I have so many feelings about it, particularly as a mom raising kids in an activist movement. That activism has consumed much of my life. I haven’t shared it here because I haven’t had the time or energy to do so. I’ve been consumed with saving my family in the near-term, endangered by a massive gas pipeline, and the not-very-long-term, endangered by global climate change. Nemo, at almost 7 years old, doesn’t remember a time when I wasn’t fighting.
I am often conflicted about which is worse- being absent from my children, having children who are hyper aware of the realities of the world and our precarious position in it OR keeping them blissfully ignorant and doing nothing, thus dooming them to a future we can’t begin to imagine.
That significant fear factors into my decisions of how and which actions to participate in.
As a mom who constantly questions how her absence and action impact her kids, it was curious to read Frida Berrigan’s perspective.
I know my kids went through a period, at the height of the pipeline construction, of being fearful about me or Mac being arrested and being taken away. Still today, a couple of years after the peak of our direct action campaign, they still work out scenarios with each other of how they would respond if we were arrested, where they would hide, who they would call, how they would thwart the police, etc.
Their significant fear factors into my decisions of how and which actions to participate in. I don’t want them to feel insecure. We read books from the perspective of children in the Civil Rights Movement. We participated in their scenarios to point out all the people who would keep us safe and help us. We promised NEVER to risk arrest without their consent and without a plan in advance so they would be taken care of.
When it comes to climate change, it seems painfully obvious that most parents choose to do nothing and pretend we aren’t in jeopardy. Will they look back with regret when their kids face food shortages and the ravages of climate change? Or will they say, “Well at least I didn’t have to get off the couch to march and never missed a soccer game! Junior had a blissful childhood of excess and waste!”
What about me? Will all this sacrifice be for nought and I’ll look back and wish I hadn’t wasted my time? That I’d been home more. That the pediatrician recognized me because I’d been the one to take my kids to the doctor? That I’d used the money for vacations and college savings instead of legal fees and printing flyers? That I’d kept them blissfully ignorant so that at least they’d had one time in their lives free of climate reality?
I don’t know. I hope it’s all worth it. I hope some day Mabel or Nemo can write their version of this but with more closeness, love, and happiness weaved throughout… and a happy ending.