Nature Book Week
8 Sep 2022
We mothers are crucially important - and not just on Mothers day! Not only do our kids and families depend on us, but we also hold the knowledge and love that is needed to transform into the safe and just world that we urgently need.
But rising up and showing our power in the face of the climate threat is emotionally very hard work. In the face of the climate crisis - and our national government’s appalling lack of action to solve this threat to our kids - it’s natural to feel a lot of emotions: anger, fear, anxiety, grief at what we are losing, hurt that our leaders don’t seem to care about our children’s future.
I feel all these too. And it’s taken me years of practice to work out how not to get worn out and depressed by it, or feel constantly anxious about the problem. I so know that feeling of climate change hanging over me like a cloud every day.
It’s a lot to deal with. But if we are to be a secure and positive presence for our kids and community, and if we are to be happy in our own lives, we need to work out how to be resilient in the face of the climate crisis.
I’m not really talking about food here (though healthy food is obviously important). Find things that make you feel deeply nourished and spend some minutes doing that every single day. For me it’s walking or meditating in nature - the beach, forest, a park. Other ideas are: playing or listening to music, dancing, making art, gardening, reading a great novel, doing yoga, meditation or tai chi. Do one of these every day for at least 10 minutes and you’ll feel better!
When our mind is full of worries for much of the day, we end up feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. This means we are less effective with our kids - and on our climate action work. So whenever you notice you’re worrying or having angry thoughts, make a point of redirecting your attention to something nourishing in the present. For me, I take a deep breath and feel in my body how much I love my daughter - and I just sit with that for a bit.
We have so much on our plate as mothers, that it's important to know how to draw the line when our plate gets too full. Climate work is important, but even with an urgent issue like this, we need to know when to stop. Look for the signs that you are not looking after yourself, and take a break for a while. Common signs are: feeling anxious and constantly on edge; not sleeping well; getting sick and rundown; or feeling grumpy and angry with everyone, even your loved ones.
The best way to get active is with other people in your community who ‘get’ you. Even one or two other mums or dads you can get active with will help you to feel less alone and more supported and powerful. If you can’t find local friends to do this with, you can connect with our community on Facebook right now. Or meet your local action group here.
We mothers do so much - for our families, at work, in our community. Yet we often beat ourselves up for not doing enough or not doing it all well enough. If you’re loving your kids: you’re doing a great job! If you’re doing something for the wider world: you’re doing a great job! Take a moment to give yourself a hug and drop those impossible expectations.
On the other hand, if you feel paralysed by the climate issue, it’s better for your mental health to do something. This counters anxiety and anger because you’re turning that energy into useful action, rather than worry. So next time you feel your climate anxiety rising, sign a petition, email your local MP or join a webinar. You can message all your candidates right now, in under 2 minutes.
We have a lot to deal with. But if we are to be a secure and positive presence for our kids and community, and if we are to be happy in our own lives, we need to work out how to be resilient in the face of the climate crisis.
Thank you for the love you are giving to your families and to our world. More than ever, we need motherly love to help us solve the challenges. Let’s all be resilient so we can keep on loving our world.
Suzie Brown is former national director, co-founder, and now on the board of Australian Parents for Climate Action
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Australian Parents for Climate Action meet and work on the lands of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and respect that sovereignty of those lands was never ceded. We pay respect to Elders, past and present and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community.