Thinking about floods, extreme temperatures and an increase in respiratory diseases, among other alarming scenarios of the current climate crisis, does not bring peace of mind to anyone. Much less to those who have just given birth to a child and who need to ensure that the world remains a minimally habitable place.
In the face of increasing evidence of the emergence of environmental problems, families with children and adolescents have taken different measures to react to the situation. They range from individual to collective actions.
During the COP26, the UN Conference on climate change held in November, fathers and mothers from 44 countries, including Brazil, signed a letter urging urgently the end of funding for all new exploration of fossil fuels.
“As we hug our children tightly, we fear for their health and well-being, and now also for the future they will face”, says an excerpt of the document. “Children are the future, and they deserve to have one.”
Who represented Brazil in the initiative was the group Families for Climate, which appeared in 2019 and today gathers about 39 fathers and mothers.
Also last week they filed a lawsuit against the Government of São Paulo to stop the measure of the IncentivAuto Program, which offers subsidies to the automotive sector.
Actions like these are important for parents to show their children that, although the climate crisis is serious, there is something to be done to face it, says JP Amaral, coordinator of the Child and Nature program at the Alana Institute.
He points out that many children have shown great apprehension and anxiety regarding information about the situation and that it is necessary to welcome them with conversations and actions.
“Parents are voters and make daily decisions about consumption, and by doing this consciously, they show that there is a way out”, he says.
That’s what producer Clara Ramos thinks, , member and one of the founders of Families for the Climate.
“The crisis brings great anguish. Putting yourself in an active way takes you out of a paralyzing place”, he says.
The active posture can happen both with environmental militancy and with everyday actions.
They are present in every room of the house of the architect Débora Diniz, 25, in Niterói (RJ).
She was always attentive to the theme, inspired by her mother, but her concern increased after having a baby, now one year and seven months old.
The souvenir that Débora made for her tea party diaper, a reusable bag, already brought the message of encouragement so that adults could deliver a better world to children.
The mobile was made with vine, and the baby’s first bath water -born was always reused in the washing machine.
When the girl turned one year old, a discomfort that Débora felt with all those disposable diapers took on. )
The measure joins a series of adaptations that the architect made to the house to reduce the waste: composter, bottle in the flushing box to reduce the use of water, bucket in the shower to collect bath water.
“When we have children, worry increases because we always want to be an example of the best”, he says. “Being able to improve every day because of someone who has arrived is a huge opportunity.”
Some people see it differently, yeah Of course. All over the world, the climate crisis has led people to give up on having children.
A survey carried out with young people from ten countries showed that Brazilians enter 16 and 16 years are the ones who most hesitate to have children because of climate change — the proportion corresponds to 48% of respondents.
For Amaral, from Instituto Alana, it is an individual decision that must be respected, but he believes that a world without children would be a shame , many of them today are protagonists in the fight to combat climate change —just remember the Swedish Greta Thumberg, a symbol of environmental activism.
And if having children increases the apprehension of many parents about the future on the planet, was what brought the greatest tranquility to businesswoman Alice Satin, 39.
She was a lawyer and lived in the city of São Paulo when she became pregnant with her first child, in 2014, and began to prepare for the birth.
Alice says that it was a certain surprise for her, who worked surrounded by spreadsheets, to understand that her body already knew how to give birth and, later, to nourish the child with breastfeeding. It was simpler than the life I had been leading up to then made it seem.
“I remember thinking: I know how to draw up all kinds of contracts, but if I need to make my clothes or my food, I won’t be able to .”
A week after Francisco was born, she and her husband moved to the interior, where they began to cultivate medicinal plants on a family farm.
In partnership with another mother, she opened the company Soovack, which makes natural cosmetics.
She says that her greater proximity to nature gave her more peace of mind to face the situation.
“It is possible that my children will not be able to travel to Europe because fuel will not be as affordable, it is possible that they will have access to fewer consumer goods and that they will experience a water crisis”, she recognizes.
“But today I’m less afraid because I know how to clean a river, I know how to make a minimal ecosystem to have a subsistence culture. Motherhood opens up a process of self-knowledge and not rm. If you’re available, it’s an enhancer.”