Why does family action on climate change matter now, more than ever? Because … Who do we love more than our kids? Who could lay claim to our hearts the way our beloved children do, even as they try our patience? And who will take steps to ensure their future, if not us?
If your children’s lives were in danger, wouldn’t you leap tall buildings, run into a flaming house, brave drowning or being run over by a car to save them?
Of course you would. And your children’s lives are in danger from climate change. Making a difference with regard to climate change is the most important thing you can do to protect your children’s future.
The best way to take action on climate change is to team up with other families and individuals of like heart and mind. Here at Eco Active 101, you’ll find powerful ways to connect, learn, and take impactful action.
This post will cover: the extent of the climate threat, why it’s so important to take action NOW, why saving our children’s future is up to us, how we know it’s possible, why and how to team with our kids and other families, and first steps for parents to take.
Right now, our world needs us to step up and make a difference. Each and every one of us, in whatever small and not-so-small ways we can imagine.
Limiting Climate Change Is Our Responsibility
There are those who call climate change a hoax. They band together and speak out loudly. But the scientific evidence is clear. Others say climate change news is merely a natural cycle, not the result of human activity. But again, the evidence makes a strong statement to the contrary.
Some groups claim that we should leave caring for Earth up to God. I don’t get it: do they expect God to arrive with boom and dustrag and sweep and dust their homes? No, of course not. They take care of that themselves, or hire help! Why? Because otherwise, before long the place would be so filthy they’d have to move. But, Elon Musk’s proposed Mars colony notwithstanding, most of us agree that there is no Planet B for us to move to.
Earth is our home, and it’s up to us to avoid mucking up its atmosphere with carbon.
Yet our awakening to that realization on a visceral level seems to be taking its own sweet time.
This morning I received an email from George Monbiot of The Guardian News that stated the climate change problem very well. I quote:
“With the exception of all-out nuclear war, all the most important issues that confront us are environmental. None of our hopes, none of our dreams, none of our plans and expectations can survive the loss of a habitable planet. And there is scarcely an Earth system that is not now threatened with collapse.
“Let’s begin with the ground beneath our feet. Soil is a biological structure, created by the organisms that inhabit it. When conditions become hostile to their survival, the structure collapses, and fertile lands turn to dust bowls. The global rate of soil degradation is terrifying. We rely on the soil for 99% of our calories, yet we treat it like dirt.
“Ocean ecosystems are in even greater trouble, hammered by a combination of industrial fishing, pollution and acidification, as carbon dioxide dissolves into seawater. Forests, rivers, wetlands, savannahs, the cryosphere (the world’s ice and snow): all are being pushed towards the brink.
“Above all, climate breakdown is gathering at shocking, unanticipated speed, with disasters occurring at 1.2°C of heating that scientists did not expect until we hit 2 or 3°.“
Climate Change is Here and Now
In September of 2019, UN biodiversity experts issued a strong statement to the effect that nearly a million species risk extinction within decades, “while current efforts to conserve earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action.”
And at April 2022 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said “We are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts.”
Referring to broken promises to limit the causes of climate change on the part of governments and corporations around the world, he added, “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world. We are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts.”
The changes are happening much faster than climate scientists had expected. Until recently, the situation had begun to feel hopeless.
New Hope Emerges
Still, with the passage in the US of the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden’s signing it into law, a new element of hope has emerged: If the US is poised to act responsibly, surely other governments around the world—governments that have been using American slouching on climate issues as an excuse for not taking action themselves—will step up and follow suit.
Yet for all of its climate-favorable aspects, the new US law still leaves the fossil fuel companies vast opportunities to continue building new pipelines and drilling new wells. This was to be expected, as a compromise had to be hammered out to get Senator Manchin’s vote.
It’s the way of democratic government—not something to decry, but something to strengthen us all in our resolve to persevere and ensure that the switch to alternative energy moves forward full speed ahead. In a democracy, even a representative democracy like ours, it is we, the people, who are entrusted with the ultimate responsibility of ensuring right action.
And what is the basic unit of the people, if not the family?
And so it remains up to us, the families of America and the world, to make sure that the changes needed to ensure a future for our children and grandchildren take root at every level.
And unless we step up and demand real solutions to climate change, NOW, all the other issues and challenges we face will soon be moot.
The point is not to panic, but rather to come together in teams and take constructive action.
Is There Still Time to Limit Climate Change?
Having been put on notice that “current efforts to conserve earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action,” we must vastly increase the rate at which we make the needed changes to limit the effects of climate change.
Can we limit those effects enough to make a real difference? Yes, we can. How do I know this, when naysayers point out that arguments for alternative energies replacing fossil fuels are not grounded in the real world? I know it because time and time again, human determination has managed to redefine what is possible. And because by “real world” what the naysayers really mean is greed and political obstinacy.
Greed and political obstinacy can be overcome. We’ve seen it happen. A most recent example would be the borderline miraculous nature of the deal US Senator Chuck Schumer hammered out that got the ultraconservative Senator Joe Manchin to sign the Inflation Reduction Act.
That amazing feat astounded just about everyone. It brings to mind the famous World War II slogan of the US Navy Seabees: “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.”
Of course in the case of climate change, we must make sure it doesn’t take vey much longer!
Do We Have the Strength of Will?
The real question is, will we find the determination to overcome the greed and political obstinacy that contributes to climate change? And the key to that question lies in defining “we.” We must recognize that the “we” is us, the people of the US and the world. We the people must step up and demand humane action from our world leaders. Now more than ever, the climate change situation demands courageous action from those of us who care.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett tell us they are stepping up to the challenge by preparing to build a new “Natrium” nuclear power plant in Wyoming. They are touting it as a way to give us 20 to 30 years’ breathing time to implement climate change solutions. Will it work? That remains to be seen.
