23 September 2018

Children ... Our Vulnerable Little Ones

Twin tornadoes ripped through Canada's capital region on Friday night. In a country blessed with strong infrastructure (due to our winters and our wealth as a nation), nearly 300 properties were damaged or destroyed. Several people were injured but no fatalities have been reported, thank goodness, though hundreds have been displaced and some have lost everything. The stories of complete strangers opening their doors to those left without power or without a home at all have been heartwarming.

However, one harrowing sound bite of a father who nearly lost his daughter left me sobbing ... it is so metaphorical of what is already happening in other parts of the world, but what is only just beginning in this privileged region. Our children — our most beloved and yet our most vulnerable — are being hit first and worst by the ravages of climate disruption.

Listen in here as this distraught father describes what he experienced as he struggled to hold on to his daughter during the tornado. 

Folks, we are ALL struggling to hold on to our children now. Tomorrow, it might be the children of the wonderful fellow trying to comfort his friend. But we need to acknowledge that parents all around the world are not able to protect and save their children who are being lost in storms and mudslides and floods, or because of droughts and famines and contaminated drinking water. This one man's raw emotion is, for me, a metaphor for the pain and agony that all parents go through when they lose a child, or even just come close to it.

This morning, I received the latest piece from a wonderful friend and climate change activist, Dr. Reese Halter. Fossil Fuels Poisoning Children explains why we need to get to zero combustion and zero carbon emissions, even without climate change in the picture. The statistics in this article are horrifying. Half of the 4.4 million schoolchildren in New Delhi, India have permanently stunted lung development from breathing fossil fuel pollution. What are we doing to our children?
"Man has poisoned our children and the entire planet with fossil fuels. Now we must all fight for our survival."
One commenter wrote: "In a world that has been created for all, it is a tragic reflection on humanity that our children are being born already poisoned by our own hand. No accident of nature but the hand of man's own greed." 
Reese responds: "We are ALL one. And it's high time that we understand the severity of this crisis...."

Which brings me to the last thing I want to share this week (besides a link to a 2017 post I wrote called What Parents Won't Acknowledge About the Climate Crisis Is Going to Kill Their Children). It's a video in which two scientists talk about the "perfectly normal and natural" reactions that people have when they first truly grasp the urgency of this crisis. 

While watching it, I noticed two things. At about 7:30, one of the scientists shows that she hasn't yet grasped how bad (and not neat) things are going to become. You can hear the denial set in when she talks about her own child. The other thing I noticed is that feeling this range of la-la-I-don't-want-to-hear-this emotions is a developed-world privileged luxury. As I pointed out above, many parents have already experienced devastating loss — they can't deny that this is happening.

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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?