Kindergarteners and Climate Migrants

by | April 19, 2019


Hope you’ve had a great week so far!

Okay, hmmm. Let’s start with…

Kindergarteners and Climate Migrants

Last week I spoke at my neighbor’s kindergarten class (the same room I was in 21 years ago actually – kind of surreal). They were adorable, engaged, and offered up a wide-range of answers on how to take care of the Earth.

Here’s a new one for you: “Don’t pick…grass?” (you know who you are).

I didn’t mention climate change at all, but rather tried to foster an appreciation of our home planet and all life on it. If you’re interested, I read “The Great Kapok Tree”, and shared these two quick video-stories for appreciation and inspiration.

I bring this up because, as I walked out, I couldn’t help but imagine what they might live through if we don’t get our act together. Some of them will live to see 2100.

I can’t imagine what my life may look like for that matter. After all, I’ll see most of what they see if I make it to 100 like I hope to.

But, there’s no need to look out to 2100 – climate change is here now. It has already caused tons of suffering and conflict…I bring up 2100 because there’s a huge difference between a world warmed by 1°C and one that’s 3 to 4 times more than that. A huge difference – it’s more exponential than linear as effects compound.

What both wrenches at my heart and worries me the most are the estimates of how many people will be forced to leave their homes as they lose one or all of the following:

  • Their home
  • Livelihood
  • The ability to grow food
  • Access to clean water

“There are no reliable estimates of climate change induced migration. Future forecasts vary from 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis, with 200 million being the most widely cited estimate. This figure equals the current estimate of international migrants worldwide.” (International Organization for Migration)

To put that in perspective, one billion climate migrants in 2050 would be the equivalent of every single person in North and South America being forced to find a new place to live.

We’re seeing climate migrants already from many places such as Honduras where rural farmers lost over 80% of their crops last year.

(…more on this enormous issue another time.)

One way or the other, the world will be very different by 2050 and even more so by 2100. If we continue on with the status quo, it’s going to be the unimaginably dark kind of different.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

“We can be WHATEVER we have the courage to see.”

You should definitely check this out. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Naomi Klein have laid out a vision of what the next ten years could look like with a Green New Deal. Whether it’s the GND or something else, we need a bold, inclusive vision like this to serve as a North star. The moonshot of our time.

You see, we can’t just be against climate change. We have to also be for something.

When we have something to strive towards and not just away from, we can actually start to make progress because it gives people a clear direction to move in – plus it’s far more inspiring (Think: cleaner air, safer communities, healthier people, and more equality).

So, that being said, I’d love to hear what you think of the vision that is laid out in the video: What do you like about it? What don’t you like? And most importantly, how would you make it stronger?

We need to solve climate change. So if we’re going to shoot down big ideas that would help address it, we need to come up with alternatives to replace them.

And keep in mind, further delay or even taking incremental action at this point is climate denial. It’s just not good enough. It’s not realistic.

Our solutions must be at the scale of the problem we are facing.

Let’s do all we can to not only stop global warming, but to help build the future world we actually want to live in. What do you say?


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