With permission from the author, who is a new and dear friend of mine, I would like to share this thoughtful opinion piece about what it is like for a parent raising children in a world on the precipice of destruction.
For those who have never heard of Near-Term Human Extinction, it is a theory that espouses that abrupt climate change is imminent due to a backlog of the effects of greenhouse gases as well as a variety of feedback loops that will suddenly shift the balance of what we expect as normal climate. There are also a variety of other ways that extinction can be anticipated, and you can find a whole host of information on the subject here.
Thanks to Luzia for writing this and for meditating with me and sharing a loving energetic space. Reaching out and connecting with others, especially online, is not something to fear or be ashamed of – we have this incredible tool for connection and it is a blessing to see it be used for sharing our thoughts, fears, and joys in a supportive atmosphere. Join us in cultivating this joyous atmosphere in your own social networks.
COPING AS A PARENT IN THE FACE OF NTHE
I’ve been thinking of parents. How people like myself, who have kids and are aware of the the NTHE, may feel, how they can cope… It is a difficult one. They may feel guilty and hurt, because they brought their children here, to a collapsing world, and also because the children themselves are a contribution to the destruction… They must feel horrible about their children’s death… I just wanted to share how I coped, in case it helps others.
The guilt/pain about the children’s death is difficult. One thing I did for myself it was not to stop myself from expressing the pain. I cried many times and I cry every time I need. Crying out there in nature is the most healing way of doing it, if possible.
Another thing that worked for me was to see how relative things are: i.e. some Syrians and many others are currently seeing their children die, literally; so the ones who have been seeing our children grow happy and sound should appreciate our luck. And, after all, catastrophes aren’t new in history, so it could have happen anyway, any time… It is stupid and deluded to assume it cannot happen to us.
Also, I think people need to face death as it is: a natural phenomenon. Guy [McPherson, talks about this and he’s so right! But people has grown so separated from everything, that we fear death as if it wasn’t part of life. For me, to teach my child that death is natural and to let him know, understand, and accept that it may happen anytime, has been crucial. Because he is aware and calm about it, I can expect it with a better spirit. Even very little children can understand this. We grossly underestimate their ability to understand! I say this categorically, we are the stupid ones, thinking that they don’t understand. Separating them from death is not good for them, ever. Hamsters, fishes, grandparents, even parents, they die. This is a good way of helping children to live in any case. They don’t need cats to go to cat’s heaven or go to some other place to accept death, they only need to know that it happens to all living things. My mother taugh me this.
Teaching kids this can prepare them and also give parents some peace of mind. After all, it isn’t about how long we are here, but about how good our life is. The most important thing in their lives (like in our lives) is, I think, love. So, if we love them well, I don’t think any of this matters so much…
Also, as Guy says, I believe that they have a right to know. But that’s a tricky one, and surely is not right just go tell them with no preparation. They need to come to terms with death first; they need to understand what nature is, what Earth is, and what we are doing to it. They may need to understand that we live in a destructive society, but that’s not all what it is about us, humans, as we are also loving beings, full of compassion and rejecting of injustice… I believe that they will be more prepared to accept their own future when they understand its context. Understanding is key for humans, I believe. This can be done according to age, but I’d listen to the child rather than assume that they are too young or they will get traumatized by reality. They don’t, if we are there to explain and support and love them.
My son is 14 and he doesn’t really believe me… Maybe this is his way of coping, maybe the healthiest attitude… Still, he assumes that death is part of life and that I may be right, he just don’t want to think about it now. Which is probably, for him, the right thing to do. I respect that.
While we are well, I do what I can so we both have chances of being close to nature (real, alive forest) before the end. Connecting. Sharing. Loving. Living in the present. I’ll do this with him to the end, as much as I can.