Today’s parents are rearing the next generation in a time of great flux on so many fronts, but perhaps none is more anxiety-inducing and existentially daunting than climate change. Nary a news cycle spins by that doesn’t touch in some way on an environmental crisis: soaring temperatures and extreme weather events, rising sea levels, fires gouging our communities, iconic creatures starving and dying en masse. Our children will be confronted with a world vastly and unpredictably altered by the time they become adults of child-bearing age, when the decision of whether or not to even become parents themselves may be a fraught one to make.
Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig shared this perspective in a 2018 opinion piece: “Children are a clear statement of hope, a demand that we claim accountability for the future. They are a rejection of cavalier disregard for the planet we share.” In our current “climate in doubt,” parents and their children can play a most essential role in the urgent work of planetwide stewardship. To do so, we must overcome the debilitating anxiety and hopelessness caused by our fear of catastrophe and demonstrate to our children through our own positive actions that halting the course of climate change is possible and we are all accountable.
ParentMap has pledged to explore the challenges and opportunities of climate action through the lens of parenting in 2020. We’ll bring forward expert perspectives, genius ideas and practical habits and solutions that we hope will help families shift thinking, reevaluate and reform patterns of consumption, and make a difference in ways both small and big. We’ll meet climate custodians and changemakers — many of them kids — who are addressing climate change head-on. In this month’s issue, we focus on the many ways kids and parents can get involved in community science and other amazing local family- and youth-led organizations working for climate action. And one of the best and most enjoyable ways you can train up a future steward of our natural world is to take your tot on a hike!
Our February issue also shines a light on family love, from sweet and simple ways to show your special valentines you care, to a new look at sibling relationships, to the science and practice of self-compassion, which just might be the very root from which our capacity to love others blooms.