The planet is changing. Fast. From a human perspective you could even say the Earth is dying. But of course, switching to a hot state where the tropical forests and coral reefs disappear and sub-tropical plants are once again found around the poles, doesn’t mean the death of a planet, just the decline of human civilization.
While many of us still want to believe that we can redirect society towards a sustainable path and devote much of our life energy toward this, realistically we have locked ourselves into a fossil fuel future that would take a global revolution to stop. Odds aren’t likely that that will happen. So the odds are high that within our lifetimes and certainly in our children’s lifetimes the Earth will be in a radically different state than it is now.
Large parts of the world will be in a state of drought, flooding, affected by new diseases, by lack of pollinators and numerous other side effects of runaway climate change and other ecological burdens we have pushed on the planet. With changes coming so fast, what percentage of the human population will survive? Probably not a very large one. And certainly a smaller percentage than we’d like. Recognizing that, how should we raise children to survive this ecological transition? Is raising them to play team sports and piano really the best way to focus their childhood? Or worse, do we let them watch 4 hours of TV a day like the average American?
Or better: do we give them the skills they’ll need to stop the ecocide or at least survive the ecological transition. Do we provide them with a strong environmental awareness, a deep ecocentric philosophy, and training in basic skills: foraging, community organizing, and martial arts? Perhaps with this knowledge base, the odds our kids are part of the lucky percentage that survives will increase. And maybe, if we’re very lucky parents, they’ll even help humanity rediscover its innate dependence on the planet and help create a new ecocentric civilization from the ashes of this failed consumer culture.
This blog is my attempt to traverse an array of these challenges as I raise my own son. From things as banal as how to cook healthy, sustainable baby food to how to teach survival skills, to how to discuss mortality and suffering, and even the morality and strategic value of direct resistance (probably in about 13 years from now). Right now, though, as he’s just one, we have yet to broach much more than the basics. Over the years, I hope to invite other voices into this space to hear how other ecowarrior-parents are grappling with these challenges.