We get it. Why would anyone want to incorporate thoughts of climate change into their daily life, much less their life as a parent or caregiver of young children? Who wouldn’t rather push the topic aside, let others deal with it, or perhaps even pretend it’s not happening or won’t happen that soon?
And don’t we parents, and anyone responsible for the care of young people for that matter, already have enough on our plates? We juggle numerous responsibilities and schedules and are trying to do each aspect of our lives justice while often feeling like we are coming up short everywhere. Why should we add another significant responsibility – like helping save the planet and preparing our children for a future with climate change – to this overwhelming load? Surely, the effect of that addition to our overcrowded lives won’t be positive.
Here’s the thing. Speaking from my own experience, once my daughter was born, I couldn’t not think about climate change. Sure, I could try to turn down the volume of those thoughts, or even mute them for a time, but when they did come creeping back into the airwaves of my brain, they’d be louder and more persistent, demanding my attention. For me, there was something too incongruent about loving and pouring so much time and energy into a beautiful new being while not considering this huge, potentially life-threatening aspect of her future.
You may grow tired of hearing me say this, but I also have found that incorporating the reality of climate change into my life and choices as a parent is actually extremely liberating and, generally, a positive addition. Liberating because it has freed me from feeling as if my children and I are barreling towards a future I would never choose and there is nothing I can do about it. By incorporating the truth of climate change into my life as a parent and consciously exploring how best to prepare my children for that reality, I’ve empowered myself.
I have also found that many of the choices involved in both attempting to prepare my children for a future with climate change and acting to slow climate change actually feel really good. They lead me – and my entire family – to joyous, celebratory and positive experiences. They bring us together, give us more time and join us with others in solutions-focused action.
So, if you have thought that turning towards the reality of climate change as a caregiver of children is more than you can bear, I encourage you to reconsider. And what better place to do so than in community with others engaged in the process? I hope you will join us.
As you embark on this path, here are a few good sources for some key facts about the climate crisis:
And here are two excellent articles regarding the emotional aspect of facing the climate crisis: