Parents Ask Presidential Candidates: Please Talk About Climate Change!

Written by Ronnie Citron-Fink

We were so excited when the team at Climate Parents approached Moms Clean Air Force and asked us to co-sponsor a rally and billboard in Denver before the first presidential debate. Our collective goal was to send the strong message that parents want to know what the presidential candidates’ plans are to tackle the climate crisis and lead this country into a new era of energy-efficiency. Lisa Hoyos, from Climate Parents graciously provides a wonderful recount of the event:

On Monday afternoon, two days before the presidential debate, dozens
 of Colorado parents and kids gathered in the heart of downtown Denver 
to call on the presidential candidates to explain their plans to
 reduce fossil fuel emissions, rapidly scale up clean energy, and
 protect our children from the climate-change fueled fires, floods and
 storms that are increasingly wracking our nation. The rally, sponsored 
by Climate Parents and Moms Clean Air Force— and supported by 
groups like the action fund, the Alliance for Climate
 Education and the Sierra Club — featured the unveiling of a colorful
 billboard picturing a young girl asking presidential candidates,
 “Which way will you lead us?” — toward climate crisis or 
climate solutions?

As a parent of four- and a seven-year-old boys, climate change looms
 large in my mind as a serious threat to their future. I’ve
 talked to enough parents who feel the same way to understand that 
we’re a constituency primed to be more actively engaged in
 fighting climate change. Standing underneath our billboard in Denver,
 I felt a strong sense of hope and possibility, mostly inspired by the
 wisdom of the kids participating in our event. A Colorado high 
school senior, Tehya Brown said, “As a first time voter, my
 vote will go to the candidate who displays the greatest and most 
genuine concern for clean energy, sustainable jobs, and environmental

“The survival of our generation is at stake because of the lack of action on climate change.”
~ Xiuhtexcatl Martinez, 12 yrs old

Her sentiments were echoed by Xiuhtexcatl Martinez,
 whose climate activism career spans half of his twelve years. He
 crystallized the message of our rally when he said, The
 survival of our generation is at stake because of the lack of action
 on climate change. Neither of the candidates are taking climate change 
seriously, and it’s the biggest threat we face as a human 
race.” After throwing down that level of wisdom, Xiuhetexcatl
 and his little brother Itzcuauhtli proceeded to perform two climate-themed rap songs 
they wrote themselves.

While the emotional power of these young people’s voices was
 unmistakable, our gathering of parents and kids was not short on
 political analysis. We talked about the billions of dollar spent by the coal and 
oil lobbies to keep us dependent on oil and gas, and to slow the shift 
to clean energy that our country and our climate so desperately need. We 
talked about this corporate influence being a prime reason that 
Governor Romney mocked even caring about climate change in his
 convention speech. And we discussed why President Obama — who clearly 
understands the threat climate change poses — still promotes an “all of the
 above” energy strategy that includes expanded oil, gas 
drilling and even so-called “clean coal.”

“My son and I watched the fires burning our mountains in
August. From one mother to two fathers, what will you do to protect
our mountains?” ~ Pamela Campos

Anyone who has spent time in Colorado this year knows that the dangers 
of climate change are here and now. Which is why, Pamela Campos, a representative of
 Moms Clean Air Force, while holding her three-year-old, aimed a
 question directly at President Obama and Governor Romney, saying,
 “My son and I watched the fires burning our mountains in 
August. From one mother to two fathers, what will you do to protect 
our mountains?”

Peter Sawtell, the father of a grown son and an ordained minister who 
serves as the Executive Director of Eco-Justice Ministries, told the
 crowd, “People always say we should think about what kind of
 world we want to leave to our kids. We need to flip the premise and
 ask what kind of world do our kids have the right to expect from 
us?…I will vote for the candidate who demonstrates he really takes that question seriously.”

It’s fair to say that everyone over the age of six who rallied
 at our billboard knows that we’ve got an uphill battle on our 
hands, and that our success depends on a sense of urgency at every
 level of government. We also acknowledged that we’re still
 waiting on the presidential candidates to outline their comprehensive 
plans to fight climate change. The debate cycle gives them 
three opportunities to accomplish that task.

In the meantime, Climate ParentsMoms Clean Air Force and our allies 
will keep keep pressing the candidates to
 give us their plan to end the climate crisis. It will only work if thousands join us, so please add
 your voice and help us build a base of parents large enough and
 powerful enough to move the political needle on climate change.


Related Stories:

12 Green Questions For the Presidential Debate

For Your Debate-Watching Pleasure: Romney Bingo

Top 10 Debate Moments of All Time


Photo credit: Drew Carlson


Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Leslie Gaiter
Leslie Gaiter5 years ago

No talk of climate change, gun control, education reform, foreclosures or our criminal justice system just to name a few areas of concern to us all.

Nicole Gorman
Nicole Gorman5 years ago


Berenice Guedes de Sá

Thanks for the info!

Mitchell D.
Mitchell D5 years ago

I would advise Tehya Brown, and Peter Sawtell, and others of like mind to vote for Obama, as he is the most likely of the 2 to take some actual, serious action. Romney, and the GOP, are much to beholden to big energy, as well as the concept that the market will take care of things on its own. What they don't tell you is that they count on the market to take care of THEM!!
The market is not a "free" market, it is a function of the plutocracy that runs the country, and that the GOP folk are particularly married to.
The Repugs make noise about free market economy, freedom of choice, independence for individuals, and the like...all for the purpose of being able to continue to do what they have always done, enrich themselves at the expense of every one else.
Maybe they ought to start becoming independent of the huge governmental subsidies they, and corporate America, have been milking for decades!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

They'll only lie to you,,,so, better if you don't ask, I mean to say their's an election on and why would climate change help anyone get to 1666

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago


Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle5 years ago

An ice free arctic, sea levels rising and a radical change in our weather patterns. We still have an entire political party denying that climate change exists.
The sad thing is that we recognized the problem years ago, when we could still stop it, and have done little or nothing.

rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

Please talk about CC!