An Arizona scientist and non-profit organization is on a mission to use the power of moms to help fight climate change.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Though the challenges posed by climate change may seem overwhelming, an Arizona scientist is harnessing the power of America’s mothers to give Earth a fighting fighting chance.
Oceanographer Joellen Russell works in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona. She uses robots, supercomputers and satellites to assess the role of the ocean in climate change.
“I’m one of those big nerds,” Dr. Russell said with a laugh.
Moms on a mission
Russell is also a mother of two children. This role inspired her to help lead the non-partisan activist group Scientific momsdedicated to explaining climate change in simple, factual terms and motivating everyday moms to demand solutions that preserve the planet for future generations.
“There is nothing more powerful than moms on a mission,” Russell said.
For Russell, climate change is personal, especially in the Southwest where Tucson and Phoenix are the third and fourth fastest warming cities in the country.
Her family goes crazy in the summer months when it’s too hot for outdoor activities and they worry about the impact of crop shortages in the coming years caused by the mega-drought on food supplies. .
“I think being a mom really puts things into perspective,” Russell said.
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Dispelling climate change myths
Science Moms use videos to dispel myths such as “climate change is a natural occurrence” or “climate change is far in the distant future”. Perhaps the most damning myth of all, according to Science Moms, is “there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The vast majority of the world’s scientists agree that human-caused carbon emissions cause global warming. Organizations like Nasa and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provide specific details and warnings about the consequences.
“You know, moms change the world. Whether it’s voting rights or child labor, we can have a big impact,” Russell said.
She says Americans have reason to hope. Since 2007, energy-related carbon emissions from coal have declined an average of 6% each year in the United States. However, recent IPCC reports note that governments around the world are falling far behind climate goals.
” We are progressing. We just have to make it faster,” Russell said.
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A “to do list” to take action
The Science Moms is now launching a $3 million program to-do list campaign involving videos and advertisements designed to inspire mums to action.
“Science Moms have created the one thing all moms need to take action, a to-do list,” Russell said in the video.
The list has three steps; Swap polluting items for electrical appliances, share the climate science message with other moms, and talk to politicians about the need for civic action.
Russell’s upbeat and energetic demeanor contrasts with some of the somber messages one can find on social media among discouraged conservationists.
“We are not passive here. It is not something that is done to us. We’ll fix it,” Russell said.
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