How to Introduce Kids to Political Activism

Text: "How to Introduce Kids to Political Activism / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Two children from the back, one that has a sign on her back that says "We March for Our Wild and Wonderful World"

“Mommy is going to let the people in charge know that we need to respect all people,” I told my son on the morning of the Women’s March. While I’ve been politically active for a long time, he never really knew about it. Because I so rarely miss weekend time with the kids, I wanted to let him know what I was doing and why it was important. As I and two of friends gathered snacks and pinned posters on our jackets, seeing my kids reminded me why we were doing this in the first place.

Explaining what’s going on is even more important if you’re bringing your kids along to a political event. In the case of the People’s Climate March, I knew that I had a responsibility to explain to Sprout why he was there.

From explaining why I’ve missed dinner to testify to our City Council to marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, here’s what I’ve learned about introducing kids to activism:

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The “Earth March”: Bringing My Kids to the People’s Climate March

Text: "Bringing My Kids to the People's Climate March / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Young boy in a teal hat holding up a sign that says

So proud of my munchkin.

“You’re not going to bring the kids to homeless shelters are you?” asked my husband, several years before we had kids. “Probably. We need to teach them how to help people.” He most likely rolled his eyes. But now after being married to me for a decade and living in the Age of Trump, he understands. Which is why all four of us were out in the sweaty heat this past Saturday walking in the Washington D.C. People’s Climate March.

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Resources on Sustainable Parenting for Green Moms and Dads

“What does being a green parent look like?” is something I ask myself a lot and struggle with. It’s what’s behind my Green Moms Profiles and potentially the topic of a book project.

Thankfully, there are some good resources to help us be a greener parent, no matter where we are in the process. A lot of “green parenting” resources focus on health issues specific to your particular family, like cutting out plastics or chemicals in your soap. While those have a valuable place, I’m more interested in the larger scale issues, like conserving energy and minimizing greenhouse gases. While these resources aren’t all specific to parents, I think they’re all useful!

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Green Moms Profile: Manda Aurochs Gillespie, The Green Mama

Text: "Green Moms Profile: Manda Aurochs Gillespie, The Green Mama / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: A woman jumping with a bike helmet in her hand in front of a box bike ridden by a man with two kids in the back

Photo courtesy of The Green Mama.

For our final Green Moms interview, welcome Manda Aufochs Gillespie, otherwise known as the Green Mama. She’s got two kids, who are ten and almost seven. Perhaps most interestingly, she lives on a remote island off the west coast of British Columbia in Canada. She blogs at The Green Mama, which you can also find on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

As this interview was over the phone, I’ve edited it a bit for clarity.

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Green Moms Profile: Sandi Schwartz

Text: "Green Moms Profile: Sandi Schwartz / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Green tomatoes growing on vines with flowers behind them

 

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way.

For our next Green Moms profile, welcome Sandi Schwartz! Like me, she’s an environmental communicator. In her interview, she has some great honesty on what’s hard about being green, even as an adult. You can check her writing out online on Happy Science Mom, the blog’s Facebook page, and its Pinterest board.

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Guest Post: 7 Ways to Engage Young Children in Gardening

Lasagna gardening in process

It’s spring! Along with a lot of rain and a lot of tourists here in D.C., it’s also gardening season. We’ve sowed seeds, sprouted plants, and had a baby eating mulch. While not exactly always on task, my kids do love the idea of gardening. How do I get them excited about it?

I recently wrote how I’ve involved them over at Happy Science Mom in the post 7 Clever Ways to Get Kids Excited about Gardening.

Here’s the first paragraph of the article:

“Messing around in the dirt is a classic childhood activity. Gardening is just messing around in the dirt with a purpose. Growing fruits and vegetables together can actually be one of the most fun and engaging activities that you do with your kids. In addition to the general benefits of being outside, gardening connects kids with their food, provides them with a sense of accomplishment, and is a great way to teach a variety of important skills. In my own life, I have seen my son get so excited about the cherry tomatoes in our garden that he eats them right off the plants!”

Read the rest over at Happy Science Mom!

Green Moms Profile: Julie on Veganism

Green Moms Profile_ Julie on Veganism.png

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way.

For our third Green Mom Profile, welcome Julie. She’s in Germantown, MD, a suburb of Washington D.C. just north of where I am. She has two kids, who are one and five years old. She’s a mentor for Vegan Outreach, a group who is dedicated to reducing suffering through the promotion of a vegan diet.

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Green Moms Profile: Caryn Chmielewski

Text: "Green Moms Profile: Caryn Chmielewski" / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So; Photo: Three silicone-wrapped glass bottles (yellow, green and blue) on a granite countertop

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m going to be profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way.

For our second Green Mom profile, welcome Caryn Chmielewski. She lives in Springfield, Virginia and has a 15 month old daughter.

Why is it important to you to parent your kids in a “green” way?
I choose to parent “green” because I have serious concerns about the safety of most consumer products available in the U.S. today. While I don’t particularly want to go back in time, I do truly believe that many of the products we used to eat and live with (food, storage containers, cleaning products, etc.) used to be much safer and healthier prior to the 1980s (approx, I would have to do some research to support my gut feeling here). I could go on about this topic (i.e. American businesses being permitted by government to sacrifice quality and safety for convenience and bigger profits, etc.) but I will stop there. Ultimately, I want my daughter and any future children I might have to have the best possible health and part of that, in my opinion, means choosing to give her organic, natural, whole foods as much as possible and using safer/greener storage items (glass over plastic, for example).

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Green Mom Profiles: Jen Mendez

Text: "Green Moms Profiles: Jen Mendez / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Photo of a boy and a girl underneath a shelter made of sticks

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m going to be profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way. If you’re interested in green transportation in particular, check out the Family Biking Profiles I did last year for Bike Month in May! 

Our first Green Mom profile is of Jen Mendez, who lives in Southern Maryland with two kids, who are four and six years old. She’s one of the most holistically sustainable folks I’ve ever met. I first encountered her at D.C.’s annual urban agriculture festival Rooting DC. Last year, she provided invaluable input into the Outdoors Family Challenge and highlighted it several times on her website and podcast. She runs the PERMIE KIDs Community Supported Education Network and its Facebook page, which has loads of great resources.

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Guest Post: Spring into STEM!

Cleaning out the garden with Sprout

Gardening is all about science, from the life cycle of a plant to the nitrogen cycle of the soil. I combined both of those loves in a guest post for Raising Nerd about using gardening to teach your mini-nerds about science, engineering and math. It’s heavy on the ecology, but touches on a bunch of areas.

Here’s a preview:

Dirt covered the table. Dirt covered my son’s hair. Dirt covered everything. While I wanted to be annoyed, I really wasn’t. It was all in the name of learning – and growing food in our new garden.

While trowels and compost may not seem like obvious tools for teaching science, vegetable gardens can be incredible classrooms. That day, my son was learning about the life cycle of plants while we started tomato seeds.

The best part is that gardening provides the potential for kids of all ages to learn. While my three-year-old is just beginning to learn the basics, even I’ve learned quite a bit in my years of gardening. If you don’t garden yet, consider planting a few flowerpots so you can share the benefits with your kids.

Read the rest at Raising Nerd!