What conversations are you having with your children about climate change?
I am a very active and vocal contributor to the climate crisis. I’ve always been vocal about the environment, pollution and more, but 12 months ago I ramped up my verbosity and said, enough: I will not stand by and let this happen.
My focus to drive change is here — trying to get business to change tack.
The shift was a combination of the first IPCC report being released, and moving to Phuket, Thailand, where we are witnessing change firsthand. Not just the rubbish streaming onto the beaches during the off-season, but the fact Phuket was on the verge of drought earlier this year.
Looking ahead, there hasn’t been enough rain to fill the dams/reservoirs, and they expect the water to only last until after the main tourist season. That means about 4–5 months before the next rainy season.
Here’s the latest news on where we are with water in Phuket, and 21 other provinces of Thailand, if you’re interested. Please save water if you come.
Earlier this year, watching the trucks, utes and all vehicles capable of carrying any amount of water, choking the roads of this beautiful Island was awful. Knowing it will come back again, depressing. There were parts of Phuket without water for weeks and protests started. The government is attempting to get ahead of it this year.
Drought in the tropics is NOT NORMAL! I have lived in the tropics since 2003. This was my second drought. The first happened in 2014 in Singapore. I recently returned from Singapore, and everyone was celebrating the fact it had rained for the first time in months. Another dry spell has hit.
It was brown everywhere!! And please believe me, the tropics should not be brown! They are green and moist and lush. It is a frightening reality to witness. I’m Australian. I grew up with drought. Drought in the tropics should be a massive wake-up call to the world.
I think the worst part on my recent trip to Singapore, was driving from Changi Airport into the city. Just out of the airport, there’s a straight strip of highway, with bougainvillea’s in the centre of the road. I have always loved the colours of this journey as I arrive back in Singapore.
Off to the side of the road, are beautiful, towering tropical trees, and they always have epiphytes growing off the branches. Lots and lots of epiphytes — green, lush, and other worldly.
Every single one of them was dead and brown. It was alarming to witness.
We must wake up
Naturally, my elevated contribution to the climate crisis has attracted some interesting responses, and the reality is, I don’t care. I am standing witness to radical climate change and I know that we must act now, urgently, globally, and there is absolutely no time to lose.
I am not doing this for me, or to support any liberal agenda. This is so not about politics. This is about all of humanity and every living thing on this planet having a future.
The planet will survive. Mother Earth is eternal. We are the ones at risk, and we are putting everything we need to survive at risk. So bloody crazy, it’s hard to fathom.
I am raising my voice for my children, and all children. Although, if you’re under 60, you too will experience radical environment change in your lifetime. This IS happening.
It really is the fight of our lives.
But handling this with children…
However, while I am sharing and speaking publicly about this issue, I am very very careful in how I speak about the climate with my kids. They are 11 and 12, so I absolutely do not want to scare the life out of them!
We are actively discussing how we can change all aspects of our lifestyles to be better citizens of Mother Earth. We are talking about wonderful inventions that could solve the problems. We are talking, sharing, and answering any questions they have, with a message of hope, as we don’t want to freak them out.
Steve and I have always been conscious of what they watch, appreciating that young minds exposed to brutal news is not always a healthy thing. We had the news on 24x7 in our household as a kid — it was often terrifying. A friend of the same age, told me he had nightmares every night as a young lad, thinking the Cold War would decimate all he knew and loved.
Regardless of our efforts, though, they are being freaked out, because I cannot control their whole experience anymore. They are hearing information elsewhere now. Lots of interesting information.
Our boys are of the world now. The parental challenge I think most of us face today is working hard to ensure our kids are not devastated by climate anxiety.
To give you a sample of how my boys are feeling right now.
Lex’s recent sharing at 12 years old (now 13!!)
Lex: Mum I dreamt that there was great destruction and we were all freezing! It was the future. It was true mum!! You died first, then Jax, then dad. I didn’t die. It was like we were in the Himalayas. It was so cold. It’s true mum. It’s the future.
I can’t lie to my kids, even if I want to protect them, so all I could say was:
I know love. I know that is a possible future. But it’s why I am raising my voice. Trying to wake the adults up in time, so we can make sure it doesn’t get that bad. I’m working really hard on it!! It’s not all lost yet love!!
Hope. That’s all I’ve got to give him. Am I still hopeful? Not always, but I won’t give into it. We must have hope, but it requires radical change across the board. Across every aspect of our lives.
But I wish more would act and speak up. As an example, everyone was excited about the recent Climate Strike numbers, which were reported at between 6–7.6 million. I mean growth like that should be celebrated, but based on what we actually know, seven billion should be on the streets every day! Everyone should be alarmed at the changes we’re seeing.
Just think of the impact on our children. Let’s do all we can to lessen that, by taking powerful action. They don’t deserve to fear for their future.
Because they do. Terribly so.
More recently Jax said this — he’s 11
Jax: “mum if the temperature gets so hot, you can’t be outside for more than 10 minutes, I’m going to commit suicide!”
Suicide!! I didn’t even know what that was when I was 11…
But worse, not long after he said that, this visual came across my Facebook feed. Wait until the end.
We must focus all of our collective energy and brain power on solving this, right now. Is it going to be easy? Hello no!! We need to change EVERYTHING. And moving to sustainable energy isn’t the silver bullet everyone seems to think either…
Check out this article: 41 Inconvenient Truths on the “New Energy Economy”
A huge shift is required. A new world. Big changes to everything we know. It’s not going to be easy. It’s definitely going to be painful. But we must do it.
And please. Don’t blame anyone. Don’t blame a country, a generation, or weak politicians.
We all did this. We all allowed it to get this bad, so now we need to get on with the work of solving it.
Please join this fight!! Please read the research. I have seen Lex’s future predictions in the research I’ve read. Jax’s prediction plays out in the graphic above.
Yes, it’s hard to face! And it’s not far away. All in our lifetimes.
We must take collective responsibility, that is driven by love for all life on the planet and get going. Let’s take responsibility and show our kids we can change this trajectory, ensuring no other child sees their family die in dreams, or wants to kill themselves.
Please, please, please. Let’s do this for our kids.
Have you had any devastating conversations with your children? Would you be willing to share?