21 August 2016

The Saddest Sad Thing about the Climate Change Emergency

It was a sad week around the world. As athletes from around the world vied to break sporting records at the Rio Olympics, India and the Middle East experienced record-breaking temperatures. Massive floods and forest fires are killing and "homelessing" people left, right and centre. Amidst all this, the denial campaign is doubling down (their efforts to obfuscate the need for an emergency response are mind and heart boggling) and the scientific community, for the most part, just keeps calling for more research. Aaaarrrgghhh!

But the saddest sad thing this week was a series of posts and comments on the question of bringing children into this changing world -- a world that is changing for the worse in practically every way.

Children are a vulnerable subpopulation, and as such they are more susceptible to the ravages of climate chaos. On top of that, we're doing an excellent job of ravaging their future.

An NPR article asked "Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change?" Lots of commenters weighed in:
"Should we be protecting our children by not having them?"

"Of course yes, we should protect future children by not having them! Knowing what we know about climate, and the inevitable wars and struggle and suffering that will happen in the near future - how could anyone create another person, someone they claim to love, and willingly subject them to all of that?? If they can, then I don't understand it at all. I wish I did."

"Investors have a moral obligation to safeguard their grandchildren's future against climate change." [See my webpage on Future Generations for more information on this idea.]

"Decided not to have kids because I know it would break my own heart to see them grow up in a dying world." [I responded that this decision must have been heartbreaking in itself.]

"Too late for me but I have had this discussion with my only child, a 16 year old son." [Good point ... how are young people feeling about a future with no children?]
And in response to From Epic Fires to a 1,000-Year Flood: The Climate Change of Here and Now:
"What must it be like to have a new born baby in your arms and look out the window at a line of fire as far as the eye can see beneath a looming wall of smoke and ash that blots out the future! What will be the future as the infant grows up and enters the world as an adult?

"What world will they see in twenty years? The deniers smirk as they pocket their profits and bribes while knowing the truth. Just one more golden egg from the Golden Goose they keep saying. Just one more pipeline, just one more deep water drill, just one more fracking well!

"They will never say enough is enough and worse they will probably start saying that it is too late to do anything about climate change already anyway. They plan to say that eventually. They'll say whatever it takes to be able to squeeze out one more golden egg before the goose dies."
So, yeah, I believe the saddest of all the sad things these days is the idea that the future has become a thing of the past, no longer something to look forward to. And that the greatest joy in the world for so many people -- having children -- has turned into something cruel.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?