Children, anxiety, and global warming
I found this post over on the Climate Ark blog.
My 8-year-old daughter has just come running to me in a flood of tears. Why? Because she thinks the world is going to end sometime soon and it’s the fault of me and, to a lesser extent, my generation. That’s why. Why does she think that? Because she takes it for gospel that over bearing boffins like yourself know more than ordinary folk like me. Does it make you feel good? Making an eight-year-old girl with a mouth brace bawl her little eyes out?
I really empathized with this father. There’s more:
Centuries ago wasn’t it scientists who were worshiping the sun as a God? Wasn’t it scientists who thought the world was flat? And wasn’t it a scientist who invented the nuclear bomb? Hell, before Newton came along not one single scientist could work out what gravity was. I’m a salesman, have been for 20 years. think you union guys are smarter than me, do you?
Listen, I sell to put food on the table. Give me some shit and I’ll sell it. If I don’t sell I get fired. Simple as that. The pressure is on me every week. Yet, the wife has a direct debit with you scientists at the cancer charity and I’ll confess it rankles with me. Everyday you scientists go to work in your white coat sand fiddle about with a few test tubes and at the end of every day, every week and every month you shrug your shoulders and say, “nope, we still ain’t found a cure.” But you still get paid. That’s one tough gig! Win or lose you still get paid a fancy salary, you get to comp those expensive lunches and with your other ‘concerned’ scientists. My wife pays for that.
Let me tell you something about global warming. We’re enjoying unseasonally fine weather. So what if a bit of the North pole drops off? Sounds like a pretty good bargain to me. Besides, in a few thousand years the likelihood is we’ll be dead by then so who really gives a crap if the world has fried by then? Besides, we’ll be living in apartments in Pluto by then. Luckily I sat my little girl down and articulated this to her and now she’s stopped her babbling.
I think you ought to quit you scaremongering tactics and stop frightening the wits out of little girls like my Roxanne.
We all have our limits, and this blue-collar father, an average Joe, has understandably reached his.
I was a little tentative when Aunt Martha volunteered to take my daughter to see An Inconvenient Truth. I was not sure at all it was the kind of film children should see. I let my kids watch Jurassic Park when they were little without a care. I explained to them beforehand that it was pretend and they took their father’s word for it. I couldn’t say that this time. I pulled my sister-in-law aside as they were going out the door and asked her to watch for signs of anxiety or fear in her niece and to be sure to answer any questions in a most reassuring manner.
My daughter was fine, but she does not want to talk about the film. She has moved it to the back of her mind and I think that is a good thing. My wife does not want to talk about unsettling things like global warming either, and I don’t really blame her. We all have different ways of coping with life. They are called coping mechanisms, and you really can’t change them. I have an annoying tendency (at least to my wife) to expect the worse and prepare for it. She expects the best and when it doesn’t happen, deals with it then. Both methods seem to work, and by joining forces in a marriage, we get a kind of redundancy. Most people out there are never going to face global warming head-on, and we need to accept that.
We should expect an epidemic of anxiety disorders among children if this global warming thing isn’t handled properly by parents and teachers. One easy way to deal with it is to tell your kids it is all a bunch of crap and not to worry about it, as the father who wrote that letter did. Myself, I told her that everything will be fine and not to worry about it. We will find better ways to make electricity and fuel our cars, our Prius being a reassuring example. My message was not that different, really, and hopefully not a load of crap.
I was also disappointed by the caustic responses by some environmentalists — I am guessing those without children, who couldn’t empathize with this father’s plight.