Sarah Wolpow: Telling my children about climate change

These poor kids are apparently being raised by a gibbering lunatic. I had thought the piece was an enviro-spoof – funny and almost plausible but no, this dipstick is actually trying to terrorize her own children on the basis of PlayStation® climatology:

Like every parent, I want my children to believe their futures are full of hope and promise. Yet they also need to look with clear eyes at the world around them. How do you give them THAT talk?

BRUNSWICK, Maine – My 12-year old has just asked to participate in another weekly activity 30 minutes away. I try a quick rebuff: “You’re already too busy, and it’s too expensive.”

With more than a bit of adolescent attitude, she replies, “You just don’t want to take the time to drive me.”

I look at the clock. It’s past 7 pm. We haven’t eaten dinner, and unfinished homework clutters the kitchen table. There is never a perfect moment to get into the real nitty gritty of why and wherefore. Still, sometimes you have to take the time to give your kids an honest answer to their questions.

“Yes, you’re partly right,” I tell her, and her sister too, who has now wandered in. “I don’t especially want to spend more time carting you around. But there is another reason. Every time we get in the car we contribute to climate change. By the end of this century – and you may both still be around – climate change is likely to make conditions for life on earth drastically different from what they are today.”

It’s gloomy stuff, the state of the environment. Usually I try not to dwell on scientists’ pessimistic planetary forecasts. Nobody, including me, really wants to hear it. Nobody wants to read about it over morning coffee and a doughnut. Nobody wants to tell their kids about it.

Yet I plunge ahead. I tell them that they have just lived through the hottest decade ever recorded. I tell them that recent flooding submerged one fifth of the land surface of Pakistan, washing away 7,000 schools.

I tell them that the Arctic is melting, that hurricanes are getting stronger, droughts are lengthening, and rainfall records are being shattered. Within their lifetimes, sea level could rise by 6 feet, or more, submerging the world’s coastal cities.

The children are quiet. Finally they ask if our house, a few miles inland from the Maine coast, will be okay. This question, in its innocent disregard either for the welfare of others, or for the fact that if the world disintegrates around them it won’t matter if their house is okay, seems to reflect a child’s perspective.

But it’s how we adults think too: Sure, catastrophic drought struck Texas last year and the Midwest this summer. But here in the Northeast global warming so far has mostly meant warmer winters. In other words, our house and family are fine.

Well then, my children ask, shouldn’t we do something about it?

I tell them they are already helping by riding their bikes and walking around town, by delighting in hand-me-downs rather than shopping trips, by eating local spinach rather than asking for processed foods from afar.

Daily Climate

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6 responses to “Sarah Wolpow: Telling my children about climate change

  1. Gawd. And people such as Ms. Walpow vote.

  2. Tell them the truth, the air and water have been getting cleaner for the past 40 years.

  3. My response to her essay (at the only place allowing such a reply, her personal blog post ) is “awaiting moderation”, as seen here:

    Her willingness to participate in the arena of ideas will be seen if she decides to allow it or if she sweeps it into the virtual trashcan among so many other critical comments that have been submitted to AGW promoter web articles and blogs.

    The mere fact that AGW’s survival depends on ‘hiding the decline’ and erasing skeptics from the public eye is an unbelievable self-indictment that AGW promoters seem utterly oblivious to.

  4. I too left a reply that was “awaiting moderation” for a few days. Then it vanished.

    I merely asked for evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

    Apparently she has no evidence for her belief!

  5. What a great reason not to have to cart your kids around. I wish I had thought of it before, but now my son is fully grown.

  6. The apocryphal apocalypse.

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