CoolMom members have taken individual actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are some past actions to check out. If you like these, then check out our Blog for more member actions. We will be showing you some great actions from previous and current years. Go Moms!
Getting Active in Advocacy
Sonja Fritts, Bainbridge CoolMom
This story was published on our previous site in October 2008
Our journeys are never straight. We start from different points with different knowledge. As mothers, we are pulled in numerous directions, our energy and time spread thin. As you begin your journey, take small steps and leap when you are ready.
The Small Steps . I live on Bainbridge Island with my husband, Mike, and three kids, Kieran (6), Ingrid (3), and Elsa (2) and make family life sustainable by trying one new thing at a time. Once we incorporate that change into our lifestyle, we move onto the next new thing. Many of our changes are seen at the dinner table. We purchase produce and eggs from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and bulk food monthly from a wholesaler, Azure Standard. We planted our first garden this year. I made many mistakes but did grow corn, bush beans, pole beans, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, lettuce, carrots and beats - a great feat for someone who has killed every houseplant I owned!
The Leap. Recently, I unwittingly became an environmental activist. Last month, I started the Bainbridge Island Chapter of CoolMom and I even attended a political rally and forum to raise awareness that action must be taken to curb climate change. On September 27, 2008, I attended the National Day of Action for Green Jobs Campaign and Candidate Forum in Bremerton, WA, an event hosted by the NAACP. Nearly every candidate representing most of Kitsap County attended the forum to answer citizens’ questions.
In 2007, the Washington State Legislature created a grant program for green jobs training but did not appropriate funding. 1Sky Washington, a CoolMom partner, organized a rally before the forum to elevate the issue that action must be taken to help curb climate change by investing in green jobs and renewable energy.
As a soccer mom of three young children -- on game day! -- it was not easy to attend a political rally and forum. With the help of my husband, we juggled kids and I sprinted off with our youngest to join the rally. Wearing my CoolMom T-shirt, I grabbed a sign urging the funding of green jobs, donned my green hard hat, and entered the candidate forum.
Once the novelty of the cookie and water bottle wore off, my two year old had some loud comments of her own and I had to leave the room. I missed some of the commentary but it did not matter. I was inspired and felt an intangible energy and excitement. I stayed in the lobby with my daughter and met others who were involved in local, environmental organizations on Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula. These people are all working to reach the same goal as members of CoolMom – to reduce carbon emissions and help curb global warming.
I was most inspired by the personal stories of the real people I met who are trying to make a difference:
- The grandmother whose first present to her grandchild was a onesie stating that his grandmother cared about the world for him,
- The couple who work to make low interest loans available to homeowners who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and recently showed “The End of Suburbia",
- The businessman who is passionate about making Bainbridge Island carbon neutral in ten years and starting a door-knocking campaign to spread the word.
I do not know what the state candidates said in answer to our questions. I am not intimately familiar with their platforms but I do hope to learn more. I do not know whether my presence will affect them at the moment when they are voting on legislation. I hope it does. But I find that I gained much more than I had expected. I am more connected to the environmental community, and I am thrilled to move forward. It is time.
Make your concern for the environment known!
- Join CoolMom
- Send letters call or meet with your local state candidates before or after the election and voice your support for legislation designed to help curb global warming.
- To find out the effectiveness of state legislators on environmental issues, review the scorecards published by the Washington Conservation Voters.
Getting Out the Vote
Kimberly Christensen, Greenwood/Ballard CoolMom
CoolMom Kimberly Christensen didn’t set out to write a voter’s guide, but after failing to find political endorsements that included information on global warming, she did! Her “Climate Change Voter’s Guide for King County” can be found online here.
“Climate change is a moral issue, not a partisan issue,“ said Christensen. “ Voting has become so polarized in the past few elections, and people often vote a straight Democrat or Republican ticket. However, global warming will profoundly affect all of us, Democrat, Republican, Independent and Green. That means all Americans must unite in order to elect leaders that understand the enormity of climate change and who have the intellect, farsightedness and courage to confront it.”
Christensen said that she has found the Bush administration’s lack of action on climate change, especially its refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocols, frustrating. However, as she looked at what was going on in Washington State, she began to feel more hopeful.
“Under Governor Gregoire’s direction, Washington State has become a national and regional leader in fighting climate change. We helped develop the Western States Initiative, which is setting goals for reducing greenhouse gases, promoting and developing renewable energy, and looking ahead to help Western states and provinces address the impacts of global warming on our communities and environment, “ said Christensen. “When I realized what was happening in our own state, and that Washington could become a model for other states to follow, I knew that I had to work hard to get Governor Gregoire reelected, and to help other leaders on this issue get into office.”
With the economy slowing down, Christensen was also worried that voters might not support measures like Sound Transit Proposition 1, “Mass Transit Now!” out of concerns about cost. However, from a climate change perspective, and a green economy perspective, nothing could make more sense to Christensen than voting for more light rail, better bus service, improvements of highway to reduce traffic congestion and additional park and ride locations.
“With gasoline costs likely to increase over the next few years, and with many families struggling to buy both gas and food, we absolutely need more public transportation options,“ said Christensen. “We also need to reduce our carbon emissions, and in order to do that we need better public transit. And, we have a need for more jobs, especially in construction, so now is the time to build a better mass transit infrastructure. I keep thinking about the Public Works Projects from the Great Depression. This could be our generation’s chance!”
With these politically connected thoughts keeping her awake at night, Christensen decided to start looking for voter information that would help her figure out how she wanted to vote on other candidates and issues. She didn’t find much, and so her own voter’s guide began to take shape. In the evenings, after her children went to bed, she would read archived newspaper articles and candidates’ websites, examine how her lawmakers had voted on various climate change legislation, and learn what environmental organizations thought about a particular candidate or initiative. She hopes that her labor of love will help other concerned voters find the information that they are looking for.
“The lifestyle changes that we each make are important,” said Christensen. “But our elected officials have the ability to make changes that far surpass what any of us can do alone. Voting smartly is the most significant statement we can make about climate change and our commitment to solving this problem!”
Kimberly's “Climate Change Voter’s Guide for King County” can be found online here.
Disclaimer: It is not the policy of CoolMom.org to endorse candidates. We do, however, support strong climate legislation and encourage members to vote and to be active citizens. Democracy is not a spectator sport!
No More Car Naps
Amy Eby, West Seattle CoolMom
Mom, Amy Eby of Seattle, no longer drives around to get her kids to sleep. She also prevents greenhouse gas emissions by turning off the car while idling and taking the bus. Read more about what Amy is doing and why it's important here.
Amy Eby's transportation choices all reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. Not only has “car napping”, as she puts it, become a thing of the past; she also takes the bus more often. When she does drive, she turns off the car while idling. Amy shops locally, at farmer's markets and kids consignment shops to find great deals on clothing and toys.
Our transportation choices have a huge impact on global warming. Cutting down on extra driving trips is a simple thing any of us can do. Besides, moms are inherently creative. It is, after all, the nature of the job. We can get the kids to sleep in other ways.
We can reduce transportation emissions in a number of ways: taking the bus, cutting down on extra driving and turning off the car while idling. We can buy more fuel-efficient cars and walk or bike.
When we shop locally, we eliminate emissions caused by shipping. Buying used goods locally saves transportation emissions plus the energy and resources needed to produce a new product. Hello, kids consignment shops! Fruit and veggies from the Farmer's Market are not only tasty, but also more nutritious than food shipped from great distances. All of these easy choices help put a stop to global warming.
There are hidden benefits to many of these changes. When we slow our lives down from the frantic pace of the car, we start to better connect with our family and our friends. When we buy locally, we start to better connect with our community. You may even find a hidden gem in these choices: more time for you and your family.
Paper or Plastic? Neither, Thanks!
Abby Suplizio, West Seattle CoolMom
Abby Suplizio wraps birthday presents in reusable bags, not paper. A gentle reminder to other moms, Abby's gifts spread the word about a serious environmental problem. Every day, thousands shop and their purchases are placed in plastic bags. Less than 1 percent of the 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags are recycled. These bags will persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years. Pretty unfortunate, especially considering landfill waste produces the green house gases that cause global warming.
But wait, there's more...
Abby's family has a Fuel Free Family Day each week, a day where they don't drive to lower emissions. Abby's family buys locally produced food and buys only used items, such as clothing from kids’ consignment shops. They also save water and energy at home with shorter showers. Changing simple habits like this keeps our planet healthy.
