Meet Parents’ Climate Community Education Consultant and City of Austin “Net-Zero Hero” Lizett Sanchez. Lizett has been volunteering with the PCC since our very first meetup in July 2019. Below, she shares her tips on engaging kids in nature play and climate action. Plus: why comedy might be the ultimate form of self-care for parents and activists.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My family and I have been living in Pflugerville for 12 years now. My son, Evan is 9 and my daughter Natalia is 7 years old. My husband, Tommy, has been playing jazz guitar for almost 30 years and works as a full-time musician in Austin. I was an elementary teacher before I became a stay-at-home mom when my son was born. The time I have been able to spend with my kids has been wonderful, and it was also when I really started to become more aware of the climate crisis. I want a safe and healthy planet for them, so I want it for all kids.
What are some practical tips you’d recommend for parents who want to cultivate their kids’ love of nature and sense of civic engagement?
One very easy suggestion which I am sure many parents already do is to incorporate nature and the climate crisis into everyday conversations. Find connections with what you and your kids are doing with both these topics. It will be easier for them to be more conscious of it, and it won’t be as easily dismissed.
I also try to find time for them to spend outdoors as much as possible (not easy with these central Texas allergies!). Walking to our neighborhood park is a favorite activity of theirs. We also go on special hiking trips when the weather is right. St Edwards Trail is one of our favorites because in the summer we get in the water and it’s so much fun! These little excursions can really help them build a love for nature and is also a great way to talk about the environment. When we go on hikes, I bring some plastic gloves and a bag and pick up trash along the trail. They start to help me now (mostly it’s pointing out the trash to me and making sure I pick it up…).
Do you have a favorite picture or chapter book to promote climate awareness?
We really enjoyed “Old Enough To Save The Planet” by Loll Kirby. It highlights 12 young activists from around the world who have spoken out and have taken action against climate change.
As a busy parent pursuing an advanced degree, how do you take care of yourself? Any favorite spots around town or ways to unwind?
My husband works nights so we really don’t have a lot of date nights. I spend a lot of time by myself after I put my kids to bed and what I love to do is read. In these last few years, I have become more and more of an avid reader. It relaxes me and really helps with preparing myself for sleep. I love reading all kinds of books, biographies, murder/mysteries, self-help and classics that I never got around to reading. When my husband and I can actually go out on a date, we love seeing well-known stand-up comics when they come to town. Laughter is important and therapeutic!