18 June 2017

What Parents Won't Acknowledge About the Climate Crisis is Going to Kill Their Children

I went seakayaking with a great group of students recently. It was a lovely west coast (of Canada) almost-summer afternoon ... sunny but not too hot. We spent the morning learning how to handle the boats and exploring the intertidal life along the shore.

We stopped for a lovely picnic lunch on a beach. Afterwards, I managed to fall in the water getting back into my kayak. (It's a habit I have ... I figure if I fall in, nobody else will have to. And it made for some comic relief.)

On the way back, the group was more focused on technique and speed, but I had a few moments of calm to talk with the leader of our outing as we floated under the bridge with the current. 

A seagull passed by us. "The whitest thing in the world," I proclaimed, "is a seagull's breast." The leader laughed and agreed. Then I said, simply to carry on the conversation, "Seagulls and other seabirds are in huge decline [see page 6 Seabirds Going the Way of the Dodo?]. Have you noticed that?"

"No ... do they know why?" she asked. I managed to get one or two reasons out (mainly, a decrease in their food sources) before she said, "I can't hear that stuff. I've got two young kids and it makes me too sad." 

Even on a gorgeous day with the wind at our backs in self-powered (i.e., zero-carbon) conveyances, still we can't face it. If we can't face it when our own circumstances are good, does that mean we're really going to wait until the local %$#@ hits the fan before we even acknowledge the impending implosion of global ecosystems?

If people who have wonderful little bundles of reasons to take action aren't taking action, truly, where's the hope in that? People want hope, but they won't pay the price for it. And the price is feeling the sadness of what's going to happen if we don't feel the sadness and let it motivate us to speak up on behalf of the children we love so dearly. 

Speak up. That's all I'm asking. Or even just listen. Hear. Open your ears and eyes. Open your hearts. Be willing to feel the pain, to lament the losses that have already led to precipitous declines in seabird populations. 

That same fate (environmental and ecological changes caused by climate change; pollution and habitat destruction diminishing the biodiversity upon which we depend) awaits our children if ... but you don't want to hear it.

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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?