Speaking Up for Our Children

Mothers Out Front pioneers new model of activism on climate change

Five years ago, as Kelsey Wirth sat with her daughter looking at a book about coral reefs, she had a startling revelation: Her daughter may never get to see a healthy coral reef in her lifetime – never mind the many other ways climate change will affect her life.

She also realized that mothers have a unique voice to bring to the climate movement – and that combining their fierce determination to protect their children with a proven approach to political organizing could create a remarkable force for change.

Since then, the organization Wirth co-founded, Mothers Out Front, has expanded to eight states and 19,000 members and supporters.

Their model is unique: They take the enormous challenge of climate change and break it down into smaller, actionable challenges, whether it’s promoting clean energy, stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure, or demanding fixes for thousands of gas leaks plaguing our neighborhoods.

That on-the-ground presence combined with their unique voice is what makes Mothers Out Front such an effective partner for CLF, says Alyssa Rayman-Read, director of the organization’s Massachusetts advocacy center and a mother of two herself.

“We share the same goal: to make sure future generations don’t inherit a climate catastrophe,” she says. “CLF’s work is to use our technical and legal expertise to create and enforce the policies and regulations needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Mothers Out Front helps people connect that big picture, 30,000-foot view to what’s happening right here in their community.”

“What’s so exciting is that Mothers Out Front has figured out how to make that strategic through such an effective organizational structure,” she says.

It’s a model of organizing now being repeated across the country. Community by community, issue by issue, family by family, Mothers Out Front is harnessing the power of mothers to create change for our children today – and for future generations tomorrow.