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Climate Change: Grandmothers Step Up For Their Grandchildren

Climate Change:  Grandmothers Step Up For Their Grandchildren


Leaving a legacy to one’s family means more than leaving a will or an estate plan; it also means leaving a testament to one’s values and priorities. This is the goal of four elder women in California who are concerned about their grandchildren’s future. Martha Cain, Sally Francis, Virginia Morris, and Claire Schoen connected with one another over their mutual concern about the impact that climate change would have on upcoming generations. They formed a small group, calling themselves Grandmothers 4 a Green New Deal, in order to educate themselves about this crisis.

Martha sees all youth as her children
Claire Schoen with her granddaughter

Living in California, the Grandmothers began to see the connection between the mega-fires that were ravaging their state and the predictions of drought and fire that climate scientists were making. And hearing about the inequities in health care during the pandemic, they began to understand that climate change is also affecting communities of color harder than others. “All of us are being hit by the climate crisis in one way or another, but people of color, like many members of my own family, are some of the most vulnerable. So I worry in particular about the future of people like my granddaughter,” says Sally Francis.

Sally is concerned for her Native-American grandaughter.

The Grandmothers decided they needed to step out of their comfort zone and reach out to other elders to provide some positive approaches to the climate challenge that they were learning about. So far, they have taken two steps. The first was to produce a 17-minute video, called A Path Forward. And then they created a discussion-based, zoom workshop that uses the video as a jumping-off point for engagement. Both these projects explain the leadership role that youth are playing in the environmental movement today. “My granddaughter gets what’s going on,” says Virginia Morris. “At age 12 she calls the climate crisis an apocalypse. And as a Korean American, she understands that our country’s racial inequalities are central to all of our challenges. This video is my gift to her.”

climate change
Virginia and two Korean grandkids.

These women believe they’re setting a good example to their offspring by taking a proactive role in making the world a better place.

Watch A Path Forward here:

Grandmothers 4 a Green New Deal takes a deep dive into the Green New Deal; an ambitious and visionary proposal by AOC to tackle the climate crisis while providing a roadmap to a just and peaceful future.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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