I had a chance to present to 10 classes at a local middle school on the topic of electricity generation. I talked about conservation steps they can take, which fuels we use here in the United States, and how much CO2 each emitted.
I was shocked by the determination of these kids. Their teacher had already covered a lot of ground with them on climate chaos, so they had at least a rough idea of how bad CO2 emissions are. And they were NOT going to listen to some old guy like me telling them it was a tough problem. They wanted me and all the other clueless, can't-work-an-iPod-and-don't-know-Facebook-from-a- hole-in-the-ground adults to get the heck out of the way so they could fix it. NOW!
And this all happened even before I apologized to them. I told them that my generation had really screwed up the planet, and that we were leaving them with a gigantic mess to clean up. The look on their faces was amazing. I guess they're not used to adults apologizing to them.
The one thing they couldn't get their heads around was why things had gotten this bad, and why we (meaning the people running the planet) hadn't started doing a lot more about it 20 or 30 or more years ago. I tried my best to explain that a lot of the emissions, starting with the Industrial Revolution, happened before we realized what we were doing. And by the time we figured it out we had built so much of our economy around burning fossil fuels, and there was so much money involved (as in buying politicians), that it became impossible to make large scale changes until things got really bad - like now.
I came out of those days exhausted and invigorated, saddened and hopeful. I think I learned a lot more from them about our future than they learned from me.
Fix this for the kids. And they are all our kids, whether they carry our DNA or not.
Thanks, Lou. I know what you mean.