximately four years, brought together women from many different backgrounds politically, racially and ethnically, and from all classes and religions.

a509_your_mother_Virginia Sterling, a mother of two from Saddle Brook, New Jersey in a 2023 interview explained, “This is not about future generations. We are convinced that our children are being harmed by climate change today. The fear, the uncertainty is crippling them. Substance abuse, depression, hopelessness is epidemic and getting worse. Then when these extreme weather events hit our communities, our kids are at risk. We’re being displaced. Schooling is disrupted. Our lives upended. And for Black and Latino children they become targets on the streets when police and military come in. As mothers we see the rising food prices here in the US and all over because of the droughts and floods and pests that all come with a warmer planet. We are women concerned for our children today. and that has brought many different kinds of women together. And we won’t stop until society recognizes the times we are in and acts with real actions, not just words.”

Their relentless, international efforts put necessary pressure on local, regional, national, and international leaders to implement  adaptation plans in thousands of communities but more importantly to pass meaningful legislation to end fossil fuel subsidies while places a fee on greenhouse gases. The relentless, passionate actions of the many women in the International Mothers Sit In Movement helped jar society awake to the reality of climate change. Their efforts, along with others at the same time, led to a radical reduction of greenhouse gases with an eye to protect the most vulnerable. These women directed contributed to bringing about the Great Transition.

On this Day in 2165, we remember That Day in Climate History.

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Closing

Dr. Jennifer O'Brien

Dr. Jennifer O’Brien

Thank you for listening to this episode of Climate Stew. You will find Climate Stew on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, occasionally on WRUW in Cleveland, OH, and always at Climate Stew dot Com. If you enjoyed my short interview with Lori, you will LOVE episode nine when I conducted an interview with a random baby. Yeah.

Feel free to email us your thoughts, suggestions, and praise, oh we love praise. info@ climatestew.com that’s info@ climatestew.com Our opening music is by Mark Chadwick, Closing music by Poldore. Segment music by Paiton.

VERY special thanks to the students in Dr. O’Brien’s class especially Isobel, Owen, Ryan, and Aidan. Thank you Dr. O’Brien! Thanks also to Lori Kershner Hayes and her mini baby sound effect offspring, oh, and eternal thanks to Joe Gee, who when asked about why men talk about climate change more than women simply replied, Questa Faccia Bella then went off crying like a baby. Um, random.

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Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a quirky queer Quaker concerned about Climate Change. His website is www.petersontoscano.com

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