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Parents desperately want our planet to be habitable for our grandkids. We want our kids to be ancestors to future generations. Having a child is our ultimate act of hope for the future. 

Yet, most of us are overwhelmed, and terrified of the future predicted for our kids. Whether we’re homeschooling, working, or paralyzed by the news cycle, many parents don’t know where to start when it comes to addressing our climate crisis with our kids. 

We know that for our kids to be the awesome grown ups we want them to be, we have to model that behavior at home, even if it’s in toddler steps.

Because we’re busy and exhausted, we need to trust that the smartest minds on the planet are doing amazing work to ensure our kids have a habitable planet. Unless you’re going back to get a PhD in how to capture carbon, as parents, our work is to raise good humans by modeling the values we want our children to embody.

Start small

Kids need to learn about the issues without scaring them. A 2019 study identified the need for climate change education that directly involves young people in a participatory way. 

There are plenty of resources for teaching children about climate change, including those compiled by the Sierra Clubwebinars on ocean and climate sciencelesson plans from the California Academy of Science, and fun stuff like Zoos and Aquarium livestreams. Another great teaching resource for children is climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe’s YouTube channel, Global Weirding with Katherine Hayhoe, and National Geographic Kids, with tons of engaging content.

Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change: “with every degree of warming, a child born today faces a future where their health and well-being will be increasingly impacted by the realities and dangers of a warmer world.” And children are aware of the serious issues, with more experiencing eco-anxietyThe New York Times has suggestions on how to talk about it with your children.

One of the best ways to teach and support our children is to live sustainably and take action. To combat the feeling of overwhelm, we love this newsletter for parents about how to find hope through direct action. Find ways to make a difference on CCR’s Take Action page for Individuals — as we live by example, we engrain habits into our children. The NRDC offers plenty of tools to raise an environmentalist. 


Illustrations by Kathleen Founds



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