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Climate Change: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare?

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Climate Change: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare?

By Sarene Marshall, The Nature Conservancy

As if parenting weren’t difficult enough, our warming planet presents additional challenges for keeping kids safe and healthy – and parents sane. Why? Quite simply, it makes it harder to reliably get kids outside. As my fellow parents know well, keeping kids cooped up in the house is a recipe for disaster.

Toddlers only have two speeds – “running fast” or “fast asleep.” Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather see them running in a park than around the kitchen table. School-aged kids also need plenty of fresh air and exercise to burn off energy. And studies have shown that contact with nature may improve kids’ ability to focus and concentrate, providing a good antidote for excessive screen time. When our daughters – 6 and 8 – get testy with each other after too much time around the house, I employ the tried-and-true technique of sending them outside.

But increasingly, getting kids away from electronics and out into nature can be stymied by weather disruptions. Summers are getting hotter, storms are getting wetter, and seasons are being thrown out of whack, with extreme events projected to occur more frequently in the future.

That’s because carbon pollution is not only warming the Earth, but also increasing erratic and weird weather. And we parents will feel the effects all year long.

While average temperature increases may seem small (the Earth has warmed 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit since the early 20th Century), the big fluctuations are difficult to manage around. Our lives – from school schedules to sports to crop cycles – are built around expected “normals,” and large shifts from those normals are incredibly disruptive, especially for kids who thrive on routines.

How might these changes impact us and our kids?

[Image: A casualty of summer heat. Credit: Flickr user Neil Fitzgerald, via a Creative Commons license.]

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1:44AM PDT on Nov 1, 2014

Thank you!

12:34PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012


7:04AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012


6:35AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Children really do need the outdoors but in 100 degree heat with high humidity it is sometimes impossibe. Even the TV tells us to stay inside.

10:31PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Children really do need to be outdoors more. They should only be indoors when the sun peaks. They need to develop all their muscle and motor skills. How can they do this if they spend too much time in front of electronics? We used to climb trees all the time and had so much fun doing it. It also makes you think as one has to consider the best branch to use to get to the top and back down!

8:46PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Jeremy, What we must do in the very NEAR FUTURE, is teach the deployment of a Tyvec Suit. that by which is our sole remaining barrier against the sun, and manmade pollutants.

I,for one, have a difficult time following the party line...Relax, we shall get to it. Those words were written at the turn of the century...the 20th century. Thomas Edison was running around at the time. You get it, Game Over and all the while, the devil was over there in the corner just laughing

6:18PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

3:29PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Im so frightened for my childrens children (when they have them) and what world they will be inheriting! How will we ever explain to them what we've done? Thanks

12:10PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Why worry about the inevitable? Instead, do something about it. No, do not race outside to your dieing lawn, due to water restrictions, Vote, and sign petitions against the politicians who are favoring the climate change sources, and do something about the way you and your family promote it. I know, great advice from an old man living on a Pacific Ocean Island, and yet just by doing that one thing, I am actively supporting the environment. Think it over.

12:07PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

All the various components of this problem, which seems so complicated, are immediately solved once each individual "gets it" and starts genuinely RESPECTING MOTHER EARTH.. . . whatever that means to each person. . . it is the energy behind 'respecting' that is important and each one has to do it for one's Self . . .doesn't mean blaming or watching what some one else is doing, just turn inward and focus on one's Self. . .we can not hurt what we Respect, which is LOVE . . . we are all a part of Mother Earth so this respect starts with our Self and spreads outward. . .
Recognizing the very simple concept of CAUSE AND EFFECT is also a good step. . . I am responsible for my environment. . . I created these changes that are UNCOMFORTABLE to say the least. . and I am grateful for that as it will help me to change my wasteful ways, my addiction to comfort and rigidity and addictions. . . So let's get with it people - we are IN IT now, right now to each of us and we can do what is necessary to change - stay positive and be RESPECTFUL. . . your own comfort at the expense of Mother EARTH by turning up the a/c??? NO this is what is causing the reaction. . . so very very clear.....waking up in love and visualizing the same for all. . .

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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