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Find out parents' thoughts on the Climate Emergency

(307 Posts)
JustineBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 27-Jan-20 11:26:17

This thread is now closed

With a rise in extraordinary weather events around the world and activists like Greta Thunberg in the public eye, more people than ever before are engaging with and are worried about climate change. Following the launch of the “Portraits from the Precipice” campaign - which places art that inspires action on climate change on digital billboards across the country - we’d like to hear your thoughts on the Climate Emergency.

Here's what Octopus Energy – the green energy supplier behind Portraits from the Precipice – has to say: “With climate experts giving humanity 10 years to slow rising global temperatures, the time to take action for the planet is now. We all have a crucial role to play in combating the climate emergency.

Whether it be to switch to a renewable energy company, to buy an electric vehicle or even to just make small dietary changes or reduce the amount of plastic waste in your home… acknowledging the problem is just step one, we now need to act.”

Thinking of the Climate Emergency, what are your biggest concerns, if any, for yours and your children’s future? Are there any small things your family does to try and help? What would you recommend as being the most effective change people can make in helping the fight against Climate Change?

How aware are your children of the Climate Emergency? How do you talk to them about it? Do you think schools are doing enough to educate children on the Climate Emergency?

All who share their thoughts on the Climate Emergency on the thread below will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list and provided by Mumsnet). Octopus Energy will also donate £300 to a charity fighting climate change, of the winner’s choice.

Thanks and good luck!


Insight Terms and Conditions apply

PorridgeAgainAbney Mon 27-Jan-20 15:32:10

To be honest I am terrified and angry and feel totally helpless about it all. I'm sick of hearing people at work going on about not using straws or clingfilm but then telling all about a cheap flight they bagged for a weekend away and all the tat and clothes they bought for it. hmm.

I'm not this pessimistic in front of DS as he is too young to be burdened with too much of it, but they learn about it at school and we made a poster of small changes a year ago that we stick to: no driving short journeys, booking train trips in advance so they work out cheaper than the car, less meat/fish, keep bird feeders topped up, no plastic or man-made (or new) stuff where possible, eco-friendly cleaning stuff. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it when you read about the lack of action in business and governments though.

BristolMum96 Mon 27-Jan-20 16:01:29

To be honest the thing about climate emergency that scares me for my childs future is that its already too late.

Jillyhilly Mon 27-Jan-20 16:12:36

Any combination of the phrases “climate emergency”, “Greta Thunberg” and “10 years to slow rising global temperatures” are enough to stop me reading any further because my eyes just rolled way back into my head.

picklemeCleg Mon 27-Jan-20 16:34:28

I worry about this.

We need a cultural shift away from things, and for products to be ethically developed.

Small changes- wear slippers and a cardi inside, don't turn up the heating!
Use things up- find a way of making things you have bought work for you.
Manage without. Things like cling film, sandwich bags, tin foil just aren't needed. Bigger things- can you manage without? Do you need it, or just want it?

midgebabe Mon 27-Jan-20 17:20:21

I am worried, primarily for my children and also for people around the world whose lives are already being made harder by climate change

In the uk, I think we will see more floods, more heatwaves, more diseases , more migrants, more expensive food, less land

What do I do?
Significantly reduced meat and dairy consumption. Eat a little more seasonally.
Keep the house cool, well insulated, didn't buy a bigger house, use jumpers and throws
Careful with travel...use public transport where available (ha ha ha), avoid flying. Won't drive above 60mph
Try to help the company I work for reduce its carbon and energy impact
I only buy to replace broken things beyond repair.

To re jig and old phrase
The economy? It's stupid.

We live in a world where abuse of the planet is rewarded, whilst care for humanity is despised.
I think we could live in a world with rich, fulfilling lives without having such huge carbon footprint

mencken Mon 27-Jan-20 17:40:28

before I spend time and use server energy on this - which stores are on your list please?

EagleVisionSquirrelWork Mon 27-Jan-20 18:13:51

My children probably know more about climate change and the environment than I do. They're all very politically engaged and waste no time setting me straight about my household habits and the changes I should be making. At the moment I'm engaged in an ongoing debate with my eldest about the relative merits of vegan food produced on an industrial scale versus meat produced sustainably. However, what they lack is the context of long-term political and structural change because they're not old enough to have a sense of how the world has changed even over my lifetime, never mind looking further back. I believe passionately that the sustainability deficit in the way we live is to do with wide ranging social structures, such as how families and communities are structured, how we engage with the world of work, and the relationships between work/business/profit/sustainability and that changes in these structures since WW2 are largely responsible for the utter crisis we now find ourselves in. For me, there's no point in tweaking the legislation around, say, single-use plastic, without addressing some of these macro-factors, and I deplore the ridiculous notion that the solutions to climate change lie largely in encouraging individuals to change their daily habits (not that that is a bad thing, of course) when there is so little corporate and government responsibility. I'm an old lefty and it's frustrating how little everyone under 30 seems to understand about a truly left-wing analysis of these (and other) problems. Don't even get me started on the NHS!

