Sorry kids, we ruined the planet

climate change 2

Congratulations mums and dads of 2013, we are the first generation to knowingly screw over our children and grandkids.

Despite everything we know about climate change, we continue to treat it like the Y2K bug or Mayan End of Days – theoretical, distant, someone else’s problem. Those crazy scientists! Where do they come up with these ideas? So what if we get more sunshine and grass grows in the Sahara? Sounds like picnic weather, right?

Unfortunately, climate change is no picnic. And no matter what the climate sceptics say, we need to act now or our children will pay.

A couple of months ago, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million. Climate scientists have described this benchmark as “the point at which we are screwed” (to paraphrase).

The last time this happened, some four million years ago, the climate went all kooky and we ended up in the ice age – and not the cartoon version either.

Before that icy eventuality, our offspring will face significant hardships directly related to our current obsession with big cars and mining wealth.

Rising sea levels will encroach upon coastal communities, meaning millions of people people will lose their homes. Petrol strikes and water scarcity will be regular occurrences, and devastating weather events like bushfire, drought, floods and cyclones will become more frequent. Our kids will have to be vigilant about mosquito-borne diseases and will face food crises as conventional agriculture fails. Wars and starvation are distinct possibilities.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t bear the thought of putting my kids and grandkids through that.

Our moral duty
Leading NASA climate scientist Professor Jim Hansen believes reigning in climate change is as great a moral duty to our generation as abolishing slavery was to the people of that time.

“The situation we’re creating for young people and future generations is that we’re handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control,” he said. “We’re in an emergency: you can see what’s on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction.” Source – The Guardian

So what can we do? If the problem is so big, surely it’s going to take more than carrying a KeepCup and upping your recycling efforts.

Well, yes and no. Yes, we need international action at a government level. According to Australia’s Climate Commission, we need to decarbonise the global economy in the next three decades, which means leaving almost all of our fossil fuels in the ground and finding new ways to charge our iPads. (read the report here)

As an individual, you may feel your contribution is just a drop in a rapidly rising ocean. But it’s not. We are the guardians of future generations and it is up to us to show that we’re ready to make the necessary changes.

Start by changing your attitude – in other words, stop thinking about now, now, now and start focusing on your kids’ future. Children don’t actually need the comfort of a huge 4WD and cupboards stuffed with cheap, unsustainable clothing. What they need is a secure future and that means you need to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint right now.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or even dismissive when people start waving the red flag of climate change, but as parents it is our job to protect our kids from even the slightest chance of danger. Are you willing to accept the risks of climate change, or are you ready to make some real change?

Check out this video for inspiration and stay tuned to Down To Earth Mother for more tips and advice on green living.

photo credit: A. K. Azad via photopin cc


  1. narelle says

    I really feel that this particular video is a bit wishy washy and as adults we can handle the facts not dressed up in animation directed more towards children….
    Have a listen to one of our elders (David Suzuki) tell it how it is – without animation – but with his heart full of love for our children and our planet.
    I feel just as passionately about climate change as I do unethical corporations, climate change diseases our natural earth, which we need to survive. Unethical corporations disease our society, which effects the vibration of how we care for our natural earth.


    Every day make choices and changes that are positive for ourselves and our earth.
    narelle recently posted..Adding the science of alchemy to our diet…..My Profile

  2. Abbie says

    I have found a lot of comfort and hope from the Transition Towns movement – a network and all manner of information, books, ideas etc to help people work together to reduce their impact drastically, regardless of what happens up top – basically, taking matters into our own hands and making the change without waiting for govt to do something about it (because when they do it will be too late – if it isn’t already?)

    • (dt)em says

      Yes! Thanks Abbie for the reminder, I’ve come across Transition Towns in my research. I’m going to find out more x

  3. Susan says

    So frightening, but yes I try and tell myself that even though it feels useless every small green thing I do does help. And the more people that feel and act this way, then bigger changes might start to happen. Fingers crossed. I just wish the governments of the world would spend more money on advertisements to remind people how bad the siutation is and what they can do – can’t they just use money from speeding fines?!

    • (dt)em says

      Our politicians can’t even decide on a leader, let alone communicate any policies, I don’t think the climate is going to get a look-in!

  4. Michelle from Norfolk Exposure says

    I think about this issue daily….and I ask myself… why isn’t everyone else up in arms about it? I feel so helpless and I’m worried for my children. Our family has “green” ideals and some “green” habits….but I’m certain we could do better!

  5. Mother Down Under says

    Great post!
    I am back home in the States on holiday and have been amazed at a) how big the cars are and b) how much STUFF everyone has…most of it cheap plastic.
    I actually just wrote a post about how I am generally frustrated at the price of things in Australia as I know I can buy the same item for much less elsewhere in the world but, thinking about it differently, I am glad that the higher cost prohibits the insane consumption of junk that we just don’t need.
    I get so frustrated that there is no government or corporate responsibility and accountability. They know what they are doing is wrong and is harmful to their citizens and consumers and yet they carry on harming the world.
    I do what I can and I try to mindfully educate others about more sustainable practices but sometimes it just feels so fruitless.
    Mother Down Under recently posted..Maine: Range PondMy Profile

    • (dt)em says

      I’m with you, Mother Down Under – on this blog and in other practical ways, I try to inspire people to at least think about sustainability. But so many times I feel like it’s all pointless and I should start digging a bunker. The main message from the Climate Commission is that we need to stop digging up coal. That’s huge? How on earth can we make it happen?

  6. Lila says

    What I find disappointing are all the people who want the corporations to change but won’t bring that about by taking their business to those corporations trying to do the right thing.
    We are a one (small) car family and walk / use public transport (which is not good where we live). We don’t consume a lot of stuff yet many of the people I see flying the green flag think that activism or more accurately slacktivism is enough.
    People need to start making the change in their own lives and influence the flow on effect.
    Lila recently posted..Living Local – Seeing Local { When the River was low }My Profile


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