The obstacle is the Way
One in five children in Britain are climate fatalists – they have given up because they believe it can’t be fixed.
This is one of the stark messages I got back from my co-director and life partner from COP26. At silly-am in the morning, it strikes me that these are kids – they give up on tidying their bedroom, or doing their homework when it feels like too much. Some days they want to give up on waking up – and stay in bed all day! Our job as the grownups is to help them, and show them how it’s done.
How have we reached the point where we think it’s right and normal to look to our young people to solve problems that we don’t know the answers to? That feels like an incredibly unfair burden to place on their young shoulders. And perhaps it’s a bit of a cop-out too. (Pardon the pun…)
As far as I understand it, one of the big end-of-the-world problems from my own youth – the ozone layer – has been fixed. Or if not fixed, is well on its way to being addressed. Back in those days nobody asked kids and teenagers if they thought they had the capacity and capability to fix the ozone layer. We were allowed to remain kids for a lot longer than today’s youth. (But then I’m happy to admit that I could very well be looking back with rose-tinted glasses.)
Either way, I suspect that if somebody had asked me, I’d have been just as fatalistic as today’s youth feel about climate change. I had no idea what political, industrial or technological mechanics would be needed. All I knew was that we had this huge, growing hole in the protective gasses above our heads and that if we ignored it life as we knew it would end as a result of excess UV radiation that we (and our environment) were not equipped to handle.
But back to today - could we possibly agree that we’re the responsible adults at this particular point in time, and that it’s our responsibility to look after and teach tomorrow’s adults, rather than throw them in the deep end and abscond our responsibilities.
Part of being that adult is admitting when we don’t have all the answers, and putting our egos and a large part of our politics aside for the greater good. I am the last person to know all the answers, but I’m learning as fast as I can. Helping people to explore and understand how leather can be recycled via composting is one of the areas where I am doing my bit. What part are you playing?