Adoptthisdogornot Mon 27-Jan-20 18:13:59

I feel frustrated, because I don't think there's much I can meaningfully do on an individual level. Our government have been completely spineless about the issue, failing to implement any meaningful penalties on companies who don't give a fig, and not incentivising sustainable behaviour nearly enough. Transport is a prime example, its scandolously expensive to use trains, so people drive. Bus networks should be much improved, especially rurally. Electric and hybrid cars are so expensive that people are put off buying them, why doesn't our government subsidise these? Meat and dairy industry ditto, meat should be expensive, but much better quality. Better for our health and the planet, but the government would lose support if cheap chicken weren't available. It all makes me feel helpless.

I don't want our children educated more than they already are. We run the risk of raising a generation of kids with severe anxiety, and bitterness at their parents and grand parents. I don't think it's helpful, it's their parents who need educating.

73kittycat73 Mon 27-Jan-20 19:06:08

I don't understand why the people in power are not doing something about the climate emergency. I do worry about it. I have been agoraphobic for the last 23 years so have hardly used a car/taxi. I've never flown in my life before either (Too poor for holidays as a child, agoraphobic as an adult.) so at least that's something positive about it! I recycle a lot also. I just wish, like Microsoft was it? That more big companies, and government, would do more to act.

73kittycat73 Mon 27-Jan-20 19:08:29

Oh yeah, I've been a veggie for decades too. Don't drink cows milk either (But that's more because it tastes rank. wink grin )

backfarblackcar Mon 27-Jan-20 19:28:00

Absolutely nothing will be done unless more people actively create hell over the inaction. Anyone who has the power does not care or is not willing to lose whatever it is they value for changes to be made. Multiply that thousands of times for all the changes that need to be made. Since I was very young and heard about 'save the whales' and the hole in the ozone layer I've been careful to live without excess. I'm not perfect but I do what I can around getting on with life etc. It will never be enough and makes zero difference. Humanity en masse needs a massive slap on the face and stories on the news and distant predictions aren't enough. It will be too late. People are dumb and like most other mistakes they're only ever understood and regretted with hindsight.

TweetleBeetlesBattle Mon 27-Jan-20 20:24:38

I feel worried and frustrated about it. I despair at the mountains of tat available for sale everywhere and the endless need for it. Why did we all get so greedy and have such a need to own it all immediately.

It enrages me how long it takes to get anything done and how little common sense there is. Why isn't it illegal to have non compostable packaging. Why aren't childrens car seats recyclable. Why are there not massive financial incentives to buy electric cars, ground source heat pumps, have hot bins. Why is Heathrow airport being expanded. Why doesn't deodorant come as a stick in cardboard tubes. Why are shops still selling non recyclable wrapping paper. Why are we buying apples that have been transported from New Zealand instead of those from down the road. Why is there plastic in my teabags. Why dont I have to pay 50p more for a disposable coffee cup. Why don't I have to contribute to a reforestation project in conjunction with booking a flight. Why does nobody in power have the wherewithall to stand up and make these things happen. It's overwhelming and still far too difficult to swim against the tide of destruction we've created for ourselves.

Anita87 Mon 27-Jan-20 20:43:10

My biggest concern is that it is already too late. I try to do little things such avoiding plastic as much as possible, trying to get things second hand where possible, avoiding unnecessary consumption. We have no car and I am vegetarian. My little one is only 4 but I try to raise awareness in him for things like picking up litter on the street, not wasting food, energy, water etc.
I do believe though that this is only a drop on a hot stone and that unless governments and big companies change their procedures climate change will be inevitable.

SideHustle Mon 27-Jan-20 20:53:38

When I was young, I was taught about climate change - it was scary but far away. And now I'm a parent, and the climate crisis is happening - it's horrifying and it won't be far away for very long.

I think that governments, organisations, and companies aren't doing nearly enough, and that they're trying to distract us from this by putting the onus onto us to recycle our way out of the crisis. I do think that recycling is important, but I also think that we need much bigger solutions to the much bigger problems that we face.

OhMeows Mon 27-Jan-20 21:18:35

It's terrifying to think about the future. This is the first year I've found myself really thinking about it. I've always been one to turn the heating up to 11 plus have the floor heater on. This year we've bought a better duvet and slippers and are trying not to have the heating on except an hour here and there.

