Four tips for turning parents into climate activists

  • 2nd December 2021
  • 2 minute read
Photo: Courtesy of Creatives4Climate

Parents can play a key role in pressing for action on climate change. They vote, they make household decisions as consumers, they’re key players in their local communities and they players in their local communities and they often hold power in their workplaces. Here are four key lessons we’ve learned as climate–parent organisers:

Use personal storytelling and simple narratives.

The climate crisis is often communicated in language that’s offputting to some audiences – either because it’s too scientifically complex, or because it comes across as strident. To inspire and motivate parents, tell personal stories using language that’s emotional, empowering and acronym-free. Focus on the need to protect our children’s health and their future.

A selfie of Mariana Menezes and her family at their first climate strike. It was one of the first posts for Familias pelo Clima, Brazil. The poster says: their future depends on what we do now! Photo: Courtesy of Mariana Menezes

Use photos showing parents and families doing climate-related activities.

Show ordinary people engaged in sustainable behaviours and solutions. This motivates others to adopt the same habits, and signals to policymakers that the public is ready for change.

Local community organiser brings the DearTomorrow storytelling project to the Saturday Night Market in order to engage families in discussions about the climate. Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Photo: Courtesy of Creatives4Climate

Focus on organising locally.

Organisers are most effective when they communicate directly with friends, family members and their own communities in a way that speaks directly to their identities and values. Create projects, actions and campaigns aimed at engaging other parents in your own neighbourhoods, schools, faith communities and workplaces.

Create family-friendly ways to get involved.

Parents are busy! Hold meetings and other activities at times that work for caregivers. Avoid school pick-up hours, dinnertime and bedtime. Encourage parents to bring children with them to climate events. Provide snacks, games and fun activities; or organise at playgrounds and parks. Remember that some parents aren’t comfortable demonstrating in the streets. Offer actions that they can take at home, at their children’s schools, or in their communities.

Frida Berry Eklund

Frida Berry Eklund is a Swedish climate communications specialist, Head of Operations at Swedish climate–parent group Våra barns klimat, and Co-founder and Senior Adviser at Our Kids’ Climate. She is also the author of the Swedish-language book Prata med barn om klimatet (Talk to children about climate). She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Jill Kubit

Jill Kubit is Director and Co-founder of DearTomorrow, an award-winning climate storytelling project. She’s co-founder of the Our Kids’ Climate global network, and of the Climate Parent Fellowship. She lives in New York City, USA.

Topics Education Environment Parents

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