Climate change is becoming part of many everyday conversations and many of our children may have questions – spoken or unspoken – about climate change and how it may impact them. How do you talk with them about climate change?
Both my kids are grown and work in an industry that focuses on sustainability, so we have some pretty interesting conversations. Tony does not have any kids, so the conversations he has are geared more towards an adult point of view and tend to be more on the academic side. Even though Tony and I live in very different worlds and do not always see eye to eye, we feel our different outlooks bring a balanced perspective to our conversations.
Today, we will be talking about our kids collectively as a society.
Not an easy decision
Many people are having a tough time deciding whether or not it is a good idea to start a family today, with all the political strife, the climate crisis, and everything else that is going on in the world. Yet, many generations of people have most likely been having the same conversation over the ages. Because as Tony points out, society and civilization were always built on strife.
A rough year
The past year has been rough for the kids. Tony feels bad for them because they have lost out on so much in the classroom, on the sports ground, and especially in their social development. He feels that losing their connections can end up slowing their development.
Pre-COVID, our kids, as a society, spent a lot of time in front of screens. Right now, with online learning, kids are getting even more screen time. That makes one wonder what the effects some of the things they are getting exposed to will have on their physical health, mental health, and social development.
Humans are impacting the world
I found the topic of climate change interesting during the pandemic lockdown because, in many parts of the world, the natural environment cleared up very quickly. That was, in many cases, an indication that humans are impacting the world in which we live. So, I hope we can figure out how to do this and learn to live in symbiosis with the natural world a little better.
We drive many more miles today than we did in the 1980s. Yet, we have fewer emissions today because technology has improved. Even though we are unlikely to stop emissions entirely, there are things that we can do to lessen the impact.
Internal combustion engines
Many manufacturers have pledged that after a certain date, they will no longer manufacture internal combustion engines.
If we are going to be driving many more electric vehicles in the future, we need to figure out how to fill the need for electricity without creating any unintended negative consequences.
Break the silence
We need to lose the fear of upsetting the conversation, break the silence, and start talking about the things that impact climate change. That goes for adults as well as kids.
Talking to young adults and kids
When having a conversation with younger adults or children, focus on maintaining a positive attitude about everything. Be transparent with them. Give them all the facts and present issues as challenges rather than problems. Teach them to give each other grace. Help them face their fears, give hope, and show them how to take action when necessary.
We have to get out of a problem-based mindset and start teaching kids more of a solution-based mindset.
Get the kids to spend time outside on sunny days to connect with nature and become familiar with the bright and cheerful outdoor environment.
Watch your language, and give children as many positive messages and experiences as possible. The more positive experiences they have, the more equipped they are to handle any doom and gloom situations.
Take a hike
Encourage your kids to go hiking with you. You can encourage them to pick up trash along the way. Cleaning up the environment will teach them how to take action while also giving them a positive experience.
The health of the planet
Teach your kids that their health is tied to the health of the planet. Teach them not to waste, and let them know that recycling is vital. Explain to them that what we do in our homes affects not only them but the whole world, too.
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