It’s Not Just a Crisis of Climate: by Martin C. Fredricks IV
Everything I need to know about the climate crisis and the need to speak positively about what can be done I’ve seen in my daughters’ eyes.Martin C. Fredricks IV
One is 19 and the other is 13. Both, at different times, have had a slightly fearful but determined look in their eyes while telling me they don’t plan on having children. Each followed it up with, “Why would I….”
“The world’s going to be uninhabitable soon,” each has said in her own way. “Why would I bring kids into that.”
It’s not a question, but a statement of moral conviction. They don’t want it this way, but they’re looking to the future with eyes wide open. They reason it would be wrong to put any additional human beings through what looks likely to be coming.
But there’s no anger or disappointment from me. Just sadness. Not because my wife and I might never have grandchildren, but because our daughters and people their age around their world have to think this way. Theirs is the first generation forced to look at Armageddon not as some far-off, theoretical threat, but as a real possibility within their lifetimes.
I’m partially to blame. I talk, think and write about the climate crisis all the time; no doubt I’ve been too bitter and graphic about it too many times around the dinner table.
But in truth we all share some blame. We’ve enabled the politicians and governments that have their heads stuck deep into the sand, not to mention the lobbying slush funds of fossil-fuels companies. They’re blindly, happily and willfully ignorant of the damage we’re already experiencing.
Think about the power outages in Texas. The fires on the west coast of the USA, in the Amazon and across Australia. The flooding in Indonesia. Or the Covid-19 pandemic around the world. Scientists tell us this particular coronavirus strain was able to jump from animals to humans at least partly because of climate-related habitat loss.
Better still, read scientific reports like “Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C” by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. They paint a clear, fact-based picture of what’s coming if people do not curtail carbon emissions at least 45 percent by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050.
Yet we still hear officials say climate change is a deception, and we still see social media posts like this from our neighbors:
To which I always respond:
Fortunately, there are starting to be more that say things like:
Which is on the right track. The false debate about climate change’s existence is over.
It’s now time to act.
I’ve been doing what I can, and now, with my daughters’ eyes haunting me, I’m recommitted. That look is in my mind’s eye every time I write a post, march for climate action or attend a meeting about sustainability.
It’s also why I’ve started telling them the good news about the climate crisis –
If human beings start doing the right things right now, there’s still time. We can save our planet and ourselves by electing the right people, pressuring the wrong ones through peaceful protest, stopping financial support for corporations that fund fossil fuel extraction, and doing everything else we can in our own lives and communities.
Because, remember: what we say and what we do make a difference, especially to the people we love most.
So how are you talking about the climate crisis with the most important people in your life?
© 2021 Martin C. Fredricks IV
Every post on Martin’s blog, IV Words, is a foreword to what comes next with the climate crisis, environment, politics, progressive causes, social justice and “the way it is.”
Martin is also an avid photographer.
Check out Martin’s blog at ivwords.com.