By Bonita Davis, BYOC Campaign Coordinator and Board Member
Mary DeMocker, author of The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution (2018, New World Library,) begins her book with a seemingly radical notion to cease doing some of the common things done by those trying to live a “green lifestyle.” Actions such as faithful recycling, home energy conservation around, sun drying the laundry, biking to work, bring our own shopping bag…all the things most of us do faithfully. Point being? These things alone are not going to stop climate change. DeMocher advocates stopping stupid and starting smart. To DeMocher, stupid is burning fossil fuels, deforestation, the release of methane and refrigerants, and carbon unleashing methods of farming and ranching. Smart is ending the “carbon kegger” we seem to be on and instead, placing our efforts into expanding solar, wind, and wave power, conservation, tree planting, carbon farming, methane capture and more. This type of climate revolution requires both political and cultural shifts, and technological changes. She looks to the planet her children will inherit and how she prepares them to plan and act. Do I think for a minute DeMocher would stop her green living habits? No, but she is drawing attention to the fact that these more action is needed to move the needle on climate change.
The self-described harp playing Frisbee mom from Eugene realized that despite years of green living, global warming had worsened and it is past time for structural fixes. Organized in 100 mini chapters, each chapter ends with action steps anyone can take. Action steps are either organized in time blocks of 5 minutes to several hours, or are in order by the degree of involvement. Broken down by time (5 minutes to hours) or degree of involvement. Some actions are simple, such as a phone call or email, others are more involved such as a protest art installation or campaign. Ideas include suggestions for reading, video, advocacy groups and other helpful resources. In Plant Trees! (Chapter 3,) DeMocher describes factors contributing to the depletion of our forests and rainforests and the resultant impact on our climate. Suggested actions begin with raising awareness for kids through books and films, to planting a tree, to supporting a network that protects rainforests.
Bill McKibben provides the forward and DeMocher adds a sense of humor and nod to hopefulness in the mini chapters with titles such as “Showering Bikers with Praise Not Puddles,” “Howl when Necessary,” “Re-Story Our Future,” and “Let Kids Play with Knives.” Chapter 60 is about setting the “Bar Low for Allies.” In this chapter, the author urges that being “green” shouldn’t conjure up elitism, self-righteousness or permission to be dismissive of others. The author challenges us to begin to work to find common ground around wanting a livable planet, living wages, good education, and clean air and water. We can join forces with more people by going to where we will find individuals who represent a group, party, or population with which we don’t identify then listen and ask how we can be supportive.
Designed as a resource to pick up, crack open and read from the chapter at hand, the book gives us a chance to stop worrying and start taking definitive action that can contribute to a positive change. Sometimes it just takes 5 minutes a day!