Stop telling kids that climate change will kill them.

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Stop telling kids that climate change will kill them.

Stop telling kids that climate change will kill them.Many young people believe that their futures are in jeopardy. We must get past doomsday scena

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Stop telling kids that climate change will kill them.

Many young people believe that their futures are in jeopardy. We must get past doomsday scenarios if we are to make action on climate change. Is climate change humanity’s greatest threat? Many individuals believe this. Young people, in particular, are disillusioned. In a recent poll, 10,000 16- to 25-year-olds from ten nations were asked about their views on climate change. The outcomes were unfavorable. More than half of respondents said “humanity was doomed”; three-quarters said the future was terrifying; 55 percent said they would have fewer opportunities than their parents; 52 percent said family security would be jeopardised; and 39 percent said they would be hesitant to have children as a result. From the United States and the United Kingdom to Brazil, the Philippines, India, and Nigeria, these opinions were consistent across rich and poor, large and small countries.

It’s very reasonable for young people to feel this way. I’ve been there before. Much of my current work focuses on climate change research, writing, and thinking. But it’s a field I was on the verge of abandoning. It was difficult for me to comprehend how I could contribute anything after graduating from university with a degree in environmental science and climate change. I alternated between being angry and feeling hopeless. Any attempt seemed fruitless, and I was on the verge of giving up. Fortunately, my viewpoint evolved. I’m glad that worked out. Not only did I keep working on climate change, but I’m confident that my efforts had many times the good influence they would have had if I’d stayed in my old mindset. And it is for this reason that I am certain that if we are to make progress on climate change, we must shed our pessimism.

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Let’s be clear: one of the most serious issues we face is climate change. It comes with a slew of risks—some known, others unknown—and we’re nowhere near reducing emissions quickly enough. However, there appears to be a breakdown in communication about what our future holds. None of the climate scientists I know and trust—who, without a doubt, are better informed about the hazards than virtually anyone—seems resigned to a future of oblivion. The majority of them are parents with children. They frequently have multiple. There are also children. Having children is no longer an inherent condition for making logical decisions. It does, however, indicate that people who spend their days researching climate change are hopeful that their children will have a life worth living.

That is why I am concerned that the majority of today’s youth believe they have no future. As a result, many people may decide not to have children. This mindset is reflected in survey results, but it also matches my personal experience. I’m in my twenties, and I often hear it from pals. The question of whether or not to bring children into a world on the verge of extinction is real. Before the German elections, a group of young activists gave one of the most recent and disturbing examples of this doomsday thinking. The group, known as the Last Generation, went on a nearly month-long hunger strike. Several people were sent to the hospital. One of his parents and friends warned him that he might never see him again. Another informed a reporter that the hunger was “nothing compared to what we can expect in 20 years when the climate problem unleashes a famine here in Europe.” I couldn’t figure out where this assertion came from. Scientists aren’t among them. This allegation has been refuted by no trustworthy sources. Agriculture will be impacted by climate change.

This is a serious source of concern in some areas, particularly in some of the world’s poorest countries. That’s why I devote so much of my time to it. Famine in temperate Europe, on the other hand? Within the next 20 years? This doomsday scenario has become widespread in a couple of ways, in my opinion. To begin with, you don’t have to look far to discover people with enormous platforms who are spreading these messages. Take, for example, Roger Hallam, the creator of the Extinction Rebellion movement. He claims that the annihilation has already occurred. The worst part about this message is that, rather than motivating us to take action, it convinces us that we are already too late. There’s nothing we can do now. It’s easy to dismiss Hallam as a lone wolf, but he’s also the founder of one of the world’s most influential environmental movements. A movement whose name is based on the idea that we’re on the verge of extinction. This is not in accordance with science, and scientists should make this clearer.

The second issue is a misalignment of targets and thresholds. The 1.5 degree Celsius target was included in the Paris Agreement in recognition of the fact that 2 degrees Celsius of warming will endanger the livelihoods of some communities, particularly those on low-lying islands. It was a rallying cry for more ambition. However, the chances of us meeting the 1.5 degree C target were as slim then as they are now. In the models, it’s possible, but in reality, it’s impossible. The difficulty is that many people now consider 1.5 degrees Celsius to be a tipping point. The game is over once we hit it. Given that we will most definitely reach 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next several decades, it’s not surprise that many people fear we’re too late. Third, because of the near-real-time updates, we are constantly assaulted with information on the current calamity. These stories are important, but they don’t provide a whole picture of how disaster frequency and consequences are evolving over time. In fact, they provide us a distorted viewpoint.

The statistics, on the other hand, offers a different story: Over the last century, disaster-related deaths have decreased dramatically. This isn’t because climate change has no effect on disaster intensity. We’re just a lot tougher when it comes to them. We now have better tools for predicting storms, wildfires, and floods, as well as infrastructure to protect ourselves and networks to collaborate and recover in the event of a disaster. Following the news, we rapidly come to the opposite conclusion: calamities are killing more people than ever before. The frequency of stories is used by certain media sites as a gauge of progress. Every three hours, The Guardian publishes a new climate piece. At that rate, the most of these pieces will be about the current disaster. It’s a feed that makes you feel anxious.

When you combine these messages with the tardy and ineffective climate action so far, it’s no surprise that so many people believe mankind is doomed. However, this pessimism is problematic for a number of reasons. To begin with, it comes at the expense of mental wellness. The cost of this should not be underestimated. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re shouting into the void and no one is hearing you. It’s for this reason that I find it disturbing that it’s now permissible to inform children that they will die as a result of climate change. It’s not just a bad thing to tell our children, but it’s also untrue for the vast majority of them. Second, apocalypse scenarios play into climate deniers’ hands. When the world does not end in ten years, climate science as a whole suffers. People mistakenly believe this message originated from scientists, which it did not, and their reputation suffers as a result. The public has lost faith in them. This is ideal for those who wish to prevent us from acting.

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Finally, I’m not certain that this mindset is useful in motivating change. It frequently makes us feel as if any effort we make is in vain. We’ve already run out of time. Anger can be effective in igniting action for a brief amount of time. However, it can sometimes come at the expense of rational thought about how we can genuinely grow. And once anger turns to despondency, we find it difficult to accomplish anything. Denial is no better than hopelessness.

Are there any indicators that climate change can be viewed as a positive? I’m not going to sugarcoat it and pretend we’re on track to meet our goals. We aren’t. We’re progressing at a glacial pace. However, things are now moving—and at a faster rate. Politicians may be sluggish, but technology advancements are not. In many countries, coal is essentially extinct. The cost of renewable energy is steadily decreasing. In the last decade, the cost of solar has dropped by 89 percent. The amount of onshore wind has decreased by 70%. They are presently less expensive than coal and natural gas. We’ll need a lot of energy storage to make this transformation. There’s also some good news: battery prices have dropped by 97 percent in the last 30 years. A Tesla car battery would have cost more than half a million pounds in the 1990s. It’s currently worth roughly $13,000. Even individuals who are unconcerned about climate change will make these changes since it is cost-effective.

We might be gloomy because governments take such a long time to act, and low-carbon technology have been up against pressure from fossil fuel companies. However, it makes me feel upbeat. Consider how quickly things could change if we could make this progress without any meaningful governmental or financial assistance. Instead of fighting against a headwind, we now have the wind at our backs. For climate change, we need a new message. One that motivates action by believing that things can get better. Alternatively, we may rename this optimism as reality, based on indicators that things are improving. This would be far more effective at bringing about real change while also saving a lot of mental anguish. It’s past time to stop telling our children that climate change will kill them. It’s not only harsh, but it may actually increase the chances of it happening.


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