Well, I guess great minds think alike. At about the same time that we were getting our APLS Carnival off the ground, Lynn at Organic Mania was launching her own Green Moms Carnival. Not being officially a mom (is BM an abbreviation for breast milk or something else, and if it is an abbreviation for breast milk, why does a two syllable phrase need to be abbreviated?) I didn't really look into submitting a post or anything.
As it turns out, the warm and welcoming Lynn was allowing moms, non-moms, and even some XY-chromosome types to participate in the carnival. Ah well. My bad. So I didn't participate in the first go around, but I think the carnival is important, and I wanted to mention it, and just for fun, here's what I might have said, had I thought to like, read the submission guidelines.
People often say that one person's actions can't change the world. That one woman using a reusable shopping bag won't do anything. That one mom buying her groceries at the farmers' market doesn't make a difference. That one family isn't going to stop global warming by composting.
And ... I think that's fair. It's true that my actions alone aren't going to STOP global warming in it's tracks.
But here's the other truth that those people never mention:
We can't curb global warming WITHOUT individual action.
I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating: social movement precedes public policy. And historically, women and mothers have been the backbone of social movements.
Most people, when asked who was responsible for abolition, would immediately respond: Lincoln. But Lincoln didn't just show up on the national scene in a vacuum. On the contrary, the moral crisis over slavery was first fought in individual homes, towns, and churches. Hundreds and hundreds of mothers read Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Hundreds and hundreds of mothers imagined what it would be like to have their child sold into slavery. And soon, hundreds and hundreds of mothers were declaring slavery to be immoral.
Abolition was quickly gaining steam in social circles and churches, but meanwhile, in Washington, Congress and the Presidents of the era were practicing avoidance. For eight years in 1830s and 40s, Congress was actually FORBIDDEN from even DISCUSSING slavery. Finally, in 1850, two years before Uncle Tom's Cabin was published, Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, and with it, the Fugitive Slave Law, which made every citizen complicit in the slave trade. In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that slaves were property in the egregious Dred Scott decision. When Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from the Union, and the lame duck President Buchanan, actually sat around and did NOTHING. That's right. Nothing.
My point is, while the abolition movement was heating up, while this crisis that would eventually lead to secession was becoming a bigger and bigger issue, our elected leaders did very little. It was not until they were compelled to act by societal forces that anything ever changed. So while, yes, eventually, slavery was abolished due to the 13th Amendment, there wouldn't have ever BEEN a thirteenth amendment if it weren't for individuals banding together to create the abolition movement.
Today, our nation is also facing a major crisis. And just like in 1850, our elected leaders are showing a certain reluctance to actually lead. Indeed, if you were to look at the actions of our government to curb global warming, one would probably think, "We're all doomed."
But ... we're not doomed, and here's why. While the government dilly dallies, and the Earth grows hotter, individuals have been acting. Farmers markets are multiplying. Reusable bags are all the rage. People are driving less, and using public transit more often. People are recycling, composting, line drying clothes, and growing their own food.
And these people who seem to be responsible for most of these changes?
It's very simple really. Mothers still tend to be the ones responsible for the management of a household. They are the ones who often are responsible for buying the groceries, cooking, and drying the clothes. And thus, they are the ones who wield the power to change how their family as a whole operates.
Mothers in our society tend to get ignored by everyone but advertisers and politicians. And the advertisers assume that mothers only care about shopping, and the politicians assume that mothers only care about soccer games and safety.
But the truth is, mothers are much, much more intelligent and complex.
Mothers care about safety, yes, but they're not just worried about terrorists and kidnappers. They care about the safety of our food systems. They care about the toxins that are in our household cleaning products. They care about antibiotics in our drinking water.
And beyond safety, these mothers care about people. They care about building a better society. Their hearts ache for the child whose entire life was dispaced by Katrina. They worry for the Bangladeshi mother who is going to bear the brunt of climate change.
The moms I've had the fortune to meet on the blogosphere are fierce, they are determined, and they are brilliant as hell. They may have a degree in environmental science, or they may never have finished college, but that doesn't stop them from reading, learning, and immersing themselves in the global warming crisis.
Many of our leaders and policy makers might think, "Oh, they're just housewives. What do they really know?"
Well, I'm hear to tell you, they know plenty. And frankly, our elected leaders ignore these fine women at their own risk. Because as each day passes, these women, these mothers, are growing more and more powerful.
And one day, very soon, these women, these "mere housewives" will be so powerful, that our elected leaders will no longer be able to practice avoidance. Our government will be forced to pass meaningful global warming legislation.
And perhaps, 150 years from now, a history book will claim that President Obama was the one responsible for turning around the crisis of global warming.
And the world will forget who was really responsible.
But if the crisis of global warming is overcome, it won't be because of an elected official in Washington D.C.
It will be because of mothers and fathers, singletons and families, in California, in Michigan, in Florida, in France, in Canada, and all over the world.
We are not doomed.
The world will be saved.
Because the mothers are on the march.
1 day ago