We are all caught in it, whether we like it or not. We are, all of us, living in a world that is already being shaped by climate change in an unfolding process, the impacts of which will only increase in the future.
This is a complicated and emotional truth for anyone to hold. Parents – or anyone who cares deeply for children – and young people face particular challenges in living in a world with climate change.
For parents and other caregivers, there is the nearly unbearable fact that the young people we love dearly are headed towards a very uncertain future. It’s quite tempting, as a parent, to ignore the existence of climate change rather, as it can seem impossible to reconcile our love and hopes for our children with the facts of climate change and the ways in which it will shape the world of the future.
For children, climate change can be downright terrifying. In recent years, I have heard this refrain time and again from concerned parents: “My child is freaking out about climate change.” After all, we are poised in an extraordinary moment in which the actions and decisions of humans will determine the livability of this planet in the future. And will today’s young people even consider having children of their own? Thankfully, many young people are already transforming their very understandable fear into action – protesting, getting involved in community solutions, and engaging in study focused on climate mitigation and adaptation.
And what of the relationship between children and their parents or caregivers? There, too, we will see the impacts of climate change, if we are not already. And I firmly believe that how we engage in that relationship and how the presence of climate change is integrated into that relationship both have tremendous implications for how we face the challenge of the climate crisis and how prepared today’s young people will be for the world of their future.
In this section, we explore topics relating to places where the relationship between the parent and the child meets climate change, topics on the intersection between climate change and that entity known as “family life”. For example, here you can read about discussing climate change with the young people in your life, about how family life might shift in the face of climate change and about how to support yourself and your children as you encounter anxiety and grief about climate change.