Green Mom Activism: Does It Matter Anymore?

July 22nd, 2011

They  say bad things come in threes. So here are three to ponder.

  1. A non profit leader and fellow “green mom” activist posts on her FaceBook page, “over the past few days I’ve been called a Nazi, told my work is futile, and more…”
  2. Another “green mom” tells me that her grown kids think the battle against climate change is lost. You guessed it: her work focuses on climate change. Is she fighting a losing battle?
  3. My own son sighs in exasperation, “You embarrass me sometimes, Mom. I mean, not everything can be eco-green. You can’t change everything, you know, Mom?”

Let’s start with my newly minted tween’s skeptical words.  I looked at him with a big smile, rushed over to hug him, and said, “Oh, honey, you’re growing up!”

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“It’s the first time you’ve told me that I embarrass you! Honey, get used to it, because I’m going to embarrass you for many, many more years to come.”


While I can poke fun at the “embarrassing Mom” comment, the “green is futile” messages that my friends and I are getting are unnerving.

All around us are signs that people are waking up to the importance of environmental action. Businesses are built around green. Corporations publish sustainability plans, and actively court green consumers.  Kids, the future, are at the vanguard of the movement. And yet….if everyone is so green, why are we still in so much trouble?

When I started the Green Moms Carnival, few people recognized the important role that mothers play in the environmental movement. What a difference three years makes.  Market studies have been written about the phenomenon.  PR firms have cashed in. Environmental NGOs court them.  Everyone wants a piece of  “mom influence.”

And yet, if we’re not influencing our own kids and our own circles, what does it really matter? And where do we go from here?

Give up, or carry on? Pass the baton to a new generation?

— Lynn



12 Responses to “Green Mom Activism: Does It Matter Anymore?”

  1. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green on July 22, 2011 10:26 pm

    I understand this. I get called names a lot as well. I live in an area were a lot of people don’t believe in climate change and get mad about environmental issues. My Senator is Inhofe, that says it all haha.

    However, I know I’m doing what’s right and that’s what matters. :)

  2. Bethesda Locavore on July 23, 2011 4:54 am

    Not futile! I posted about my reusable produce bags a while back and just yesterday I ran into an old friend who told me she’s switched to reusable produce bags because of it (and a few other friends have switched as well). Every little voice and suggestion makes an impact somewhere! There will always be those slow to embrace change, and teenagers will always question EVERYTHING, but the more of our little voices there are out there, the more we gel into a cohesive larger voice. I say keep fighting the good fight.

  3. Karly on July 23, 2011 5:40 am

    Don’t worry. I think everything my mom did when I was ages 11-19 embarassed me. And as for everyone else, just remember what Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I’d say we’re at around stage 3, because how can it not be a fight when it’s 115degrees outside and people STILL don’t believe in climate change. Hang in there! You DO make a difference!

  4. Lynn on July 23, 2011 6:17 am

    Thanks for weighing in…so great to see your thoughts this morning!

  5. Adrian Desbarats on July 25, 2011 6:36 am

    Hey Lynn,

    The reality is that getting our planet back on a sustainable track is a marathon, not a sprint. I also get a sense that people are becoming exhausted by the green movement and this concerns me. The thing is – it took us over 100 years to get into this mess – it will take us 100 years to get out. But we will never get out of this mess if we (as a global society) do not commit to run that marathon.

    We likely will not see the benefit of our efforts (at a global level) but hopefully our children will and hopefully they will pick up the cause with renewed gusto.

    As Karly said – hang in there. Your actions do make a difference and when your kids get older, they WILL appreciate all you did and be proud of your efforts!

  6. Lynn on July 25, 2011 1:54 pm

    Hi Karly, thanks for your comment. Of course I’ll continue to do my own bit, but it is the commentary that concerns me…and is motivating me to think about some different ways to accomplish the same objectives! (Stay tuned….)

  7. TotToter on August 11, 2011 6:25 am

    Going natural, it seems perturbs people. My paediatrician labeled me “organo-mom” because I had a natural childbirth, cloth diaper, breastfeed and eat a vegetarian diet. He thought he was being funny, but the sarcasm did not elude me!
    TotToter´s last blog post ..Tot-Toting Idea #5

  8. Judy on August 13, 2011 6:32 am

    Lynn, you can only pass the baton on to the next generation if you set the example to your kids. I would say giving up is not an option. Never!
    Judy´s last blog post ..How to Keep Your Kids Safe in Your Home

  9. Lynn on August 13, 2011 3:06 pm

    Thanks so much, Judy!

  10. Debbie on August 17, 2011 1:40 am

    I think part of the problem with the green movement is how we support it. I talk to alot of people using “green” products that are produced and distributed by companies not totally committed to the environment. These companies sell “chemicals” and non-environmentally safe products right down the aisle from their “green” product. I’ve taught my children to look for products by companies that “walk the walk” along with us, and support those companies. I represent the only totally “green” company and my children are proud of that fact.

  11. Karine on September 24, 2011 8:14 am

    I think it’s not futile on the contrary. More people are becoming aware about the necessity to integrate more green in their life. Organic doesn’t mean become an ecologic activist but if you take about you in a first time, it counts. Secondly, the environment issues are well and truly confirmed. We know the hamful effects of the use of pesticide, the hazardous chemicals in our cosmetics, food and all the products we use daily.
    So, yes. it’s not futile.

  12. Debbie on October 11, 2011 4:32 am

    I love your last post, Karin. It’s not futile. We have to stay the course. My children are used to me embarrassing them. I tell them it’s part of my job description as a mom. It is also my job to teach my children to care about more than just themselves and their lives. It is an uphill battle, but one I believe we can never give up.

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