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Hot Mamas

Author: Conversations with working moms trying to keep their cool on a heating planet

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Let's be real. Being a working mama is pretty damn hard. Add fighting for the survival of the planet in the middle of a climate crisis, and it just got that much harder. On this podcast, working climate mama and host Sarah Spengeman interviews the mothers who are out front, taking on powerful fossil fuel interests by day while trying not to drown in the laundry that never seems to stop at night. Grab a glass of wine or cup of tea and hear from hot mamas across the country who share their very real struggles, but also what inspires them to wake up and do it all over again, every single day. Music courtesy of Doubletron. The track "Easy Street" and the full album "Going Nowhere" are available wherever you stream your music. And white people, let's educate ourselves and commit to being anti-racist:
8 Episodes
In this episode of Hot Mamas, I talk to Shannon Brescher Shea, working mom, environmental activist, and author of Growing Sustainable Together, an incredibly well-researched guide to raising environmentally-conscious kids in ways that foster compassion, resilience, and radical kindness for the Earth and all beings. Shannon shares her own struggles as a mom, trying to navigate both "mom guilt" and "green guilt," and how her own personal journey led her to researching and then writing this book. We discuss hot button issues like individual action vs. systemic change, wealth and privilege, and managing climate anxiety. Shannon makes the case for expanding the concept of sustainability to include social and personal sustainability and explains how not to give into the corporate bunk that tells us its all our fault or that we can buy our way out of the mess.  You won't want to miss her insights into how living our values can help us live healthier, more meaningful family lives.Recommended Resources:Growing Sustainable Together by Shannon Brescher Shea Justice Family Toolkit and Sustainable Parents Facebook group Shannon on social media Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
On this episode of Hot Mamas, I talk to Nicole Sitaraman, a hot mama of a six-year-old son, and a leading voice for climate resilience, clean energy and environmental justice. She shares her journey,  from growing up in Philly, the daughter of a strong mother who made sure Nicole had the opportunities she needed to succeed, to starting out in her career as a civil rights attorney, and how that led her to work creating more just and sustainable communities with Sustainable Capital Advisors.NIcole and I talk about the importance of raising kids in community, how becoming a mom has shifted her worldview, and why it's critical we have honest conversations with our children about race. We also get to hear her expert perspective on the reconciliation bill now in Congress and the policies we need to kick our fossil fuel habit. Tune in for this inspiring and informative conversation with Nicole!Recommended resources:Sustainable Capital Advisorshttps://www.solarunitedneighbors.orgSolar United Neighborshttps://www.solarunitedneighbors.orgBlack Owners of Solar Services"Clean Energy Sector Must Expand Hiring Beyond White Men"
I am not sure there is anything more terrifying than watching your child struggle to breathe and mom of three LaTisha Harris knows that fear all too well. It's her intense, motherly desire to clean our air for our children, to save lives, and create opportunities for her community that fuels her leadership for climate justice as an organizer for Mothers Out Front in Fresno, California. LaTisha talks about her love for her three children, two of which have struggled with asthma, and what it is like to grow up in the most pollution-burdened neighborhood in her city.  She shares valuable insights and experience from her many years as an organizer, and how she is able to build connections with each individual to motivate action for sustainable neighborhoods - by focusing on what matters to them. You'll get to find out what Mothers Out Front is all about, what they are fighting for across the country, and how they are building an organization grounded in equity and justice. LaTisha is also real about her fears. Fires, drought, extreme heat. But she won't give up the fight. Listen to hear why and how you can join her.Recommended resources for this episode:Mothers Out Front is environmental justice?’s Let’s Talk Climate webcast, Mothers Know Best: Practical Advice for Climate Action featuring a conversation with LaTisha Harris, Community Organizer, Mothers Out Front ranks as one of the most polluted places to live looks to set aside 3,000 acres for manufacturing resources for white people
On this very important episode of Hot Mamas, I talk to two fierce mothers and a grandmother putting their bodies on the line to stop the Line 3 pipeline, a proposed pipeline expansion to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands per day from Canada to Wisconsin. Each of these powerful women are fighting with all their might to protect our water, the treaty rights of Native Americans, and for a safe climate future. Anishinaabe tribes and allied groups have been resisting the construction of Line 3 across Minnesota since it was proposed in 2014.First, I was honored to hear from Nancy Beaulieu, an enrolled member of the Leech Lake reservation, co-founder of the Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging (RISE) Coalition, and one of the leaders of Fire Light Camp at the pipeline’s first planned crossing of the Mississippi. Nancy has been demonstrating and holding ground to stop the pipeline and is currently monitoring "frack-outs" and the contamination of the water her community depends on. She explains how her people's existence and all life is being threatened by Line 3, why we are all "treaty people," and how to support the struggle.Then in part II, I speak with Jill Ferguson (aka "Badass Grandma") and Cheryl Barnds. Both have demonstrated and been arrested in solidarity with their Native American brothers and sisters. Both women talk about why they are willing to put themselves in harm's way to stop the construction of this pipeline and why they refuse to give up. They share their journeys to activism, their fears and their hopes, how you can be in solidarity to stop Line 3, and how we may be able to heal all that is broken.Recommended resources for this episode:Donate to RISE coalition Line 3https://www.stopline3.orgReach Jamie Pinkham & Joe Biden the front Fuel Non-Proliferation Treatyhttps://fossilfueltreaty.orgPressure the banksStopTheMoneyPipeline.comStop HR 1374 - Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2021 Social Media#StopLine3@GiniwCollective@HonorTheEarth@RISEandEngage@IENearth@MN_350
