By WEN Guest blogger, Robyn Purchia
Like all mothers, Tara Holmes’ life changed when her daughter was born. Now the mother of a six-month-old, the founder of a climate change-focused communications consultancy, and a new member of Women’s Environmental Network’s (WEN) Board of Directors, Holmes finds it hard to find the time to do all the things she wants. She also finds herself more concerned about the future and climate change.
When asked how she confronts her time constraints and concerns, Holmes said, “Being with other women and feeling empowered by that community is so important on so many levels.”
The family-friendly “Green Movie Night,” co-hosted by WEN and Mothers Out Front last month in San Francisco, was a chance for women like Holmes to connect with one another. The co-hosts showed “The Lorax” and “Worse Than Poop” to children, while adults watched and discussed Episode 1 of “Years of Living Dangerously.” The women in attendance–mothers and non-mothers—welcomed the opportunity to engage.
After the film, they talked about deforestation, plant-based diets, and the importance of women’s leadership. Participants brought to the group their vast expertise in school procurement, electric vehicles, and palm oil. Many expressed enjoyment that they got to work through heavy and frightening issues in a supportive environment.
“It’s a different feeling to be in a room with women who are listening, providing ideas, and being thoughtful,” Maia Piccagli, the co-leader of the Mothers Out Front San Francisco team, said. “I feel like that most of the time with Mothers Out Front.”
At the end of the discussion, the hosts distributed a survey to better understand attendees’ environmental and career goals, ambitions, and daily demands. Women’s Environmental Network and Mothers Out Front want to learn how to better schedule and format events, so more women make time to seek each other out in supportive and empowering spaces.
“When thinking of moms, we must think of older moms of older kids, who can now find the time and energy to devote to environmental causes; moms entering this overwhelming world for the first time because their kids are involved in some way; and moms that are not moms yet – not just new moms like us who are quick and eager to participate,” said Anya Deepak, WEN President and a volunteer with Mothers Out Front.
“If we could create programming and engagements for them,” said Deepak, “we could capture the nascent energy of a frequently overlooked segment.”
Mothers are a tremendously diverse group with significant time constraints and responsibilities. But mothers also make the time to join mommy-baby yoga classes, school groups, and volunteer organizations because communities offer comradery and compassion. As we raise and support the next generation, we need support to feel empowered and nurtured ourselves.
By offering community-building events like the “Green Movie Night,” Mothers Out Front and Women’s Environmental Network offer an additional benefit—an outlet to channel some of the fears we all have about climate change and the future. Through connection we can draw strength to make the world safer for all children.
The organizations look forward to a continued partnership in the Bay Area.
Guest blogger Robyn Purchia is the California Development Organizer with Mothers Out Front and a weekly guest columnist with The San Francisco Examiner. Her articles focus on a range of local environmental issues.