Advice For Parents of Young Adults: Tell Them The Truth!
I was surprised at the lack of science resources on the climate crisis aimed specifically at teens and young adults. When I put this out on Twitter, I was told that most teens and YA’s prefer to get their information from social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat -nevertheless, from a brief search on ‘the Gram’, I couldn’t find the dynamic and urgent material I was looking for.
Many teens and YA’s -even some younger children- are ready to hear the worst of the science. My view is that ‘forewarned is forearmed’. The young people’s global climate strikes show that there is an emerging and urgent need for communicating the science of the crisis, including worse case scenarios. Once we know the truth, we have a duty to tell our children, as soon as they are possibly ready for it. Otherwise we not only save less trauma now for potentially more trauma later, but we also erode their trust in us, at a time when they could most benefit from it.
We mustn’t let our kids be conned by the half-measures that are being proposed by governments and corporations in response to the breakdown of our climate’s previously comparatively steady state. The Paris Agreement of 2015 has compounded a fatal and false narrative of ‘global economic growth as usual’ which will not work to solve the climate crisis. Unfortunately a large portion of the climate strikes is engaging with this false narrative i.e. they do not know how bad things are or are likely to get if we do not pressure governments to revolutionise the global economy in response to the climate crisis and related ecological crisis. A gradual reduction of carbon emissions to zero in 2050 is not adequate, as has been proven multiple times, and so ‘Green New Deal’ narratives fall dangerously short of what is required.
For an example of communicating worst case scenarios (to some, likely case scenarios) of the ‘probable’ end of organised human civilisation this century and ‘possible’ end of the human species, see this UPFSI video on Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation paper being communicated to Oskar, a 13 year-old boy. You may be surprised at the result.
See also this event coming up in London in May 2020, exploring the climate crisis as related to youth activists and children, presented by the Climate Psychology Alliance.