The Parents' Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night's Sleep

The Parents' Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night's Sleep

The Parents' Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night's Sleep

The Parents' Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night's Sleep


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“Relax,” writes author Mary DeMocker, “this isn’t another light bulb list. It’s not another overwhelming pile of parental ‘to dos’ designed to shrink your family’s carbon footprint through eco-superheroism.” Instead, DeMocker lays out a lively, empowering, and doable blueprint for engaging families in the urgent endeavor of climate revolution. In this book’s brief, action-packed chapters, you’ll learn hundreds of wide-ranging ideas for being part of the revolution — from embracing simplicity parenting, to freeing yourself from dead-end science debates, to teaching kids about the power of creative protest, to changing your lifestyle in ways that deepen family bonds, improve moods, and reduce your impact on the Earth. Engaging and creative, this vital resource is for everyone who wants to act effectively — and empower children to do the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608684816
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mary DeMocker is cofounder of’s Eugene, Oregon chapter. Her work has been featured in Yale Climate Connections and recommended in a New York Times article. She has written about conscious parenting and climate advocacy for the Sun, Common Dreams,, Spirituality & Health, and the Oregonian. She lives with her family in Eugene, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt


Relax — this isn’t another light bulb list. It’s not another overwhelming pile of parental “to dos” designed to shrink your family’s carbon footprint through eco-superheroism.In fact, drop that light bulb. Stop recycling. Get off your bike, stop gardening, leave your cloth bag in the SUV, and bring hamburgers to the family picnic. Let your faucets leak, leave your windows open with the heat on, and for heaven’s sake, don’t hang your laundry.

Busy parents — along with everyone else — have been told for years that individual lifestyle changes can stop the climate from spinning out of control, but the truth is they can’t. Not by themselves, anyway. This book kicks aside that great myth so we can refocus our efforts on actions that can accomplish what those lifestyle actions intend: to build a livable future.

The Climate Crisis Is a Parenting Problem

First, though, let’s get clear on one thing: The climate crisis is really a parenting problem. Here’s why: We have a problem of too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, right? And they’re making the Earth heat up dangerously. So, we need to stop adding more gases and reel back in the ones already out there. Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions isn’t complicated. It’s not easy, but it’s do-able. In fact, it takes only two steps:

Stop Stupid. Start Smart. To stop Stupid, we simply cease burning fossil fuels. Stop deforestation. Stop farming and ranching in ways that unleash carbon. Stop releasing refrigerant gases and methane. Those are the big-ticket items.

To start Smart, we massively expand solar, wind, and wave power, conservation, tree planting, carbon farming, methane capture, local resilience, and more. And we sequester, price, and regulate carbon.

All this requires is a simple switch in mind-set: Turn off Stupid, turn on Smart. Totally do-able. Except that there are madmen in charge who block Smart because they get richer with Stupid.

That’s it. It’s really that simple. Like drunken teens, adults who should know better don’t want their carbon kegger to end.

Most parents, when it comes to their own kids, know how to close down an out-of-control party. They assert authority. They shut off the tap, make everyone clean up and go home, and make new rules to avoid a repeat. We should have done this decisively when we found out in 1988 that burning coal, oil, and gas was cooking our planet. Instead, we let the party continue. We didn’t powerfully confront the self-serving denials and lies — the people who said, and still say, “Global warming isn’t real, and even if it were, it’s certainly not our fault.” We’ve been permissive with Uncle Sam and Exxon for way too long, and things have gotten so far out of hand that we’re facing our own — or, worse, our children’s — annihilation. And yes, I mean that word. It’s really that serious.

That means that, right now, we need to do more than just assert our rightful authority. What’s required is full-scale climate revolution.

Revolution may sound extreme, but I’m not suggesting we grab our muskets for an armed insurrection. The climate revolution I’m talking about seeks fundamental political, cultural, and technological changes. And it’s already going full steam. It’s also fun and rich with potential for personal connection — which is the only kind of revolution that’s going to work, frankly. Plus, this revolution is taking place everywhere, all over the world, which makes it easy to join.

What does this climate revolution look like? It’s solar farms in Nevada, Danish bicycle highways, and defiant governors upholding the Paris climate agreement in their states.

It’s fracking bans, mayors helping fifth-graders pass climate laws, and New Yorkers paid to reduce their electric use.

It’s biogas composters in refugee camps, grandparents moving retirement funds from frackers to wind farmers, and Pacific Islanders in canoes blocking coal shipments.

It’s college students designing sustainable police stations, climate literacy in public schools, and nuns building chapels in the path of pipelines. It’s South African clerics marching with indigenous leaders, zero-waste apartment complexes, and parents peacefully blocking oil trains running past their homes. It’s the Cowboy-Indian Alliance — a group of US ranchers and Native Americans fighting pipelines on their lands together.The climate revolution is about behaving like mature global citizens. It’s that simple. And the solutions, though sometimes difficult, are equally simple: Keep fossil fuels in the ground, drastically cut emissions, and transition quickly to clean, renewable energy. To do this, we can embrace the technology that author Bill McKibben says we need most: “The technology of community — the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.”