How can moms stop global warming? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3! Following the three 'R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - is the common sense way to stop global warming and its devastating effects. Ask yourself these three questions: Do I really need it? How long will I use it? Where will it go after I'm done with it? A little awareness goes a long way and reminds us to take action. Most of our kids are too young to take action themselves, yet they and their kids are the ones who will suffer the most. It doesn't seem fair, does it?
Reduce: Less waste at birthday parties. You know the scene: mounds of wrapping paper, disposable plates and utensils piled high in garbage bins. Half-filled juice boxes ooze onto every surface. It's a kids’ birthday party! It's also an opportunity for moms to make positive changes. We need to rethink our birthday parties and show our kids a better way. Reducing our consumption makes it easy for us to do our part to stop global warming. Wrapping presents in reusable bags, as Abby says, "presents a good opportunity to discuss alternative packaging ideas". And when a lot of moms make many small changes collectively, together we can make a big difference.
Reuse: Buy it used or pass it on. With every company rushing to profess it's 'greenness' in the great green gold rush, it's easy to forget a simple tenant: the most 'sustainable' product is the one that already exists. So the best choice for the environment is to take care of what you have or to buy something used. Like Abby, you can explore kids consignment stores for clothing, toys and gear. Pass clothing your kids have outgrown to others or trade clothes with friends. Your environment and your wallet will smile!
Recycle: When you can't reduce or reuse. Make a pledge today to only buy things you can recycle. Look carefully at the packaging in the store. Does your town recycle that box or container? If not, make another choice. Compost your food scraps and produce healthy soil for your garden. When the trash we produce ends up in rotting in landfills, it produces greenhouse gases. Recycling just half your household garbage will save 2,400 lbs of carbon dioxide!
Take action today!
Moms get busy, believe us, we know how it is! But this is one task we can't put off. Like Abby, we can make fun changes to our lifestyle. By taking action today, we can secure a better quality of life for future generations, for our children and theirs.
Telecommuting = Zero Miles
Leah Kyle, CoolMom member
CoolMom Leah Kyle is a Seattle CoolMom whose commute is zero miles – and zero emissions – most days of the week. Leah telecommutes from home most days of the week. Leah knows that maintenance is an easy way to lower her family's carbon footprint and she also buys fresh local produce, organic when possible, at the West Seattle Farmer's Market. Not only is Leah cutting her impact by lowering emissions, she also reclaims the time that would otherwise be spent in the car, time she has for herself and her family.
Transportation, the simple act of getting from point A to point B is a major source of greenhouse gases and pollution in our air. The choices we make each day determine how clean – or dirty – our air becomes. We tell our kids: don't leave a mess for someone else to clean up. Well, climate change is one big mess we should not leave for them.
Moms can make the choices that can make the difference. When we chose to telecommute, use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk to get there, we help keep our kids air clean.
Maintaining our homes and our vehicles lightens our footprint on the earth. When we need to use a car, we can lower our impact by maintaining the cars we have: keeping tires inflated, changing the oil and air filters regularly. When the time comes for a new car, we can pick the most fuel efficient one we can buy.
These changes are deceptively simple but when we all make a few simple changes, together we can make a big difference. And our kids are counting on us to make the right choice!
Walking School Bus
Nancy Spraggins, Magnolia CoolMom
Seattle Mom Nancy Spraggins keeps the planet and kids healthy by leading a walking school bus. A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults.
Nancy can frequently be seen on her bicycle, with her youngest son riding with her. Nancy's family has also chosen to live in a neighborhood close to downtown, an easy bus or bike ride away.
How does walking to school stop global warming? The transportation choices moms make have an impact on global warming. Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the air. The overabundance of these greenhouse gases is causing our planet to heat up.
How does the walking school bus work? A walking school bus is when a group of children walk to school with one or more adults. The beauty of the walking school bus is it's simplicity. It can be as easy as two families taking turns walking their children to school. It can also mean a more structured route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers. You can find many helpful hints about how to set up a walking school bus at the Walking School Bus website.
The choices we make every day create a lasting impression on our kids. If we show them every trip begins in the car, then that is what they will do as adults. Cars and trucks are another significant source (25 percent) of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. A serious effort to address global warming must therefore reduce emissions from cars and trucks.