As a scientist, Emily Fischer understands the climate crisis. She’s an associate professor in the atmospheric science department at Colorado State University who studies wildfire smoke. But she also thinks about the climate crisis through the lens of being a mother, and sometimes those worlds collide, like when she was backpacking with her family in August and had to run from the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest recorded wildfire in Colorado’s history.
Now, Fischer is combining her perspective as both a scientist and a mom through the Science Moms education campaign, a nonpartisan effort in partnership with the nonprofit Potential Energy Coalition to provide accessible, digestible information about climate change to other mothers, and inspire them to push for climate action now.
Fischer is among six scientists slash moms who founded the initiative—and both identities are crucial to how these women are coming at the issue of climate change “It’s hard to study climate change and aspects of climate change and be a mother, because the data’s very real to you,” Fischer says. She thinks of our climate timeline in terms of her own kids: We need a massive shift in the way we produce energy within 10 years, the same time period she needs to save and plan to send her daughter to college. “We’re hoping that moms will realize that climate change impacts their children, and that we have solutions, but we need to act relatively quickly,” she adds.
Moms are already concerned about climate change—93% of mothers say we have a “moral obligation to create a safe and healthy climate for ourselves and our children,” compared to 88% of the general U.S. population. Black and Latina mothers are especially worried; per a 2017 survey, 87% and 84% of Latina and Black mothers and grandmothers agree that we’re not doing enough to protect clean air and water for children in the coming years, compared to 71% for white mother figures.
But lots of these moms are still insufficiently informed about the issue or how to act, the scientists say. Science Moms will put that often overwhelming climate data into “bite-sized nuggets,” hopefully combatting any misinformation moms may encounter and driving home the urgency of the issue. The site includes resources like books for both moms and kids that address climate change and TED talks to watch, and action steps so moms can reach out to their representatives. Science Moms is also working with the Potential Energy Coalition to create television ads.
Moms are used to making decisions for their children’s future all the time, Fischer says, and this campaign is an extension of that. “Addressing climate change right now will protect your kids,” she says.