As I opened up TweetDeck this morning, I was greeted with this absolutely heartbreaking message:
RT @occupySYDNEY: “@Thrishni little boy in Kiribati told me he was afraid to sleep, because his small island was slipping under waves – Ban Ki Moon at #COP17.
Amazing what a powerful image one can cram into 140 characters. Turns out, this isn’t the first time UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has recounted this story of the human toll of sea level rise. Back in September, he suggested that climate change skeptics would do well to visit the island nation of Kiribati.
“Look into the eyes of the young boy who told me: ‘I am afraid to sleep at night’ because of the rising water,” he said.
“Talk with the parents who told me how they stood guard fearing that their children might drown in their own homes when the tide came in.”
Kiribati has indicated it is considering building ‘floating islands’ to deal with rising sea levels, ABC reports.
As the parent of very small children, I’m always torn about how much to tell them about climate change. I want them to know, to grow up aware and motivated, but not afraid or overwhelmed – kind of like the kids in the Young Voices on Climate Change video series.
So we talk about why it’s important to “reduce, reuse, recycle” (a phrase they love to chant, thanks to Bob the Builder), why we’re adding insulation to our house and saving for solar panels, why we take the bus, or grow our own food. In other words, I try always to connect the problem with an action we can take, to stress how important this is without scaring the daylights out of them. Stories like the one Ban Ki-Moon tells make me realize what a privilege it is to be able to do that.
Do you talk to your kids about climate change? What do you tell them?