Vox: Stop telling kids that climate change will destroy their world

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Essay by Eric Worrall

Vox contributor Kelsey Piper describing her realisation that climate anxiety is a far worse threat to the welfare of kids than climate change.

Stop telling kids that climate change will destroy their world

Some “climate anxiety” is the product of telling kids — falsely — that they have no future.

By Kelsey Piper  Jun 8, 2022, 8:10am EDT

My 5-year-old daughter is now old enough to read a lot of books and magazines aimed at children, and it’s given me a whole new perspective on the discourse wars over how we talk about climate change, conservation, and the future of the planet. 

As I’ve written about before, climate change is going to be bad, and it will hold back humanity from thriving as much as we should this century. It will likely cause mass migration and displacement and extinctions of many species.

What it won’t do, however, is make the Earth unlivable, or even mean that our children live in a world poorer than the one we grew up in. As many climate scientists have been telling us, the world is a better place to live in — especially for people in lower-income countries — than it has ever been, and climate change isn’t going to make it as bad as it was even in 1950. 

“I unequivocally reject, scientifically and personally, the notion that children are somehow doomed to an unhappy life,” Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at Columbia, told Ezra Klein in his column this week about overcoming climate despair.

“There might not be a world to live in when she grows up. What use is school without a future?” one page describes Thunberg as thinking. Even as a setup for Thunberg’s rise as an activist, I’m not thrilled about that message. Some kids might hear that and be inspired to speak before the United Nations, but most kids are going to hear that and be scared and disempowered. 

That pessimistic message seems to be sinking in for the young. A 2021 study funded by the campaign and research group Avaaz polled 10,000 people between 16 and 25, and found that over half thought that humanity was “doomed” because of climate change.

Read more: https://www.vox.com/23158406/climate-change-tell-kids-wont-destroy-world

There’s something twisted and cruel about people who seem to go out of their way to tell kids that they are all doomed.

Think about all the stories of people sheltering from the blitz in WW2, or other horrible circumstances. Parents in the shelters didn’t tell their kids all the ways they were about to die, they tried to shield their kids from the horror, read stories to them, anything to distract them, give them a moment’s peace and even joy, while the continuous muffled blast sounds penetrated their shelters, as the NAZI bombs rained on London.

But many climate activists seem to want to do the opposite. What do they get out of it? Do they get a kick, when they watch the little faces of children in their care crumple in fear and despair, under the weight of their doom laden pessimism?

Even if climate scare stories were true, which they clearly are not, people with an ounce of compassion just wouldn’t inflict such cruelty on children.

via Watts Up With That?

June 13, 2022

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