“What can we say to our children?” Adult Talk on Speaking with Children about Science and Survival | EV & N – 266 | CCTV




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It is high time to have some straight and honest conversations with our children (and their children) about the grim world we are bequeathing to them.  This will not be easy, and perhaps that is why it is rarely tried.  In general terms, parents are poorly informed or frankly confused by the conflicting public statements about climate change from political figures and powerful special interest groups in the media and corporate world.

In instances where parents have kept informed and do understand the science and its implications they are often too embarrassed or too ashamed to talk frankly with their children about what is coming in their lives because it is too horrific for them to contemplate.  To speak frankly  would require them to acknowledge that their own worldview and “master narrative” needs radical readjustment.  This is often quite threatening.  Silence is the safe alternative.

To be honest with their children parents would be required to discuss how they have been complicit in the evolution of the socio-economic system based on the illusion of continuous growth and economics of hyped consumerism that has led to the excessive use of fossil fuels with its disastrous and inevitable impact on all future life on Earth.    Because this is — to say the least — awkward, these kinds of conversations are not very frequent between parents and children.  Silence persists.

In the absence of accessible, trustworthy information and honest discussion, children are left to fend for themselves and are frequently subject to what is “trending” on social media, without any developed strategy for investigating the world they will have to inhabit.  The result is that because of the absence of “adult talk” between parents and children about the world that they will inherit, new forms of ignorance, resentment and desperate loneliness are becoming manifest in youth who are increasingly angry at the world in which they are expected to function.  New forms of self-abuse, drug addiction, binge drinking and suicide are tragic manifestations of how some of our youth are trying to cope in a degraded and threatening natural world in which they must now learn to live. The old parental syllogism, “You’ll be fine.  Everything will work for the best, it always has…” just doesn’t work any more.


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