We are in the midst of a climate crisis and urgent action is required if there’s any hope of turning it around. A group of determined mums has come together in London to take action; organising activist events and attracting other concerned parents around the UK to the cause. We spoke with a mum from Mothers Rise Up to find out how we can all help create change to improve the health of the planet. Kids included!
Who is ‘Mothers Rise Up’?
We are a group of everyday mums – teachers, doctors, charity workers, artists – who are connected by love for our children and the urge to act to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown. We have been inspired by the climate youth strikes but we can’t leave it to children to fix the mess that past generations have caused.
There is a core organising team of around six to ten women (the numbers vary depending on what is going on in our lives). We are volunteers, not a formal organisation, who organise events and run our social media accounts in any spare moment we can find. We all have young primary aged children and most of us work outside the home too. This means organising in evenings, on lunchbreaks or in between (and during!) feeds. We each draw on our own personal and professional networks and we now have many thousands of followers across our social media channels.
We welcome anyone who is moved by love for a child and by love for our planet to protest: grandmothers, aunties, child-minders, friends; those yet to have children, those who can’t and those who have chosen not to. Equally, we welcome the support of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and friends. We all make a difference. We are all custodians of our threatened home.
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How did you get started?
It all started in November 2018, when a small group of women gravitated towards each other under a ‘Worried Mum’ banner at an Extinction Rebellion climate protest. There was an instant connection. These mums began talking to friends, family, colleagues, and our movement has been growing fast ever since.
What is your aim?
Our aim is to get urgent and dramatic political action on the climate crisis before it is too late. We have been inspired by the climate youth strikes but we can’t leave it to children to fix the mess that past generations have caused.
What activities coming up are you organising and/or involved in?
Friday, 20th September, Mothers Rise Up will be out on force at the global climate strike. Millions of children and young people will be again taking to the streets to demand a future free of fossil fuels and climate justice. This time they are asking for adult solidarity and many adults will be taking the day off work to support them.
In London, there will be a dedicated kids area at the strikes with puppetry, face-painting and singing. More info here.
And on Monday, 23rd September, Mothers Rise Up is organising a ‘Climate Rhyme Protest’ outside Shell HQ, 10 Downing Street and BP. We will be outside the offices of the fossil fuel companies and government buildings, singing reworked nursery rhymes with a climate twist like Amazon’s Burning and Old King Coal! This isn’t about targeting individual employees – everyone needs to make a living – but calling out a system that is failing us. To protect our planet and our children’s futures, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It’s that simple. If you want to join our Climate Rhyme Protest you can sign up here. We still need volunteers, so come along and sing your hearts out!
Earlier this year, on International Mothers Day in May, we organised a big march in central London. Thousands of families took to the streets. See news clip here.
Ahead of the march, we coordinated an ‘Influential Parents’ Letter’ calling for urgent climate action. It was signed by over a 100 public figures, spanning the worlds of entertainment, culture, politics and faith. More on that here.
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How can parents get involved if they can’t make it to the events?
They can support us on social media, organise events at work and, simply, talk to family, friends and colleagues about the climate emergency. Everybody has a voice and a vote – so we urge people to use it!
We encourage our followers to write to their local MPs to take action to address the climate crisis. We also organised a banner relay across the UK where groups of mums came together in their city centres, in rural locations and on beaches to hold up a banner that said ‘For the love of our children. Act Now!’ The banner has been zigzagging across all nations of the UK and has allowed to engage with mums in lots of different places.
Some more ideas on how to create change here.
What are your funding sources? Do you have fundraising events?
We are all volunteers organising in any moment we can get, which makes things challenging. We have received small pots of money from Our Kids Climate – a global coalition of parent-led climate groups, as well as Oxfam and Friends of Earth for specific events for which we are very grateful.
Why is the work of your organisation necessary?
In 2018, the world’s leading scientists warned that we only have 12 years – now 11 years – to act to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and prevent runaway, irreversible changes to our climate. Millions of people, especially in the global South, are already suffering and dying as a result of climate chaos. If global over-heating is allowed to continue, the impact will be catastrophic.
Individual action is important but nowhere near enough. Responsibility lies with governments and big business to fundamentally change course so that we can lead lives that protect our threatened shared home. That’s why we call on mothers – and all adults – to use our voice, our votes and collective power to demand action.
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What are the main obstacles your organisation faces?
Well, we are not a formal organisation and like all mothers we are constantly juggling, trying to fit in activism and organising, with our paid work and parenting.
How do you stay positive in the face of all the climate crisis dire news and lack of government and public action to create change?
It is really hard to stay positive and to be completely honest many of us struggle with feelings of grief, despair and exhaustion. But we find inspiration and courage in each other and our children. We also know that many families in the global South have long been on the frontline of the climate crisis even though they have done the least to cause it. We find energy and positivity in organising and doing something.
Tell us some good news! What’s something you feel you’ve achieved so far…
We feel that we are beginning to create a community. The tide is turning and it’s brilliant to know there are so many mums – so many people – up and down the country who feel like we do: determined to act for the love of all our children.