Change starts at home
I'm Anu, a mother and climate campaigner.
In the past decade, I've worked on several global communications campaigns, with a focus on raising awareness on environmental issues and their impact on business and marginalized communities. I was one of an army of climate advocates who played a role in achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.
Fully realizing the scale of the climate emergency and my responsibility as a parent, it dawned on me --- how on earth do I communicate the climate crisis to the most important person in my world, my 5 year old son Arjun?
Finding my catalyst
One morning, during our daily chatty breakfasts, Arjun asked me out of the blue, ‘Mama, I know you work on climate change. But what do you really do?!’
In effect, he handed me the prompt that would fuel many, many breakfast conversations to come. We talked about plastics in the ocean, the importance of forests and indigenous tribes, and the dangerous impact of the poisonous gases that cars (and cows) emit. While the topics seemed challenging, I kept things simple, discussing facts in a fun but meaningful way. Little did I know that that was all that was needed to get a little mind going wild with imagination and possibilities.
A few weeks later, at a family get-together, all the kids there were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Arjun proudly announced that he wanted to find a way to take the dirt out of the air so people and animals can breathe easier. His response made everyone proud!... And just like that, my little climate change warrior had propelled me to think of a wider a social enterprise for all our children.
Kat Kid Adventure: my way forward
It was when my life as a mother of a young child and a passionate environmental campaigner collided that the idea for a social enterprise was born. I headed down a new road, which would create a new and enjoyable approach toward educating children and, at the same time, give those in need, a real opportunity for change.
Kat Kid Adventure is an environmentally and socially-conscious lifestyle brand of kids wear, gear and games designed to tell stories about climate change. We collaborate with parents and educators to teach and inspire kids to take climate action.
Creating with purpose
‘Why lifestyle products?’ you may ask. I am always looking for creative ways to increase the ‘stickiness’ of important messages. Using an everyday object – that all kids love and use – instantly piques curiosity in an unusual and inspiring way.
Kat products are thoughtfully designed with fun illustrations that act as catalysts to kickstart a fun ‘eco-learning experience.’ Between parents and kids, and kids and their friends.
Each Kat product comes with an illustrated conversation guide for parents and children to debate and discover environmental issues, together. My hope is that, just like me, you too will be amazed at the questions sparked in your curious little ones, and be inspired by their simple yet magical minds.
It was equally important that every Kat product was mindfully crafted to create value for all, throughout the supply chain.
The organic cotton used to make our some of our tees are sustainably sourced from farming communities in the regions of Maharashtra, Telangana and Odisha in India. Poor soil health, unforeseen changes in climatic conditions and failed crops have led to thousands of farmer suicides. By paying a premium for the cotton and supporting regenerative farming practices, each Kat tee gives these farmers the fighting chance to revive their lands and build a more resilient future for their children and families.
As for the tees themselves, they check all the boxes. Certified organic cotton. Breathable. GOTS certified. Sewn in certified Fair Trade factories, with no child labor. While I have tried to adhere to the highest ethical standards available today, I do think there is scope to raise the bar for cleaner, more planet-friendly clothing.
Conversations to actions
Two years since conceiving Kat Kid Adventure, my belief in children as powerful agents of change, reason and hope has never been stronger. My informal ‘talk’ with Arjun has resulted in unexpected consequences and several delightful moments.
He is now curious about how things are made and how they can be upcycled. He is mindful of his actions and how they affect our environment. At the grocery store, a while ago Arjun asked, ‘Why are we using a plastic bag to put the vegetables in? A sea turtle might eat it if it goes into the ocean.’ As parents, it’s a proud moment when our children hold us to a higher standard and ensure that we indeed 'walk the talk!'
Anu has grand plans of retiring by the ocean. For now, she lives between California and New York City with her husband, Krishnan and son, Arjun, aka Kat Kid Adventure’s Chief Inspiration Officer.