Image credit: DorkyMom
I've asked before why, with all the potential misery and danger in the world, do eco-activists still have children. But then I've also declared that disasterbation turns you blind, and I've even started out on my own path to being a new green dad. There's no doubt, however, that knowing what we know about climate change, peak oil, extinctions and biodiversity loss can be a depressing prospect for anyone—but it's especially depressing when you start considering your own kids' future. I should be clear here—I'm not talking about overpopulation and the decision whether or not to have kids. That's a whole other (valid) debate that we don't have time for here. Instead, what I'm interested in is how do we, as parents (or lovers, husbands, wives, friends, family members for that matter) process the stark knowledge that the future is far from secure, and yet still keep trucking on with hopeful plans for ourselves and our loved ones?
Gail Whiteman, director of the Sustainability & Climate Research Centre, and author of Generation CO2: A Mother's Guide to Climate Change, has some interesting reflections over at The Guardian about what it means to be a climate mom. She wrestles with the knowledge that her kids' lives will be directly impacted by the actions of previous generations and, like many working moms, she struggles with the competing everyday pressures of parenthood and career—although in her case there is the added complication that her career, and her activism, may help safeguard her children's' future. Yet there is always something getting in the way:
"I know, as a mum and as a scientist, that we really have to do something about this. Yet even as I type this, my husband arrives home with the kids and calls from the front door to see if I put the chicken on for dinner (free-range/organic, and yes, we had vegetarian last night) and so I have less time than planned."
Ultimately, like so many things, it probably boils down to getting on and doing what you can, but remembering to live life, laugh, and enjoy your children as they grow up. As Michael Franti said in his interview with TreeHugger, "if you're not enjoying your friends, and your family, and the people you meet along the way, then what's the point in doing any of the other work that you are doing?"
Amen to that. Now I have to go make dinner.
More on Parenthood and Environmentalism
Ode to Women and Nature: Lessons for a New Green Dad
Why Eco-activists Still Have Children
How to Green Your Baby