The fourth annual Mother’s Day Climate Rally, organized by the NOVA Climate Coalition, featured national climate leaders Wenonah Hauter, founder of Food & Water Watch; Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor, 14-year-old founder of Earth Uprising; and her mother Kristen Hogue, graduate student in climate studies at UC Davis. The one-hour family-friendly event also featured a children’s story time and music.
Many are unaware that Mother’s Day began as a way for mothers to protest war after losing their sons in Civil War battle. The NOVA Climate Coalition’s annual Mother’s Day Climate Rally called for Mother’s Day to be repurposed as a day of climate activism which demands a livable future for our children. Hauter, McKibben, Villasenor and Hogue addressed the way forward for climate activists during this uncertain time and showed us how focusing on the climate crisis is more important than ever.
About Our Speakers:
Wenonah Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Action. She has three decades of experience campaigning and writing on food, water, energy and environmental issues. She has trained and mentored hundreds of organizers and activists across the country and worked at the national, state and local levels to develop policy positions and legislative and field strategies to secure real wins for communities and the environment.
Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.
Alexandria Villaseñor is the founder of youth climate activist group Earth Uprising. She is a participant, alongside Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, in a lawsuit against France, Germany, Chile, Turkey, and Brazil for violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by contributing to rising greenhouse emissions. Villaseñor began a solitary protest in front of the United Nations in the wake of 2018’s unsuccessful climate talks in Poland. She was following in the footsteps of Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, and their school strikes quickly built a powerful movement with over 6 million participants worldwide.
Kristin Hogue, a graduate student in climate studies at Columbia UC Davis, and mother of Alexandria Villaseñor, is well suited to advocate for Mother’s Day as a day of climate action. Not only has she devoted her academic life to the study of climate science, but she also spends the remainder of her time as a board member for Earth Uprising and supporting her daughter on the front lines of the fight for her generation’s future.
About the Mother’s Day Climate Rally:
Mother’s Day has its origins in the Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in 1870 by abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In the wake of the civil war, Howe sought to mobilize mothers around the world to protect future generations of children by outlawing war. The Mother’s Day Climate Rally renews the holiday’s activist spirit by mobilizing people to act on the most pressing issue of our time, climate change.
The Annual Mother’s Day Rally is the largest gathering of climate and social justice groups in Northern Virginia. Co-sponsors include: 350 Fairfax; 350 Loudoun; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions; Food & Water Action – Virginia; Great Falls Group – Sierra Club; The Greater Prince William Climate Action Network; Green Muslims; Mothers Out Front; NOVA Climate; Our Revolution – Arlington; Our Revolution – Falls Church; Our Revolution – Northern Virginia; Progressive Democrats of America – Virginia Chapter; Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter; Sunrise Movement – Fairfax; Sunrise Movement - Virginia.