Each week I receive from ten to forty responses to recent columns. Most are simply appreciative comments — and for them I am grateful. Now and then, particularly when I ask a question or describe a personal incident, I get a series of more extensive remarks.
My column “What do we tell our grandchildren” (about climate change) drew a string of thoughtful comments.
Here is what a few readers have to say about climate change as they either communicate with younger generations — which includes children — or for a variety of solid reasons aren’t sure how to approach the subject.
“My grandchildren are adults and are either conspicuous consumers who are using up the resources, or conservative Christians who believe Chicken Little … was mistaken.”
“I think the basic answer for Christians is going to have to come from the apocalyptic, eschatological passages in the New Testament. … God is running the show and Satan doesn’t know he is defeated. The grandkids need to know that things will be all right for them as long as they are related to God in Jesus Christ.”
(Anyone want to take on explaining the book of Revelation to a teenager, or anyone else for that matter?)
“Here is how I begin. Whenever I make one of my public presentations I tell the story of my 7year-old grandson asking, ‘Nana, do you know we’re in a ‘drat’? We then discuss all the ways he can save water. His mother says her son is driving them crazy in his passion to save water … He tells his father to turn down his shower and learn how to shower in cold water. I’m proud of my grandson.”
“So far it seems like a lot of climate change talk is making the point, but stays safely away from the don’t-mess-with-my-way-of-life.”
“Chicken Little was it right. The sky is falling fast. Or more accurately, the sea is rising.”
“By all the measures I trust, the human experiment has failed … But I talk with my (adult) kids who will in turn talk to their kids when the time is right–I hope.”
“At least one of our grandchildren is taking climate change seriously … She is in college, and wants to become an Environmental Engineer … More kids like her could change things — if it is not too late.”
“Fortunately, our grandchildren have brought the issue to the dinner table conversation, partly because they have such discussions in their classes at School.” (In Singapore)
“I worry about the world we are leaving to my son’s generation, but it never occurred to me not to be open and honest about the scientific aspects of the problem … The reality is his generation will have to solve the problem we and our recent ancestors created.”
“I want my young ones to know I was paying attention, observing and informing myself … being willing to face the challenges of questioning our choices … Asking and exploring what IS sustainable. I want them to know I took steps I knew to take. … Can I survive with fewer things? … Can I cultivate a vision of what life on this planet COULD be. … I want them to know I pulled the weeds of my fears, doubts and insecurities.”
“While I take the problem very seriously I would never tell my grandchildren that, along with the rest of us, they are doomed.”
I hope some of these responses stirred your imagination. I recently made trips to Chicago and Tulsa. In both places climate change was an important topic of conversation. Whether those with whom I talked are ready to face the financial risks in doing anything about it, remains a mystery. This is particularly true in Oklahoma, which depends on oil profits, and harbors the Senate’s number one climate change denier.