My Biggest Worry for My Kids


After each of my kids were born I went through the normal worries of a new mom. I would check on them in the middle of the night even when they were sleeping soundly, just to make sure they were breathing, to see that they weren’t too hot or cold, their diaper was dry and their tummies were well fed.

But each night, even after I was sure my kids were ok, I would lie awake in bed worrying. There are struggles that inevitably come with growing up, but I knew we would get through them somehow. My biggest worry was for their future and how would it be affected by climate change. How would their lives be affected by the destabilization of natural and social systems that scientists predict will come along with a warmer globe? We are already seeing some of those effects such as superstorms and megadroughts.

My first solution for dealing with this daunting issue was to think about my own lifestyle and try to figure out what I could personally do to reduce my own use of fossil fuels, the cause of man-made climate change. We got solar panels to produce a large portion of our electricity, insulated our house, got a pellet stove, started a garden, raised egg-laying chickens, and I learned to preserve food through canning. I sign tons of petitions weekly calling for clean energy, the end of fossil fuel subsidies, to stop tar sands pipelines.

It still didn’t seem like enough for a problem of such global magnitude. I had to do more, for my kids.

This year I began working with two climate change groups. This past summer I trained to be a Climate Leader through the Climate Reality Project. It was incredibly inspiring and empowering. I have now started giving community presentations on climate science and what we can do to prevent climate change to inform people, but to also inspire hope and action. This winter I decided to start a Burlington chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL takes it a step further because they (a bipartisan organization) aim to 1) create the political will for a stable climate and 2) to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power.

As I have participated in meetings with both groups  the connecting thread between all of us is that we feel compelled to fight against climate change for the sake of our children. A lot of us hear about climate change on the news or read about it in the paper and are overwhelmed and saddened or even depressed. It’s much easier to ignore the problem and continue with our normal activities. However, there already are solutions at hand for climate change, what is missing is the political will to implement them. Though solving climate change seems impossible, in the words of the late President Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

I believe that as mothers we have incredible power to advocate for and shape our kids’ future. We need to speak up and reclaim that power on all levels to protect our children’s futures. Then we can all sleep a bit easier.


If you are interested in working on climate change for the sake of our kids contact [email protected]

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Sandra O'Flaherty
I am stay at home mom to two wonderful kids. I grew up in Vermont, but it wasn't until I left this great state for a few years that I truly appreciated what a wonderful place it is. My husband is also a Vermonter, so we are happy to be able to raise our kids here surrounded by a large extended family. In fact, we like it so much that we bought the house next door to his parents, and my mom lives in an apartment on our property. We enjoy playing outdoors and poking around our little "gentleman's farm" that we started in 2010. We have chickens, goats, a work-in-progress vegetable garden, fruit trees, and we tap our own maple trees for syrup. I have a BA in environmental studies and an MA in urban planning. I try to keep a toe in the professional world that I left when my oldest was born by serving on our local Planning Commission. You can learn more about me and my passion for this planet we call home on my blog: Mama of Ma'at


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