Nuclear power is “clean” in that it does not add to the greenhouse effect that creates climate change. It does come with other problems, however, notably plutonium waste with a half life of thousands of years. Furthermore, critics have pointed out that the natrium reactor could become a temptation for terrorists.
While we may need to open our minds to including well-managed nuclear power plants in our energy plan, we had best be prepared to stay awake and aware and insist on a waterproof commitment to safety over profit. (Ah, we’re back to the “real world” question again. The need to be radically watchful and insistent.)
It’s Up To Us
Keeping Earth a safe habitat for living things is up to us, those who understand the threat and who care. It’s up to You and Me. And our kids, since they’re the ones who will be most affected. Stay tuned to this website for family action opportunities!
Families today are forced to face up to more challenges than ever before, even without climate change. In most cases, both parents have to work to keep the family afloat, and you’re troubled by the thought that your kids need you at home. It’s a balancing act, especially if your extended family is far away or unable to help out. And all that was compounded by the many challenges of Covid.
The thing is, the longer we put off taking steps to reduce our carbon output, the harder your life is going to get. Because the more climate change disrupts the environment, the more it threatens your children’s health, nutrition, education, psychological development—and their ability not only to thrive but to stay alive.
Can We Limit Climate Change?
To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
One thing we know for sure: If we fail to make the effort, our chances of success are Z-e-r–o. Throwing up our hands in despair and anticipation of defeat would be our worst possible choice. If you don’t know where to start, you’ll find lots of ideas here. To implement them, it helps to hava a team to point you in the right direction and cheer you on. We’ll be setting up such a team later this year.
Why Involve Our Kids?
Why turn to the family to make the difference? Because the family is the core of American society, the haven in which values are formed and nurtured.
First-world lifestyles are putting our kids’ and our grandkids’ futures at risk. Unless we take visible and effective steps to change that, our kids will soon be blaming us for contributing to the death of their world. And they won’t be wrong.
What they may not want to consider, however, is that they too have enjoyed the fruits of this lifestyle.
To make lasting change, we must involve our children, make them aware that they share in the responsibility, prepare them to be action takers for life. Show them by example, yes, but also by getting them actively involved.
And they will want to be involved. Action is power! And kids love power. So why not raise them to be powerful contributors to a new, sustainable lifestyle? They’ve gotten a taste of it watching Greta Thunberg holding her own at the UN. What a role model for courage!
Now, let’s inspire them not only to speak out and be heard, but to take action to be more climate-conscious in their own lives, to inspire others, and to make it impossible for corporations and governments to continue with business as usual.
Vital Steps Parents Should Consider Taking
That’s why it’s vital that we include them in our activism. We have the opportunity to:
- Get informed. Harken to the saying, “Follow the money.” Where there is evil, there is a payoff. We must seek out the real motives behind the messages we’re being fed. To do that, we can support and subscribe to non-advertising-funded news sources, where the news hasn’t been edited to suit the moneymen.
- Invite our kids to discuss the scary issues with us. If we take a deep breath and ask them what they know, ask them how they feel about it, we may be amazed!. We can suggest topics for investigation. It won’t work to soft-pedal the issues; kids are good at recognizing blarney. They may know more than we do, so we should be prepared to learn from them, too.
- Protect our kids against depression and resentment by empowering them with the only truly viable antidote, other than prayer: Action.
- Strengthen our family bonds by working (and praying, if that’s your way) together to raise awareness and demand solutions. In many cases, the solutions are available—the only impediments to implementing them are habit and resistance to change.
- Join with other families to have a bigger impact than one family could hope to have.
- Give our children a working sense of the importance of teamwork and the results that can be achieved by working together.
Family Activism Can Be Fun!
If we try to impose activism on our children, they will resent it and we will have defeated the goal of preparing them for a lifetime of responsible citizenship. Instead, we can choose projects that let us have fun with our kids! Like:
- Making signs together and then carrying them in marches. Guaranteed, the little girl in this picture had a great time making her sign. And she enjoyed the march, too!
- Writing activist songs and singing them together in viral videos on the Internet.
- Writing Letters to the Editor together—Write individual letters and combine the best parts. Imagine your children’s pride when they see their letters in print!
- Attending City Council meetings together and standing up for the issues we’ve agreed in advance are important. This is a wonderful way to teach kids about local civic responsibility. Imagine the wonderful discussions you can have on the way home!
- Buying or building bird houses or bird feeders and installing them in your yard. This can be an exciting project, made even more delightful as the birds congregate and entertain you with their antics. Many birds are endangered, and providing them proper food can help to preserve threatened species. Brits have had wonderful successes with this. The folks at Happy DIY Home researched a wide variety and came up with their list of the ten best bird feeders with complete descriptions of each, including benefits, drawbacks, and a link to check the prices on Amazon.
Owl box (top), wire mesh box of dryer lint for nest building (lower left) and small birdhouse with liftable wall for easy cleaning, all made by Ray Collier of Vista, CA, 760-505-0281, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Creating online audio or video podcasts or a blog together to show people what they can do about rainforest destruction. Educational family projects like this can have a big impact on readers and viewers as they help save valuable rainforests.
- Setting your kids to work on the Internet researching plant-based alternatives to plastic wrap and paper towels. Then buy and try. Many are excellent!
These are just of few of the many available options for getting your family involved in making a meaningful difference in the climate change crisis.
It is our duty as loving parents to make sure we don’t pass the denial that has led us into this deplorable situation on to our children! Join us in taking action today, as families who care about our children’s and grandchildren’s future.