That kind of community invites everyone’s participation. You don’t need a physics degree, wealth, or connections to celebrities, senators, or CEOs to save the planet. All you need is a beating heart and a desire for authentic solutions.

To be clear, the “climate” I’m talking about refers to our atmosphere, yes, but it includes much more. Each of us inhabits multiple climates — the climate of our individual body and its health; the climate of our home, relationships, neighborhood, school, and job; and our national political and cultural climate. We each have a right to feel safe within all of these climates — a right to a safe workplace, good health care, safe shelter, and freedom from violence and oppression. We have a right to healthy air, soil, and water. And all present and future generations have a right to a livable planet.

All of these climates are deeply interconnected. They’re also all badly threatened today — so much so that, in 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical letter addressed to every person on the planet decrying income inequity, war, and degradation of the Earth, “our only home.” He spelled out how climate destruction disproportionately punishes the poorest and most vulnerable of the world, and he called for a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. He then issued a thunderous call for a “bold cultural revolution.” Revolution! From a pope!

He gave us a clear moral directive for revolution, but perhaps not being a family man, he was a bit short on the details of exactly how parents might go about waging it. Now, I don’t claim to be writing the road map, but I hope this can be a road map that will help all of us, particularly parents, navigate our way. The worldwide climate revolution boasts no savior or silver-bullet solution. Instead, it’s made up of millions of assertions of authority over our own futures that, taken together, are transforming our societies on every level. That kind of transformation requires many maps, and this is the family-friendly one with plentiful games and snacks to sweeten the journey.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bill McKibben xvii

