The Severest Cut Of The Climate Crisis
The Concession to Climate Change I Will Not Make; I’ve never thought we should stop having children. But I will have to teach our son to wonder at the world before he learns to fear for it.
Jedediah Britton-Purdy, January 6, 2020 (The Atlantic)
This is beautiful essay, briefed here for the internet sensibility, should be read in full.
Our first child was born at the end of August. I am not a young parent; I was born in 1974, and in the span of this one generation, global carbon levels rose by nearly twice as much as in all of human history before…As an American, he can expect to emit 16 metric tons of carbon a year, compared with five for a French newborn and about two for a baby in India or Indonesia. Unless he’s a saintly hermit, he’ll have little personal choice about that carbon load. Most of it is dictated by the roads, engines, and sources of energy that will keep him cool or warm, provide his food, and move him around. He can’t opt out of these systems without opting out of human life as we live it now…[But] I will need a way to explain that climate change is destroying habitats, acidifying the oceans, and making large parts of the planet’s land uninhabitable for people…
…[Though a professor of environmental law,] I have never been tempted to think we should all stop having children…[but] I ask myself every day is how to explain [the coming] suffering world to a newcomer… I think about trying to teach him love and wonder first, before he inevitably learns fear…When the thought of climate doom arrives, I hope it will arrive in a mind already prepared by curiosity and pleasure to know why this world is worth fighting to preserve…Love for half-broken things and places is what he will have to practice, like all of us…[But] most human lives have begun under threat, from war, exploitation, disease, starvation, or storm and drought. Our moment is radically exceptional in that a few hundred million people have been able to imagine real safety as the normal background of human life…[T]o preserve and extend it, we have to be willing to go on without its assurance. The only alternative to giving up on humanity is to have children whom we cannot keep as safe as we would wish…” click here for more