Growing up I always heard parents saying they wanted to own a house so that they could pass it to their children as an inheritance, something to help them in the future.
I don’t know if this was particular to the environment and time I grew up, but today as I remember that, I inevitably think that perhaps now it shouldn’t be only a house what we try to leave to future generations, but a relatively healthy planet to live in.
I don’t have kids, but I always think about today’s children, those who one day will become adults and perhaps they will have to face the realities of a world that they didn’t ask for. Today I am sharing some thoughts about this topic.
Our modern life is recent
The other day I remembered that when I was a kid and I felt scared/confused, I found some comfort thinking that the reality I was familiar with had existed forever, in my mind society, cars, medicine, education, the rules we followed, everything had always been there and it had worked well, so I had nothing to worry about.
Clearly, I didn’t know much of history at that age. As I grew up, I realised that that idea (I don’t know how I got it) was far from the truth, for instance, industrial revolution only happened around the 18th century, so many things in our modern life are relatively recent and we sometimes forget that.
So the world has been changing rapidly and although progress of human beings in science, medicine, technology and many other aspects has been incredible, we all know the natural world/the environment has suffered.
For instance, according to a recent study covered by The Guardian in this article:
“Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation”
That’s only 50 years guys, I don’t know you, but I found that statistic really sad and terrifying. So, it makes me wonder what the future holds for future generations if humanity continue following a similar path, if we continue consuming resources, biodiversity continues to fade, our population continues growing rapidly, we get even more disconnected from nature and our lifestyles demand more and more stuff that we often don’t even need.
Climate is changing
It is everywhere, the climate is changing, so how will the planet look like in 50, 100 years, 200 years? That’s the million-dollar question.
And when I say the planet, I mean our world, because let’s be clear our planet will survive regardless, but it is our societies, lifestyles and ultimately our existence as species what could drastically change in the coming years.
What if our kids (or even their kids) are no able to experience the world as we are right now. What if it is 2050 or 2100 and…
- There is not enough fish or what remains is no longer suitable for consumption because they have eaten so much micro-plastic that the toxicity level/risks are too high.
- Air pollution is so bad that everyone and everywhere people have to wear masks.
- Natural disasters become so common that they feel safe even at home and they don’t have the opportunity to travel much.
I really hope those never become the reality, but we really don’t know for sure.
According to this article from the Guardian:
“Previous and existing generations have emitted nearly all the carbon dioxide needed to take the world to 1.5C or 2C, meaning future generations will have to severely cut the emissions from flying, meat consumption and other activities in their lifetimes.”
And hey, even if you don’t believe in man-made climate change (because yes, there are many people on that boat) there are still significant challenges future generations will have to face like the plastic pollution crisis (we are already experiencing it, but it can easily get worse), overpopulation, resources scarcity and many others.
Kids are taking action
In the last few years, kids have taking the streets demanding climate action and it has become a global movement. All started with schoolgirl Greta Thunberg sitting outside Swedish parliament in mid 2018 holding a sign and asking government to do something about the climate crisis.
The movement has been massive, the mobilisations in the streets have been incredible, there is now even Global Climate Strike website and more initiatives are emerging.
So why do these kids feel they have to do something for their future? Why aren’t they trusting adults to handle the situation?
Calling the parents out there
Honestly, I wanted to write this post mainly to grab the attention of parents. I am not trying to get you depressed with all the bad possibilities in the future, what I would love is to trigger some positive action, some interest in this topic.
Parents love their kids and want the best for them, so they are the perfect motivation to get involved. Just think that you are doing this as a gift to them, what a beautiful act of love and care.
We don’t have to do it all, we don’t have to be heroes, just commit to the cause. There is so much we can all do to make a difference collectively, one step at a time.
I like this tweet below written by a mum, her message is clear: “Parenthood demands climate activism“. And hey any activism that helps the environment is good, it doesn’t have to be climate change… plastic, water, air pollution, whatever inspires you the most, let your values guide you.
My kid is the loveliest wee human. Yours probably is too. Believe me when I tell you that acting on climate, being fiercely loud about what we need to do to preserve what we can, is the best thing you can do for our babies.
Parenthood demands climate activism. Can't avoid it.
— Meg Ruttan Walker (@TricksyRaccoon) April 6, 2019
I leave you with two videos that I really like from Prince Ea. They are very relevant for the topic today:
Do you know a parent out there who needs to hear this? Please spread the message.
“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” – Henry David Thoreau
Thanks for reading,