Introduction xix

Harmonize Family Life-Ways with Earth-Ways

1 Get Clear on Why There's Hope 3

2 Herd Your Family Together 5

3 Plant Trees! 7

4 Lift Moods and Grades 10

5 Cultivate a "Used-Is-Cool" Culture 12

6 Give Up One Thing 14

7 Ditch the Diaper 16

8 Give Palm Oil the Back of Your Hand 19

9 Bag the Cow 21

10 Turn Fido into a Climate Hero 24

11 Cut Your Toilette in Half 26

12 Shower Bikers with Praise (Not Puddles) 29

13 Swoon over Family Biking 32

14 Keep the Clunker - Until You Can Afford Cleaner Transportation 34

15 Don't Scurry, Be Happy 37

16 Bring Paris to You 39

17 Support Local Communities When Traveling Globally 41

18 Get Electrified 44

Save Money and Time

19 Sleep Tight 49

20 Revamp Gift-Giving 51

21 Raise a Financial Guru 53

22 Find a Deeper Spark of Joy 55

23 Give Youth Sports Teams a Time-Out 57

View Our Climate in a New Light

24 Be the 3.5 Percent 61

25 Pay Attention 63

26 Learn the Fossil-Fuel Nitty-Gritties 66

27 Look to the Sky 70

28 Be a WIMBY (Wind in My Backyard!) 72

29 Be Here Now 74

30 See the Human Face of Climate Impacts 76

31 Get the Facts 79

Care for Your Soul

32 Howl When Necessary 83

33 Change Your Media Diet 85

34 Build a Wall - of Inspiration 87

35 Get Your Soul Juice 89

36 Try Protest Therapy 91

Cultivate Family Connections

37 Help Kids Feel Comfy 95

38 Dig, Dawdle, and Dog 97

39 Bring on the Awe 100

40 Exude Gratitude 102

41 Time Travel 104

Raise Empowered Kids

42 Throw Out the Baby-Safety Catalog 109

43 Teach a New Set of Life Skills 111

44 Meet Some Badass Kids 115

45 Let Kids Make Laws 117

46 Skip the Kid Shock Treatment 119

47 Share Tales of Perseverance and Triumph 121

48 Take Kids on a Real-Life Hero's Journey 124

49 Re-story Our Future 126

50 Discover the Wonders of Bribery 128

51 Model Love, Always 130

52 Teach Civics - Not Reading - to Kindergartners 133

53 Empower Kids to Solve Local Problems 135

54 Facilitate Empowering Conversations 138

55 Let Kids Play with Knives 140

56 Fight for Climate Literacy in Schools 142

57 Unplug the Kids 145

58 Amplify Kids' Voices 148

59 Permeate Kids' Worlds with Solutions 151

Grow Community Connections

60 Set the Bar Low for Allies 155

61 Have a Beer with Cousin Max 157

62 Chainsaw the Fence 159

63 Host a Disaster Party 161

64 Kick Out the Climate Blues 164

65 Draft Grandma and Grandpa 166

66 Host a Living Room Film Fest 168

Build a Fossil-Free Future

67 Tame Your Tongue 173

68 Let Your Farmer Feed You 176

69 Hound Representatives 178

70 Demand Clean Energy - While Filling Your Tank 181

71 Escort Big Oil from the Museum - and Off Campus 183

72 Blow Kisses to the Brave 185

73 Become a Victory Speaker 187

74 Trumpet the Pope 189

75 Shout from the Solar Roller Coaster 192

76 Push Your City to Get Ready 194

77 Connect Your Work World to the Real World 196

78 Know Exactly What You're Voting For 198

79 Bury Your Neighbor's Chicken 201

80 Rescue Food 203

81 Kick Compost to the Curb 205

82 Do the New Math 207

83 Divest. Get Everyone To. 209

84 Dress Up Your Door 212

85 Empower Women and Girls Everywhere 214

86 Pivot Your Volunteering Skill Set 217

87 Level Up the Antibullying Campaigns 219

88 Creatively Disrupt 221

89 Support Grassroots Groups 224

90 Interrupt the Mars and Geoengineering Fantasies 227

91 Inoculate Everyone 230

92 Battle to Win 232

93 Break Human Laws (to Obey Nature's Laws) 234

94 Make Polluters Pay 236

95 Link Eco-Justice to All Justice 238

96 Run for Office 242

97 Sue the Grown-Ups! 244

98 Light Yourself on Fire 248

99 Okay, Okay, Shrink Your Carbon Footprint 250

100 Consider Yourself Invited 254

Appendix A Sample Divestment Letter 257

Appendix B Sample Neighbor Letter 259

Appendix C Writing a Press Release 260

Appendix D Kathleen Dean Moore's Letter to Grandparents 263

Appendix E Preamble to the US Constitution 265

Acknowledgments 266

Endnotes 269

Index 301

About the Author 329

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Mary DeMocker’s new book is an essential resource for parents . . . incredibly refreshing.”
— Wendy Becktold, Sierra magazine

“I love Mary DeMocker’s advice: Now is the time to climb hills with our kids — and the time to climb the steps of the capitol.”
— Dr. James Hansen, former director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

“This is a book for anyone, of any age, who believes in the power of human creativity, or anyone who needs a dose of hope.”
— Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle, Last Child in the Woods, and Vitamin N

“Trust me, this is going to be fun.”
— Bill McKibben, co-founder of and author of The End of Nature

“For the love of children and our planet, devour this essential book . . .”
— Julia Olson, Executive Director of Our Children’s Trust and Lead Counsel in Juliana v. U.S.

“I love this book . . . wonderful, inspiring . . . brimming with ideas.”
— Scott D. Sampson, PhD, author of How to Raise a Wild Child and host of PBS Kids Dinosaur Train

“At last, genuinely practical and powerful answers to the question, what can I do to push back against fossil fuels and promote climate sanity? The book is brilliant. It’s honest. It’s funny. Here’s what you can do — right now.”
— Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Great Tide Rising

“This book will empower you and your children to walk hand in hand to turn the tides, gently but effectively, on the biggest issue we face.”
— Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, youth director of Earth Guardians and author of We Rise

“A treat to read. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Mary Christina Wood, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon and author of Nature’s Trust

“ . . . educational and inspiring . . .”
— Bob Doppelt, Executive Director of The Resource Innovation Group and author of Leading Change toward Sustainability

“Wise, subtle, fun, and informative — this is a book to savor, dog-ear, bookmark, highlight, and press into another person’s hands.”
— Peter Hoffmeister, author of Let Them Be Eaten by Bears and Too Shattered for Mending

“Encouraging, entertaining and, most of all, deeply empowering.”
— Catia Juliana, climate activist and mother of Kelsey Juliana, youth plaintiff in the Juliana v. U.S. climate lawsuit against the federal government

“. . . an invaluable handbook. . .”
— Jeremy Brecher, author of Against Doom

“. . . a delightful read . . . DeMocker teaches us that we can parent and save the Earth at the same time.”
Eugene Weekly

“Mary DeMocker . . . makes it easy for us to create a better future for all children.”
— Kitty Piercy, three-term mayor of Eugene, Oregon, voted “Most Valuable Local Official” in the U.S. by the Nation in 2010

“This is a guilt-free roadmap to saving ourselves in order to save the planet.”
— Stephanie LeMenager, professor of environmental studies at the University of Oregon and author of Living Oil

“Read it and enjoy the stories, tangible support, and inspiration from Mary DeMocker’s creative, powerful vision.”
— Kari Marie Norgaard, author of Living in Denial

“DeMocker says we need a ‘climate revolution’ and she’s right! If we begin that revolution at home, by teaching our kids that they can make a difference, we’ll make greater strides faster — strides that could last long enough for our kids to teach theirs to make a difference, too.”
— Diane Maceachern, Moms Clean Air Force

“ . . . pragmatic, cheerful, and chock-full of ideas . . .”
— Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Coast Weekend

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