“First, relax. Get together with other people. Start with one thing. Get off screens and get outdoors,” encouraged Allendale Columbia alumna Mary DeMocker ’80, in her talks with parents and students while visiting her high school alma mater. She talked about her book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep, which is a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Award.
“Parents are hardwired to protect their kids,” she said at the event and in her book, providing them with food to eat, providing care and comfort when they’re sick, helping make sure they get their homework done, and more. And that’s why, she says, parents are the key to saving children from the chaos of climate change. She started when she became a parent and realized she needed to do more than recycle and change lightbulbs, that change would only come from community and political action.
She learned to write at AC, she told parents at the Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) Coffee Connection. She has used that skill, along with her background in art and music, to help her children’s friends start 350 Eugene, an organization in Oregon, where she has lived for many years, to promote sustainability. She set up art installations on her lawn and worked with neighbors to simulate what it would be like to have a fracked-gas pipeline run through her town, as was being proposed. She also helped promote events to support Our Children’s Trust and the 21 children suing the government for relief from policies that are preventing “their constitutional right to a livable planet,” the Juliana v. United States case that’s now held up in the courts.
She encourages people who wish to join her in this fight to relax about the small stuff, to get away from “screens” and listen and engage with people to work together to influence change at the policy level, and to spend more time outdoors immersed in nature. He book suggests at least 100 ways get involved and make a difference.
Allendale Columbia welcomes alumni on campus to talk about their projects and life after AC, including CNN Hero Matt Zeller ‘00, cellist Greg Byers ‘04, and many others for formal talks and informal classroom visits.
John PalomakiAfter working at a small college in California and some early tech companies, John spent a stimulating 10 years at Microsoft through the 90s as a systems engineer and managing executive relations programs. Since then, John has worked with non-profit organizations and has held leadership roles in independent schools in New Jersey and Connecticut in development, communications, and technology. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences (Biology) from Colgate University.
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