In 2019 our founder Matt Price started reckoning with the realities of the climate crisis and being a parent. He found hope in the thought of parents harnessing their love for their kids to change the course of history. He reached out to his networks, connected existing parent climate groups in Canada, and brought parents together to launch For Our Kids. Here is Matt's story from 2019:
To keep sane, I think we all practice a form of climate denialism. I put mine in place about ten years ago after having a mild panic attack reading climate literature. Since then it’s not that I entirely ignored climate change, but more that I buried it underneath other priorities so that it didn’t bother me as much. That wasn’t actually a rational decision since it’s kind of like trying to ignore the large asteroid heading towards our planet and just going about your life. But the asteroid didn’t go away – it got closer.
My defences broke this past summer. Looking out my window through the forest fire smoke to the dim sun, I think it was the smell that finally did me in. Our home, this Earth, is burning, I realized, and I’m not engaged enough in the fight to help save it.
I also realized in that moment that I can’t separate my thoughts about climate change from my feelings about our 12-year old son. As parents we make little sacrifices every day to help our kids along, and we know we’d sacrifice it all to save them from danger. Parental love is a visceral, powerful thing.
It’s not that I don’t care about my own future in a changing climate. The impacts are already upon us, as my nose and my lungs will attest. But now my first duty is to my son, and his future weighs so much more heavily on my soul than my own. My nightmare sees him marching off to fight in a war in a chaotic world driven by climate conflict. That scenario is all too real on our current pathway.
I admit it: this is all so overwhelming. My denialism is a much more comfortable place compared to looking the monster in the face. Since the summer I’ve been a bit paralyzed. My nights have been fitful.
But one hopeful idea emerged from my fears. This powerful, visceral thing, this instinct to protect and nurture our kids is shared by all parents, and there are more and more of us concerned about climate change. I asked on my Facebook timeline – admittedly not a random sample – whether people thought there was an opportunity to build a constituency of parents to demand more action on climate, and dozens said yes.
This is not a new idea. There are similar initiatives in other countries, interestingly often focused on moms more exclusively. We dads are apparently either less caring, less competent organizers, or both. And, in the past few months there’s also been a groundswell of youth-focused initiatives, which in some ways is the flip side of the generational coin. Both reframe climate not primarily as an environmental issue but as a deeply moral issue about love and justice. Those are the kinds of values that turbo charge action.
But is it too late? That question haunts me, but I think I’ve come down on the side of believing not. Our biggest barrier is a failure of political imagination, or the inability to date of our elected officials to tell a big bold story of Canada that’s greener, more equitable, and where we are kind to one another – the kind of country parents want their kids to grow up in. We already have all the wealth, technology, and renewable energy resources we need. Now we need the will to make it happen.
So enough paralysis. I’ve cleared my plate so that I can focus on this starting in 2019. I’m taking a leap of faith that there are people out there who share the same feelings as I do who will want to get involved. I sure hope so, since I’m an introvert by nature and much prefer when others lead. But I’m also committed to doing what it takes. I want to sleep soundly at night knowing I’m doing what I can to help.
Matt Price, 2019.
It turns out he wasn't the only one feeling this way. Since then, we have grown to a network of over 5000 parents taking interest and taking action.
If any of this resonates with you, please consider joining us. No expertise is needed to join—just love for our kids, grandkids, and future generations. You'll be a part of a supportive community figuring it out together.