I have an eight-year-old daughter who’s in the third grade, very mature and self-possessed. Recently, however, she’s begun to show a lot of anxiety because of climate change. This is a big topic of conversation in school. The teachers try and be as open and informative as possible, but of course kids get scared when they hear the news and when they live in an area where there are frequent storms and flooding (as we do). My daughter hears about animals becoming extinct and wonders if that will happen to humans, too. She wonders why we use fossil fuels and why her father still enjoys a nice thick steak. She wonders what will happen to her when she’s an adult — will there be places to live that aren’t too hot? Will there be enough food and water? Will the environment be safe enough for her to have her own children? And why do we have a president who denies what even a child can see and seems intent on helping destroy the planet? These are only some of her many questions. Please, dear Knowles, can you help me answer them?
All the best,
Mother of a Child Freaked by Climate Change
What can you tell your child? Indeed, what can any of us tell our children? The fact is our planet is changing and not all governments are taking precautions necessary to protect their citizens. So, we do our best on an individual level: recycle garbage, use solar power, moderate our diets by eating more veggies, less meat, try go places on foot or bicycle rather than depend so much on cars, etc. A child can understand and work hard on that part of it. More difficult to explain is an unmanageable and refractory president such as our current one. You could tell your daughter it’s a blip and leave it at that, hoping we’ll get rid of #45 in the next election. You can also explain that the planet has gone through heating and cooling phases throughout its 4.5 billion years of existence. Humans have no doubt added to the problem through their use of fossil fuels — but we’re working on that now. With awareness comes change and I’m convinced that we will come up with new strategies to deal with changes on our planet. Tell your daughter that. Tell her she’s part of a brave new generation that will learn to live with adversity and bad weather events but will also be part of the solution that allows us — and all species — to continue in our evolution on this beautiful green earth.
REACTIONS TO LOVE MY DOG
Dear Love My Dog,
Shit man, if my wife were like that with my dog, I’d be out of there and I’d take the kids with me, too. Sounds like she’s a big snob with an anger management problem. Maybe go see a therapist like Knowles advises. But maybe also go see a lawyer.
Roger S., Duluth, MI
Dear Love My Dog,
Well, shoot me but I kind of understand not wanting a big smelly dog in the house. A sweet little one, okay; but dirty paw prints all over the carpet, oh no, I don’t think so. So, I’m with the wife: a one-dog-only policy and a small manageable one at that.
Sarah W., Hartford, CT
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.