Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why don’t we Care More about our Children?

In all President Obama’s recent pronouncements about climate change, he has couched his call for action in a concern for future generations. 

“But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”
- State of the Union Address (February 12, 2013)

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
-  Inaugural Address (January 21, 2013)

"We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet."
- Acceptance speech (November 7, 2013)

And, Obama’s not the only public figure saying it. In January, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that “If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak.”  

So why doesn’t this argument sway more Americans to favor swift and strong action?  Why aren’t all of us parents and grandparents demanding it?  My kids will be in their 40s in 2050, and their kids would be very likely to live beyond 2100 (but that's less clear in a world devastated by climate change).  I would expect that a lot more Americans my age and older would start to see climate change as an issue that really affects us personally. Why don’t we?  And what can be done to change this apparent lack of consideration for our own children and grandchildren?

- Lesley McAllister

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Good post, I totally children were why I got deeply into environmental and then climate issues early on, and in all my classes and conference speaking gigs, I always tell young people that regardless of their occupations or interests, climate change and energy issues are going to be center stage like it or get educated. However, that does not answer your question of why it does not resonate more with people--and I don't have a ready answer, other than the usual about how climate change is not felt by people as directly as toxics in the local water supply or on is "invisible" and diffuse. I analogize it to the national debt some people say is dooming our youth--maybe so, but I call climate change a carbon debt that can never be set even (unlike the money debt) given CO2 lasting hundreds or more years....Jeff Thaler

Posted by: Jeff Thaler | Mar 9, 2013 7:40:06 AM

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