On episode four of Hot Mamas, I chat with Joelle Novey, mom of two young children and director of Interfaith Power and Light for Maryland, Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia. She shares how she came to work on climate, asking the question of what it would actually mean to truly live out our faith and moral values in all of our practices, and how a stint as a hospital chaplain was the best possible training for her work shepherding people through the climate crisis. We talk about why allowing ourselves to feel the grief of the climate crisis is the way to be fully human in this moment, but how harnessing the fierce warrior protectiveness of motherhood is how we can, at the same time, fight for all that we can save. The problems with Noah's ark imagery, the value of rest, and reflection on "what is mine to do?" are some of the rich topics that come up in our conversation. Joelle shares so much wisdom from her work with many different faith traditions and multi-generational communities and how she tries to model the reality she is seeking to create-even in the darkest times. Recommended resources for this episode:Joelle directs Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA) [], one of a network [] of Interfaith Power & Light affiliates engaging faith communities in climate work around the country. Joelle also serves on the advisory board of Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action Dayenu.orgA video of Joelle and her son on why they march: the imagery of Noah's ark:Lecture by Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, "Reading Noah’s Ark in the Age of Climate Change" Noah's Archive: A Conversation with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Julian Yates Francis' encyclical teaching on ecology, Laudato Si:
On episode three of Hot Mamas, I talk to Frida Berry Eklund, a mother of two children and the co-founder of Our Kids Climate, a network of 58 parent groups from 23 countries who are uniting for climate action to protect the kids we love from the climate crisis. Frida shares what it's like to be a mom in Sweden, where families are supported with paid leave (two years after having a child!) and affordable childcare. We talked about her journey from pop singer to vocal climate advocate and, how, when she became a mother, she discovered the inherent power parents possess to fight for their children's very survival on this planet. But, when it came time to start talking to her own kids about this very issue, she looked everywhere for a book on the subject and couldn't find one - so she researched and wrote a handbook herself! You'll hear some of the most important lessons from this book, and be sure to listen to the end to hear her very cool Greta Thunberg story, and, of course, how you can join the climate parent movement. Recommended resources for this episode:Our Kid's Climatehttps://ourkidsclimate.orgParent for Futurehttps://parentsforfuture.orgThe Climate Crisis is Our Responsibility, Not Our Children's to Talk to Kids About Climate webinar
On episode two of Hot Mamas, I talk with Surili Patel and Seema Wadhwa, two longtime climate and health leaders and co-founders of Aawaz 4 Climate, an inclusive community of professionals dedicated to the climate and health. We chat heading back to daycare, why two kids is exponentially more challenging than one, the ever-present mom guilt, and the lack of sleep that every parent knows all too well!  You'll hear why, even as busy moms, they wanted to start a new network to bring more diversity to the climate movement, and why they believe kitchen conversations can drive climate and health solutions. Surili and Seema also share how they are navigating the very real challenges of raising environmentally conscious kids in a consumer society and cultivating love of self in children of color in a white-dominated world.  You'll hear what they've learned through these challenges about grace and forgiveness, developing resilience, and the strength they draw from their female friendships. You also won't want to miss the excellent kid book recommendations!Recommended resources for this episode:Anti-racism resources for white people 4 Climate by Deborah Diesen
The very first episode of Hot Mamas features a conversation with Dr. Amanda Millstein, a mother of two children ages 3 and 5, and the co-founder of Climate Health Now, an organization of medical professionals in California who are protecting and improving the health of all people by advocating for urgent, equitable climate solutions. Amanda and I talk about what the Hot Mamas podcast is all about, our experiences with California's megafires, and the need for solidarity among moms working on the climate crisis.She shares how her climate activism began (unexpectedly) in her doctor's office, why she's fighting one of the most powerful corporations on the planet to protect her tiny patients, and how activism keeps her hopeful.You won't want to miss the very first episode of Hot Mamas, conversations with working moms trying to keep their cool on a heating planet.Recommended resources for this episode:Anti-racism resources for white people Health Now"Curb refinery emissions to reduce Bay Area Pollution" by Dr. Amanda Millstein the Air District to adopt the Refinery Pollution Rule on the Bay Area Air Quality District's proposed rule
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