I’ve just finished reading Britt Wray’s book ‘Generation Dread‘ on how to cope with the emotions that knowledge of the climate crisis stirs up, and how to channel them into action without burning out. I highly recommend reading it, especially as a follow on from Matt Winnings book Hot Mess which somehow manages to be a very funny overview of the facts on climate change, and so is a good review/primer before then finding out how to deal with knowing said facts in Generation Dread.
In both books the authors write about their internal debates and fears as to whether or not to have children given what they know about our current state of climate emergency. I struggled similarly when trying to decide whether or not to have a second child and I wrote about it here. Ultimately, (SPOILER ALERT) both the authors and I did decide to go ahead and I don’t regret my decision, but despite obviously feeling terribly invested in their future (and mine for that matter) and wanting to fight for it and do what I can to make it a good one, I’m mainly just being hit by a bus when it comes to our daily routine:
Ok, so it’s not everyday that Isabel has to stay home from creche, and sometimes like today when she’s well and I’m on top of the housework I do have some time to myself to draw and write, but with Covid now in the mix parenting has just gotten tougher.
Even with me not working and being on hand to look after the kids when they are ill or when there are school or creche closures, with the daily grind of parenting the only thing I have energy for is blearily watching an hour of TV before heading to bed. I feel too overwhelmed to fight for systemic change and go any further than we already have to change our lifestyle and routine to cut our carbon footprint (see my blog post here where I quite enthusiastically made lists of all the next steps we need to make that 6 months later I haven’t yet managed to put into action).
At the same with the double whammy of long covid and climate change to worry about when it comes to thinking about the VERY NEAR future I find it’s getting harder to keep my feelings about both crises’ under wraps:
Which in turn is making it harder to NOT act, and not start screaming when someone tells me about the summer holiday flights they have planned. Someone near to our daughter’s creche has bought a massive pick up truck and every time I walk past it I am fighting the urge to puncture its tires.
I feel paralyzed knowing all the huge changes I need to make to my life at the same time as dealing with the kids and not having very much time at all to deal with anything. It feels so urgent to act and yet the immediate problems of what to make for dinner that both kids will eat, and how much washing there is to do always take precedence. I also know having read Generation Dread that I need to set up a climate coffee morning or talk to somebody about the anxiety I feel about the future and process the grief I have for the things we are losing everyday that goes by that we don’t act (biodiversity, summer temperatures that aren’t stifling, the possibility of grandchildren) and not just rant on here, but aargh that also feels like pressure on time I don’t have!
I hope the authors are managing better than I am and are able to continue their work in climate with a small child in the mix.