A friend in the Australian Parents for Climate Action forum I moderate recently asked whether I regretted having kids knowing that their future is threatened by the climate crisis. I wrote a response and a few people found in helpful. So they have asked me to share it here. Here you go:
I feel so strongly that we will be the change and through our communities find ways to protect our precious planet for our kids. Imperfectly. I know many have already faced devastating climate damage. But I need to focus on the solutions to saving all I can. With my kids my primary focus. What will they need for health and for happiness? I also think about a philosopher I once read that spoke about history as a tapestry rather than a time line. So I try to make every day magic for my kids, and I try to bring moments of joy and happiness to all I do. Then no matter what happens their present now will have been magic. So I never regret having them. I think the decision to have them might have been more guilty if I had known more before I had them but I would probably have still had them. Sometimes I truly stress out about climate change BUT the worst thing is when it makes me frustrated and easier to explode about toys on the floor or kids not eating their dinner….i.e. it’s the personal that makes it painful or manageable. I try to think about what is climate anxiety, work anxiety, family anxiety, parenting anxiety. And address each of them so I can be the best parent I can in the moment. But ultimately all of these respond to self care and more sleep. I know I am doing all I can to protect my kids’ future and usually I just focus on the solutions. I feel fortunate that my environmental engineering and ecology background lets me engage deeply on what I see as the solutions and answers to the crisis.
I was once invited to a doomsday prepper group – i.e. a group focused on setting up a farm in a remote area to grow food and survive the apocalypse. But I had a great chat with my mum and I knew then that my solutions to climate are community solutions. So I think about community gardens, powered by solar and fed with desalinated water. I think about how this could make cities a haven for bees and pollinators.
I think about left field ideas like wind turbines to keep the arctic frozen as Tim Flannery speaks about.
I think about ways to talk about forests and wild places in powerful ways so we can protect them better.
I think about talking more and more simply about renewables, a just transition for fossil fuel workers, and the pleasures of a simpler life that uses less stuff.
Tapestries, boundaries, community, creativity, conversation, and love.
Every night, especially when i can’t sleep, inspired by an old housemate, I say thank you for five things. some recent ones include: thank you for my healthy children, thank you for the amazing food I ate today, thank you for now, thank you for the French president speaking out about the Amazon, thank you for the Pacific Islanders and their bravery.
The worlds’ best scientists who write the IPCC reports know we have a challenge ahead. But they also show us that we have most of the solutions at hand if we can just keep building the political will fast enough
But i see the population rising. I see us all coming together, through love, and in the nick of time saving all that we can.
Footnote 1: I am pleased that this article led to an interview with ABC Ethics and Religion about viewing life like a tapestry: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-08/how-eternalism-can-help-with-climate-change-distress-and-anxiety/11477560
Footnote 2: An extended article based on this short piece will appear in Radiate Publishing’s “Future Kind” later this year https://www.facebook.com/radiatepublishing/
Picture: by Lucinda, 5 yrs old. “The fish are in nature which is keeping them safe”