3 Reasons Climate Change Makes Parenting Harder

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FDR quote about parenting children

Written by Julie Hantman.

Climate change is harming our kids’ health and their futures. It also complicates parenting.

My daughter is a toddler. While I haven’t had to explain climate change to her yet—no super-storm has touched down here in Washington, DC where we live—most days I feel like climate change already has handed me a tougher job description than I expected when I decided to become a mom.

Here are 3 ways climate change makes my parenting job tougher than I’d imagined:

1. My job as teacher.

Like any parent, I yearn to teach my child about the world around her. Animal pictures and stories fill my daughter’s bookshelf. Yet, climate change will push some animal species to extinction.

2. My job as protector.

I put sunscreen on my daughter before she leaves the house. Her father and I protect and provide for her. Yet down the road, and possibly even before she leaves the house for good, my family may face far bigger threats than we’ve known—extreme weather catastrophes, food shortages, epidemics.

3. My job as Reassurer-in-Chief.

A child desperately needs a sense of hope. My mother used to tell me things would be okay. Her voice still resonates and soothes me in turbulent times. With our climate changing so rapidly, how can I reassure my daughter that the future will be bright, her horizons will broaden, and the world will be improved?
When a new job turns out harder than you thought, one option is to leave. Not an option for parents.
A second option is to seek help from others. Who is offering parents help to adjust to climate change? We’ll have to figure this one out ourselves. One thing I know—I won’t be building a fortress filled with supplies for hunkering down. That’s not how I roll.

How I roll is building community. In a community, parents can find comfort—and we can act together—side by side.

A parent’s job is already tough—now it seems poised to become immeasurably tougher. That makes for another good reason for moms and dads to come together and support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) historic announcement to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Unfortunately, some lawmakers are now doing everything in their power to undermine the EPA regulation.

Our nation has 33 million households with children under 18. That’s a lot of parents. Parents are strong, compassionate, and focused on the future.


Listen to this Green Divas Radio Show, featuring Greg Laden, science communicator and bioanthropologist, who talks about extreme weather patterns and how climate change is impacting us, the environment and wildlife, and why we need to pay attention.

Conscious Parenting, Earth News, Environment, GD Ticker, sustainability

About the author / 

Moms Clean Air Force

Moms Clean Air Force is a national movement of more than 100,000 moms—and dads too!—who are protecting our children’s right to clean air—just as our parents fought for us, forty years ago, when the Clean Air Act was first passed. Moms Clean Air Force—a special project of the Environmental Defense Fund—is here to tell Washington: Listen to your moms. We share the air—and we want it clean.

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