How to tackle climate change together as a family

On the heels of COP26 and youth climate activism beyond Greta Thunberg, it’s clear we’ve all got a part to play.
greta Thunberg

No one speaks truth to power about COP26 quite like 18-yo Greta Thunberg: “the real work continues outside these halls.” For her, it’s simple…’Small steps in the right direction,’ ‘making some progress’ or ‘winning slowly’ equals losing.” Mic drop.

She’s not the only one who’s got something to say. Gen Z voices are getting louder, and let’s say…more nuanced. On one end of the spectrum, we’ve got our “doomers,” or more apocalyptically-minded youngins that feel we’re out of options (in fact, they firmly believe “radical, systemic change is the only chance for salvation”). Translation: what’s the point in having kids or planning for the future? On the other side, our young climate activists are hard at work in the everyday trenches of turning fatalism on its head.

Not taking ‘no’ for an answer

Youth climate activists are really quite impressive. It makes total sense too when you think that kids today feel the hit of climate change realness as young as 7 or 8. In an effort to fight youth tokenism and make themselves heard, we’ve got new leaders to carry the baton of advocacy. Just look at 19-year old Maya Rose Craig from the UK, who’s already got a charity up and running, connecting underrepresented young people to nature camps (like a boss). For them, it simply clicks: without addressing racism and global climate justice, we’ll never make headway on climate change. Yep.

Apparently, tackling climate change together is the way

Psychologist’s orders! But really though, here’s how to support our kids in making sense of it all.

  • Don’t skirt the issue – find the middle ground of how you talk about climate change. Engaging questions always do the trick, like “what do you think is happening?” followed by “why does it matter?”
  • Do inspire wonder and interest – kids learn better by doing. Make practical, hands-on eco-conscious activities an everyday commitment so things like recycling, turning off unnecessary lights and taking shorter showers become second nature.
  • Don’t underestimate the need for kids to feel safe – validate their feelings whatever may come. Help them verbalize their fears and remind them they’re not alone.
  • Do support them in finding accurate info – feed them precise information to make the climate change monster less scary. When they start to feel like the fate of our planet rests on their shoulders, remind them to bring it back to what you can do today. Everyone’s got a part to play.

Written by Tiffany Wen

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