We've cut down a lot too on buying meat and packaged products.

flyingspaghettimonster Mon 27-Jan-20 21:21:20

My kids talk to me about the climate change crisis. They grt invilved by doing the climate march, my daughter marched with her artwork turned into a sign. She had to take a day of unauthorised absence for it, but to her it was worth it.

They feel like they are helping promote awareness by entering the BowSeat Ocean awareness challenge each year, where kids 11-18 enter art, poetry, prose etc yo bring awareness to the effect of climate change on the oceans.

In a more fundamental level we use cloth bags, reusable bags and are reducing tbe amount of material possessions we buy. We buy second hand things where we can.

If anyone's kids are struggling with the fears of the future of climate crisis, they should consider entering the ocean awareness conntest this year. The theme is Hope in Climate Change and focusses.more on positive news. It helps because the topic can really overwhelm our kids.

OnTheEdgeOfTheNight Mon 27-Jan-20 21:22:48

As a parent of young children, I think schools and nurseries must be sensitive about the message they give for large issues that don't have a simple solution, and are outwith the children's control or influence. My own children have at times been very upset with information that I don't consider to be age-appropriate.

We do what we can at home, like most families. We nurture a love of nature, cut down on the unnecessary consumption, buy from charity shops, grow some food, cut down on waste, compost... We also talk about ideas to help the environment - choosing plants that provide birds and insects with food, thinking of useful inventions (budding scientists and engineers).

I think it's important that large companies are held to account - for example food packaging - it's not enough to expect consumers to choose at the point of sale, we need wholesale revision of ingredients and packaging upstream.

Titective Mon 27-Jan-20 21:31:11

My Y2 DD is educated at school and has prompted behaviour change in me by asking me why I was doing something rather than something else. Genuinely it had never occurred to me so I was impressed with what they were teaching her.

Leeds2 Mon 27-Jan-20 22:16:44

I am trying to make small changes, such as reusable water bottles/coffee cups/shopping bags/straws. I take my own reusable bags to the supermarket to put fruit and veg in, and Tupperware containers for the butcher and fishmonger.
I try and walk more, and regularly use public transport instead of the car.
I am trying to reduce the amount of meat I buy.
I take more to the charity shop so that things can hopefully be reused, as well as raising money for the charity. Also cuts down on rubbish.
I try and recycle as much as I can.

MarshaBradyo Mon 27-Jan-20 22:17:04

Biggest concern - that the situation will be worse for them that it is me

Changes - I like the idea of halving that I read on here. Halve consumption, flying, plastic use.

Children are aware: their schools have raised the topic they both seem to have responded well, ie not anxious but aware.

I’d like people and businesses to look at reducing flying and overall consumption, plus plastic pollution most.

MarshaBradyo Mon 27-Jan-20 22:18:10

Oh and government to continue and increase considered changes which have good effect.

OverTheRainbowLiesOz Mon 27-Jan-20 22:30:33

Talking to our global climate change denying older relatives is our biggest challenge. Any tips appreciated.

marnieja Mon 27-Jan-20 22:58:28

Our biggest concerns in our household are obviously the awful impact it's going to have on our resources but also how the government will use it to tax more and more things to
make it seem like our fault for climate change when it is big businesses that need to be held accountable!!

We all are trying to do the small things - no plastic bottles/bags etc and I do think this will make a difference but so much more needs to be done.

It feels like electric vehicles are a huge step in the right direction - my neighbour has one and it costs him something like 2 pound to charge the car in off peak times - Obviously the cars are expensive to buy but will save money and the environment in the long term.

My nieces and nephew are all at secondary school and have got really involved in the protests and extinction rebellion - I do wish that there was more being taught in the curriculum though rather than teenagers having to work out what to listen to and what's true from everything they have read

TheCoolerQueen Tue 28-Jan-20 08:23:25

I think it's too little too late. Governments and the media seem very keen on telling Joe Public what we should be doing but the real change needs to come from the huge businesses, and yes power companies included in that.

My local council says not to put black plastic ie food trays in our recycling boxes because it cannot be recycled. How about banning the production of it then?
Same with the millions of takeaway coffee cups, how is it that no one has invented one that is 100% recyclable?

I used to think people were trying really hard to be greener, then I read a few threads on here, that went into hundreds of posts, where people were insisting they absolutely must travel by airplanes at least twice a year (if not more). Same people very keen to tell you they only buy organic chickens and the next car they will buy will definitely be electric.
So yeah they're extremely concerned about the state of the planet, what they're leaving behind for their children and grandchildren, but if it means not going to Florida this year, then no they won't be giving up their air travel thank you very much.

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