A lot has been written about would-be parents who opt out of having kids to help the environment. Media outlets — including this one — assert again and again, that millennials are not having babies because of climate change.
A popular counternarrative is that people are not (or at least shouldn’t be) putting off having children because of climate change; instead, they’re attempting to raise a new generation of environmental stewards who will take action in a way other generations have failed to. Basically, it’s the “they’ll save us and clean up the mess we haven’t” argument for having children.
But raising enlightened climate activists feels like one of those lofty goals that is easy to lose sight of when you’re deep in diapers and school schedules. What does it actually mean, not just in theory or eloquent essays, but day in, day out? And how can parents avoid scaring the sh*t out of kids, adding to the long list of things they shouldn’t have to feel anxious about, like active shooter drills?
Here are five practical strategies for parents to keep in mind.
Parents sometimes have a (completely understandable) tendency to shield their kids from frightening stuff, but experts say that avoiding difficult topics hurts kids more than it helps them.
In short, that’s because kids know what’s up. In one survey of fifth graders, more than 70% said they felt pessimistic about the Earth’s future — some expressing apocalyptic fears, like, “Maybe there is not going to be [another] 100 years.”