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Activism for Our Children

Beth Mark shares the stories of parents raising their voices for future generations

Nothing is more powerful than a mother’s instinct to protect her child. When I became a mummy, I felt things so deeply. My emotions were heightened and sensitive to any sort of danger that might affect my child. My son was born a few months before Greta Thunberg first burst onto the scene. The more I read, the more I agreed with her honest outrage at the government’s lack of action against climate change. It felt personal.

During the last three years since the devastating report was released, the world has started, ever so slowly, to wake up. There isn’t a high street brand that does not want to show off its green credentials; there isn’t a company that doesn’t have the word sustainability somewhere in its business model. Still, though, we are on track for yet another rise in CO2 levels, and my son’s future is in no better shape today than it was when he was born. A new IPCC report was released this autumn – “code red for humanity” – the starkest warning yet.

I remember during night feeds, I would scroll through endless stories that predicted a catastrophic future for my son and his peers. It was difficult to comprehend; he felt so heartbreakingly innocent. Confused, concerned and most of all determined, I wanted to figure out how I could do something – anything – to help.

2018 was a pivotal moment. The IPCC report was released, and the findings showed that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. As I’m writing this, we stand in front of another pivotal moment, Cop26 in Glasgow, understood to be one of our last chances to create a global mitigation strategy to avoid catastrophic climate changes.

But this time I feel better equipped to face the doomsday headlines. This time I know there are people, ordinary people like me and you, out there dedicating everything they have to change the path ahead. I know this because I have met them. I have seen their passion and I have surrounded myself with them. They come from all paths of life: they are in the classrooms as teachers, in the fields as farmers, in the factories as workers, in the hospitals as healers, in the boardrooms as CEOs, and in the legislature as policymakers. Above all that, they are mothers and fathers, and together, they have the power to build a safe, just and clean world for future generations.

So here they are: some of the women who let me into their lives to share their stories.


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