Activist Kids: The Pasadena Climate Strike

At Kidspace we believe deeply in the potential of all children. We think kids can do anything and our campus offers endless opportunities for children to take risks, explore their world and follow their interests. So on September 20, when my science-obsessed 9-year-old told me that he wanted to participate in the Pasadena Climate Strike, I was all in. Here is a kid-driven global movement for change that melds science, art, activism and community. But I was worried too because Climate Change can be really scary and depressing to think about. So I wondered, how can I support a kid who wants to take action in an age appropriate way? Here’s what I learned:

Start with Role Models: If you haven’t already taken the 12 minutes to watch 16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s TedTalk, I recommend it. Greta is clear and passionate and also very open about how her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome influences the way she thinks about things – including climate change. She calls being on the spectrum her “superpower”. My son is very inspired by her! Here’s a kid that is making a huge impact on the whole world because she thinks differently than other folks. She even calls herself a “trouble maker”  – her decision to change her personal habits by becoming a vegan, stopping flying in planes and not buying anything new has really created a huge disruption for her family. My son loves hearing about how strong and committed she is – and how her family supports her.

Make a Personal Connection: Teaching kids about Climate Change and being self-aware of their own connection to it is just good stewardship. In the same way that we want to teach our kids to make their beds or help with the dishes or to make sure that a teammate is okay when they fall down, we want kids to learn about their power to have an impact on the environment. It’s very empowering to know that you can make a change! I mean look at these smiles. These kids loved taking to the streets with a big group of kids and adults. They felt so powerful and so excited.

Make a List of Actions: My son and I sat down after the Pasadena Climate Strike and we talked. We made a list of things that kids can do, with and without their parents, to help bring attention to the Climate Crisis in a non-scary way.

  1. Eat less meat and animal products. Get kids excited about a favorite Vegan or Vegetarian meal and talk about how that one choice is making less emissions and using less water for agriculture. Schedule a Meatless-Monday or try going veggie for a whole week!
  2. Take the kids shopping and talk about how things are packaged. Let them make some decisions about what snacks will go in their lunch and see if you can come up with an earth-friendly choice. Getting their buy-in is huge!
  3. Walk or bike or scoot to school one day a week.
  4. Get out there and let the world know how you feel! Take your kid to a Fridays for Future school strike or make a sign for your yard. Have a lemonade stand (with reusable cups) and donate the money to an organization that is working to stop Climate Change.
  5. Do your back-to-school clothes or toy shopping at one of the awesome second-hand stores in the area. The clothing industry is a top polluter – make hand-me-downs feel good!


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