Moms Saving the Planet

Mothers Out FrontLocal Mothers Out Front members march. Photo by Kristine Jelstrup.

Two years ago, Deidre Deegan couldn’t sleep. The lifelong Cambridge resident was concerned to see summer-like days scattered in the middle of a Greater Boston winter.

“That’s really what was keeping me up at night,” says Deegan, a mother of a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old. “I was waking up in February in the 70-degree heat and just feeling fear for my children and wanting something better for them.”

That was when Deegan decided to join the local chapter of Mothers Out Front, a national climate advocacy group led by mothers and grandmothers. Working with the group and feeling like she’s doing something about the future has been “the best sleep medication ever,” Deegan says.

“When moms speak up, people listen—they realize that it’s not the ideology on the line, it’s not the politics on the line, it’s that mom looking out for her kid,” Deegan says.

Cambridge Mothers Out Front is made up of about 1,000 members and is largely female-led, according to Deegan.

The group’s latest campaign is Bringing Paris Home, an answer to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Accord. “Even though our federal government has opted out of the Paris Climate Accord, we’re still in!” the group writes.

The campaign will help Cambridge residents make changes in their homes to decrease their fossil fuel use.

“We were thinking, ‘How can we really empower each person to do something in their daily lives?’” Deegan says. “Obviously there’s legislative work that you can do—writing to your senators, calling, all that stuff makes a difference—but what can you can do in your daily life, something that’s very accessible and impactful? So we decided we wanted to do the research to figure out where it is that you can make the most impact on your greenhouse gas emissions in your home.”

Cambridge Mothers Out Front used the city’s Net Zero Action Plan to help determine the most impactful changes people could make at home to improve their environmental impacts.

Buildings are responsible for 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions locally, according to the plan. The main source of greenhouse gas use in buildings is electricity, Deegan says, so the group will encourage people to swap out their incandescent bulbs for LEDs.

Laundry is the second major culprit, according to Deegan. There’s an easy fix here as well: using cold water instead of warm water in washing machines would eliminate 90 percent of the energy that laundry uses.

Switching to the city’s electricity program is another significant step and can even save people money, Deegan points out.

Cambridge Mothers Out Front members are also pushing for state legislation to fight climate change, backing the omnibus clean energy bill.

The group will hold a campaign kickoff at the Central Square branch of the public library on May 31. The event will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and will include a short presentation and French food in honor of the Paris Climate Accord.

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