Prove your humanity

Many of us have a hard enough time processing the threats and realities of climate change ourselves. But explaining those issues to our children can be even trickier. Recently, the Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant talked with some members of a Unitarian Universalist church in Kent, Ohio who face that challenge as parents of young children. Some of them have found things that work, but many continue to struggle bringing the subject into their family lives. Here are some thoughts from some of the parents below.

“It’s something that we struggle with and clearly [our daughter] has heard some things from us as far as saving the planet—not standing with the refrigerator door open and why we recycle. But we’ve struggled with our own commitment to doing the small things that we know we can do.”
—Kathy Walker

“I’m not going to turn off the lights and I’m not going to save the planet!”
Saul Flanner (married to Kathy Walker), talking about things his young daughter has said about climate change

“I work 10-hour shifts. I have an hour drive home. I get home and I want to order a pizza and use paper plates—just to save myself. They’ll remind me that that is not the right thing to do. So, something is going right, I think.”
—Marion Brannan, mother of twins

LISTEN: “Talking to kids about climate change”

“My biggest concern is about our food and that part of our environment. Even if you’re eating organic foods and things like that, they’re still being damaged or altered by the pesticides and GMOs that are sneaking in. The chemicals in our groundwater or that come in off the street on our shoes—that seems like the thing I always talk to them about. You know, Don’t pick that up, don’t touch that—there’s chemicals on that.”
—Heather Waltz, mother of two

“I have turned into my father with regards to the electric bill and the lights.”
—Rob Waltz (married to Heather Waltz), father of two

“We spend a lot of time visiting different farms in the area to get food or get chicken feed for our chickens that we keep. So, we know where our eggs come from! And we spend a lot of time going on and on with them about that. And they still really want to just eat highly processed food that comes in a bag from the store. So, I feel like I’m making my kids the ‘weird kids.’ I hope that 50 years from now, my kids won’t have to ask me what I did [about climate change]. I hope that they’ll know, because they were there with me.”
—Amanda Baus Rome, mother of two girls