climate change children

By now most people understand that we are facing the most serious existential catastrophe of our lives, and the planet’s, due to the climate crisis. We all have a responsibility – through our purchasing decisions, our daily habits, and our votes to help find solutions to this emergency. Many people have adopted cleaner and greener habits, joined various climate coalitions, or even educated themselves to work professionally to design or build solutions to reduce the effects of climate change.  

For those families who have not done so yet, it’s only a matter of time before we will all change our habits for the better, either through our own volition or because of legislation and regulation. But do our kids understand what is happening? They have not been on the planet as long as their parents or grandparents, and have not seen the changes we have. The exponential rise in population, consumerism, and the fossil fuel economy is unmistakable, but for our keiki not much has changed in their short life span. Our kids are hearing all about climate change in school, on the Internet, and at home so let’s make sure they are getting accurate, scientific information. We have an obligation to teach our children about the climate future with accuracy, compassion, and age-appropriateness.

When my kids were young, I asked our pediatrician how and when to talk to my kids about sexuality and she advised to answer their questions completely and scientifically, but don’t go any further than the question. “They will ask for more info when they are ready.” We can take the same approach to climate science. Answer their questions based on fact-based science, not on skepticism, religion, or social media misinformation. Is the climate crisis man-made? Yes. Can we stop using fossil fuel? Yes. Will all the animals die? No, we are all working to save the environment. Will humans die? No, the adults will try and make sure you are safe and do everything we can to keep the air, the water, and the aina safe. How? By gradually weaning ourselves from fossil-fueled transportation, fossil-fueled electricity, carbon-intensive farming, and carbon-intensive agriculture practices. By being aware of our carbon footprint and making low-carbon choices at every opportunity we can help towards a better future. 

Email rita.ryan@climaterealityhawaii.org for Climate Reality Projects free e-book, Beginning the Climate Conversation: A Family’s Guide.

By staying positive, proactive and envisioning a future for our children we will leave them a clean, healthy, habitable planet.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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