4 tips for parents

As a parent of young children I have sought but not yet found much material on topics such as “how to best protect your kids from the dangers of climate change” and “how to talk to your kids about climate change”. But recently there has been a few relevant articles come to my attention. Seeing as this is a “tips for parent’s page” I’ll also touch on the need to have fewer kids, with links to respectable articles on the topic.

How to best protect your kids from the impacts of climate change:

Leading climate change scientists seem to suggest moving to cooler climates, and I assume locations well above rising sea levels. I am not sure what the time frames are that you should be looking at trying to relocate by.

How to talk to your kids about climate change:

I haven’t found any consensus guidelines but here are some great suggestions from USA Today and The Conversation’s Marc Hudson opens a great discussion about this topic with some links to suggested approaches. In the end with little in the guidelines department you have to trust your own instincts. But some good suggestions include: 1) engaging your kids in nature as a start, 2) talking about how climate change affects nature and animals, before 3) extending to a more general consideration of impacts on people in general. Try to help them feel empowered and engaged, not scared. I like Marc’s suggestions to express sadness if you feel it relevant but don’t dump on your children emotionally. I also recently found a great article by mother Lisa Bennett about cultivating radical hope in our young people.

I think about this a lot and have wondered what others do. I like to think there will still be plenty of natural wonders to help balance the sadness of losing reefs and knowing polar bears are in trouble. But mine are still so little, 1 and 3 that I have never mentioned cc to them. I just try to read them books and picture books about the wonders of nature. My niece just started a project that is open ended about cc, environment etc, she’s 7. She knows a little about recycling but that’s about it for environmental concerns presented to her through her schooling. So I think cc is not taught to them but left to them to discover at her age…


Having fewer children:

I have two children.  I am likely contributing an additional 9,400 or so metric tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for each of them (“Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals” by Paul A. Murtaugh and Michael G. Schlax). It’s basic math that the more children we have will put more pressure on the planet’s carbon budget. For a great article on this topic, see here.


Photo: Andrew Neel

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