What are you doing today to prepare your children psychologically for the world of tomorrow?
This is the question that Jessica Haller, a Leader with the Climate Reality Project, and Dr. Beth Haase, who has appeared before the UN Commission for Social Development, are asking political, scientific and social leaders who have spent years studying climate change.
What they are hearing is both frustrating and comforting in its simplicity:
- Keep being a good parent, which means letting kids fail sometimes
- Let them see you care about the Earth and about nature
- Take them outside
“The scale of the issue seems to outweigh the simple answers we are hearing,”
says Haller, who worked on local and international projects to combat human impacts on the environment. She also studied climate with NASA Climate Scientists and even Al Gore.
“I question my parenting decisions almost daily – knowing what we know about the future – am I doing the best thing today to make my kids ready?”
Haller teamed up with Dr. Beth Haase after the two started discussing this question in their hometown of Riverdale. Haase is a psychiatrist and very interested in understanding the mental health impact of climate change:
“The expected impacts will cause profound deprivation, loss, and terror, difficult emotions for humans of all ages. To be secure and resilient leaders, children need to start in a world that builds self-esteem, secures attachment to family, home and habitat, and provides them with survival skills and moral abilities that preserve both themselves and a civil society. We cannot hide the risks they face, but we must not overwhelm them with fear.”
Last summer, Haller interviewed Senator Joseph Lieberman and his wife Hadassah. As a senator, Haller explained, Mr. Lieberman brought a climate bills to the senate floor three times.
“None of them ever passed, but the real question was, what gave you the perseverance to keep at it? It must have taken a tremendous political and emotional toll to keep fighting for federal climate change legislation,” she said.
Interviews continued with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs Director of the Earth Institute and the father of sustainable development. They also interviewed Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist dealing with climate issues who is on the board of NWF and several other major organizations.
When asked the question: What do we do today with our kids to prepare them psychologically for the future, Van Sustren replied:
“Don’t ask me that, you do not want me talking about the future.”
If you have read about climate change you have surely read the predictions and are seeing the results play out in the world today: more drought, more flooding, more extreme weather.
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