4 Childhood Lessons & Climate Change

There is so much complexity in the politics of climate change right now, but as the Copenhagen climate negotiations heat up, I think there are a few simple childhood lessons to review or keep in mind.


Of course, action to stop climate change is not only about the politicians and international treaties. It is also largely about the individual actions, needs and demands of each person these politicians represent.

So, given that you are not likely to be directly involved in the discussions in Copenhagen, these are also for you on an individual level, in all of your individual decisions and purchases. Of course, you can send messages to your politicians asking them to stop climate change, too!

1) Share — we are taught as children that we need to share. As rich countries and poor countries sit together at the tables in Copenhagen, rich countries should keep this inherent life lesson in their minds and use it to make their decisions. If we are going to prevent global climate change, we need to share with poor countries in order for them to develop sustainably and use cutting edge technology. On an individual level, you can also consider donating $20 to a rainforest fund or other worthy cause rather than going to see a film in the theater or buying another shirt or pair of jeans once in awhile. Make the trade.

2) Don’t Be Greedy — again, we have to realize, at some level, that we have more than we need. We, people of the 21st century in developed countries, have FAR more than we need, yet we continue to assume that we need more. Politicians in Copenhagen, and you at home, may need to focus more on finding contentment with less, rather than assuming that individual countries can consume more resources than the world can create — no technology solution is going to solve the problems of greed.

3) Be Kind to Others — as a child, don’t hit, don’t bite, don’t call each other names. As politicians and adults, stop killing (livestock production may cause 51% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide), don’t fight over energy and fuel resources (i.e. develop energy independence rather than fighting wars in the Middle East), and don’t call each other names (this one stays the same). On the individual level, if you don’t use and demand animal products, livestock emissions WILL shrink (and not eating meat is good for you). If you put solar panels on your house, or bike or use transit instead of driving, you automatically help to reduce greenhouse gas emissionsno international treaty is needed for that.

4) Think About the Future — if a child does not want to go to school, it has to understand and a parent may have to explain to her or him that it is for their best interest in the long-run that they go to school. Politically, and individually, we have to realize now that we may have to make some “sacrifices” in the present in order to have a bright and healthy and safe life in the future. We need to do things we may not be inclined to do economically (although many of these things are actually good for the economy) — we need to cut the fossil fuels habit. We need to do things we might never have considered — we need to cut the meat habit. And we need to change our attitude as much as anything — we need to live more positive lives.

They may be simple childhood lessons, but they go a long way, and there is a reason parents around the world have to teach their children these things.

In a similar manner, around the world, we need to start living these teachings in our adult lives more in order to protect our world from climate change catastrophe.

Politicians need to remember these points at their discussions about climate change; we need to remind them about these lessons; and we need to incorporate them into our lives as well.

Related Stories on GO Media:
1) What is a Global Citizen? Are You One?
2) Five Indicators of Success at Copenhagen
3) 10 Sustainable Lifestyle Tips: #1-5
4) Green Economy = More Jobs
5) Personal Happiness and the Environment: A Sustainability Connection
6) Personal Happiness and Equity: A Sustainability Link

Image Credit 1: Kuzeytac via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: e³°°° via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 3: alicepopkorn via flickr under a Creative Commons license

  • Randall Taff

    You make me want to puke.

    There is a far, far more fundamental childhood lesson that you should have cited before making your socialist, world redistribution “lessons” that ignore the issue of scope.

    That lesson is trust. Before children learn any of the lessons you want to cite, they must learn trust. Parents and organizations must earn that trust.

    Post Climategate, one must endlessly ask the question of global warmists re ANYTHING that they say, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”, “Is this a LIE?”

    Once climate science entered politics, every statement they uttered was subject to question. After Climategate, nothing that they ever say or do can be trusted.

  • adood


    1. Give us your hard earned money, Americans!
    2. You’re being so mean. We just want some of your money!
    3. You’re a bad person. But if you give us some money, you’ll feel better!
    4. C’mon, you don’t really need that money! What’s wrong with you?

  • Hi

    The climate has always changed and will continue to do so. When I hear people saying we must “stop climate change”, I question their intelligence.

  • Anon

    Treating people like children is not a good way to convince them of everything.

  • http://www.solaruk.com/ Jasper

    It looks like your posting has caused a bit of a rumpus, but I do agree with your point about solar panels. Installing them is quite simple and will prove cost-effective in the long-run as oil and gas prices continue to rise sharply. An efficient solar thermal system such as SolarUK’s LaZer2 will provide virtually all a homeowner’s hot water needs during the warmer months of the year. As for the winter, it’ll depend on where you live, but as it works in cloudy as well as sunny conditions it’ll still make a substantial contribution during a British winter.

  • Zach

    Regarding ‘Climate Gate”, this is a joke — that this has people saying such things as Mr. Taff above or not trusting climate scientists shows you what a substance-less, criminal act proving nothing can do to counter the findings of numerous leading world scientists from different countries and agencies using open data and methods.

    The science behind this is about as universally accepted in the scientific community as anything in the world — not because other scientists are unaware of it but because the science is clear. Scientists from NASA to NOAA to the British Antarctic Survey have come to essentially the same findings repeatedly and independently using different data (the only thing that has been changing much is how rapidly the climate seems to be changing — keeps speeding up, it seems). That a Thief or Hacker who cherry-picked quotes from someone’s emails over the course of many years (and still couldn’t squeeze much controversy out of them) makes you question the science of climate change is actually very sad. That is how backwards things are.

    @Hi: yes, “climate change” has been happening all throughout history, but at a much different pace and, thus, resulting in much different consequences than the human-induced climate change that is happening now. i would prefer if they had been more accurate in coining this term, calling it ‘climate change catastrophe’ or ‘rapid climate change’ or something else more accurate. but it is a term representing a phenomenon that has not been happening all through history — unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions and catastrophic climate change.

    a little further reading on this subject:



    This is about the email controversy — representing both sides a little: http://www.physorg.com/news179052414.html

  • Hi

    “Global warming” is often implied to mean human induced global warming. But global warming is just the earth getting warmer. Misleading.

    “Climate change” is often implied to mean humans are changing the climate in a bad way. But climate change is just the climate changing like it always has. Misleading.

    A more precise term would be “human accelerated global warming” – human influence is adding to an existing process. Instead, “human induced global warming” is often used to imply the cause is the sole responsibility of people. Misleading.

    When you attempt to frame the debate by using misleading terms, expect people to question your credibility even if your underlying arguments are 100% correct.

    But if your arguments are 100% correct, then you wouldn’t need to use terms that mislead.

  • Zachary Shahan

    @Hi: the Earth isn’t actually round, but we say ‘the Earth is round’ — don’t get caught up in semantics.

    climate change is happening. (implied in a term used by people all over the world now — extreme and catastrophic climate change caused by humans is happening).

    don’t get caught up in semantics. there are bigger issues in the world, Mr. or Mrs. Hi.

  • Zachary Shahan

    or is Hi your first name?

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