How Our Mums Made Us The Planet-Loving Earth Warriors We Are Today

This Mother's Day, we at 1 Million Women have a lot to thank our Mummas for. It's the influential women in our lives that shape who we become, so we thought it was a great opportunity to share how our mothers instilled in us a love and passion for the environment. Even if we sometimes didn't appreciate it at the time, we wouldn't be where we are today without them!

Shea - Office Manager

From cosmetics manufacturer to fearless climate warrior, my mother, Natalie, has taught me everything I know about caring for the planet and making change in my own life to cut carbon. She proved to me that it is never too late to make a difference, and no action is ever too small.

When she first took me to see An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, I was filled with a sense of hopelessness and fear that, as a young girl of 12-years-old, I found totally debilitating. My mother encouraged me to take that anger and fear and turn it into action, I then went to write a letter of protest to Prime Minister John Howard urging him to sign the Kyoto protocol and take action on climate change. She has always encouraged me to fight for what I believe in.

My childhood memories are filled with boxes of cosmetics, beauty conferences and watching my mum shuffle her products to the front of the shelves in Woolworths so that they get seen first. Then one day, this totally changed. She sold her business and founded 1 Million Women, and from then on our household was all about sustainability, cutting carbon, enjoying family time together and NOT commodities. All our gifts turned into experiences and family holidays, and emotive discussions about climate change and what we can do to cut carbon predominated our family dinners. My siblings and I got two amazing eco-warrior parents to look up to.

Eva - Content Creator

My mum is the Environmental Education officer at our local council so I was always destined to end up as an enviro girl. We would spend holidays surfing and camping, weekends doing beach clean ups and browsing op shops, and afternoons watching the birds in our backyard drinking cups of tea. My lunchbox was always filled with strange, healthy, plastic free snacks and my school hat labelled with eco slogans like 'the drain is just for rain'.

Some of these things, I wasn't the biggest fan of at the time. I remember desperately wanting LCM's in my lunchbox and a pink trucker hat but Mum calmly explained that we don't need to go out and buy things just because everyone else has them. And the less we spend on stuff we don't need, the more we can spend on experiences and time together as a family.

That mentality of 'less is more' is now such a core part of who I am. I took the passion instilled into me by my mum and ran with it through uni and into work. I volunteered for climate organisations and used every uni assignment I could to champion any environmental cause I could. As you might imagine, this passion has often been met with indifference and sometimes scorn by a large part of society, but I've always had my mum there to keep me going and encourage me to fight for what I care about regardless of what people say.

So thank you Mumma, for being the most passionate, encouraging and supportive eco-mum a girl could ask for!

Grace - Head of Social Media

I have to be so thankful to my Mama because she played such a big part in instilling my fiery passion for the environment. This passion has led me to win awards, inspire others, and have a job I love doing. I really don't know where I'd be without it.

Mum's a landscape architect, and has what I would call a mild obsession with plants. We'll be driving down the street and Mum will point at a regular looking tree and say "wow, what a beautiful ". She'll fight valiantly for any suburban tree the council or one of our neighbours is trying to chop down. She never took us to DisneyLand, instead my brother and sister and I were subjected to rainforest walks, where the main attractions were just very big buttress roots. The one time we did go to Dreamworld, we got to go on one or two rides and then were forced to go and look at the rainbow lorikeet enclosure. I was probably one of the only kids in my class who knew what secateurs were, or what homegrown figs tasted like, or how to protect those figs from fruit bats.

Best of all though, was that Mum showed us how to create. She taught us that the stuff we make is always worth a thousand times more than any stuff we could ever buy. She wouldn't pay for Barbies, but if I wanted ten sheets of scrapbooking paper at $3 each, no problem. She let me have all the books I ever wanted, so I could be inspired to write. Mum paid for me to do art classes, and she'd have her own drawings of lemons set up for days in front of the tv so we could admire it and think about one day doing something that beautiful and detailed ourselves. Our house is filled with paintings of landscapes, plants, and me and my siblings' art - clay versions of the ocean and lino printed ostriches.

And now I'm living my best life, creating to communicate how we can protect our planet and all the animals, plants and people who live on it.

Rhiannon - 1MW App Volunteer

While my mum was never the fiery, passionate eco-mum that some others were, it was the way in which she always encouraged me to learn and fight for what I believe in that I will endlessly thank her for.

Growing up, outdoor activities were compulsory. Always. We'd go on family bush walks, or down to the beach on a Sunday morning, or, during school holidays, we'd be sent out of the house to make sure we ran around and got some sunshine. While I was never a huge fan of the running around (in other words, I hated it – I'd sometimes even sneak books outside instead), I loved the water. I'd spend hours splashing around the pool and never wanted to leave the beach.

My mum has always had a knack for spotting a passion and turning it into an opportunity to learn, and so she did. She found me books on sharks, put up with endless repeats of Blue Planet and helped me turn every single boring school assignment possible into a way to talk about the environment. My love for the ocean grew as I grew. When I got older and learnt more about how climate change is affecting our world and oceans, Mum was always there to listen to what I had to say and encourage any actions I wanted to take.

Having this amazing woman in my life to facilitate learning and turn it into passion has been invaluable for me. She taught me not only how to encourage passion, but then turn it into action and fight for what you believe in. This priority has led me to where I am today, and will continue to guide me throughout my life. Thanks Mama!!

Read this next: Wild Child: The Importance Of Exposing Children To Nature

Header Image: Unsplash

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

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