Anya is an award-winning education journalist formerly with NPR, co-creator of the podcast Life Kit, and author of several parenting and education books.

463: How to Talk to Kids About Climate Change

Anya Kamenetz

How do we talk to kids about climate change?

As the weather gets more extreme with fires and floods, our own fears mount.

And our kids have more awareness than we realize.

I talk to journalist Anya Kamenetz about what age to say what to our kids about climate. We also discuss positive ways to take action. 

How to Talk to Kids About Climate Change-Anya Kamenetz [463]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Anya Kamenetz: I think for, for a lot of people, there's a big door sill, there's a big hurdle of denial or just pushing something away because it's too painful or, you know, we're parents and we're working, we have so many other things in our minds and, you know, it's really just in the last couple of years that I realized, okay, I've got to get over that and just plunge right in and that's what I've been doing.

[00:00:27] Hunter: You're listening to episode 463 of the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Today, we're talking about how to talk to kids about climate change with Anya Kamenetz.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clarkfield. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller Raising Good Humans, and now Raising Good Humans Every Day. 50 simple ways to rest pause, stay present, and connect with your kids. Hello, hello, spring is in the air here.

Hey! Hey! Before we dive in, if you get some value from the Mindful Parenting podcast, please, please, please go and just tell a friend about it. That's a great way to grow the show. It makes such a huge difference and I hugely, hugely appreciate it. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down again with Anya Kamenetz, an award winning education journalist formerly with NPR, co creator of the podcast Life Kit, and author of several parenting and education books.

And we are going to talk today about about how to talk to kids about climate change, you know, as the weather gets more extreme, as there are fires and floods, all these things are our own fears now. I really feel this. You know, deeply, and our kids have more awareness than we realize. So I talked to Anya about what age to say what to our kids about the climate, and we also talk about positive ways to take action.

So if you've been wondering how to answer these questions, how to be skillful about it and sensitive and also honest, this is definitely the episode for you. Join me at the table as I talk to Anya Kamenetz.

Anya, thanks so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting podcast. Thanks so much for having me. Um, I'm happy to talk to you. So I, as I mentioned to you, like I've been searching for somebody to talk to about how to talk to kids about climate change, because for me, it's like, uh, It's an ever growing, ever growing concern.

It just keeps to seem to add on every single year. And I, it definitely is for my kids and they've kind of grown up with this. And, uh, and of course now we have little kids and you know, who are moving into this world where there's all these fires and disasters and floods and. Bigger Storms and things like that.

So I, I'm very happy to talk to you about this. Before we dive into this, I want to kind of know a little bit about you, how you were raised, how you got interested and passionate about the subject. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:03:41] Anya Kamenetz: Um, so I grew up in Louisiana. Um, so my, Upbringing was, um, marked by hurricanes, marked by, um, a lot of upheaval over what was called Cancer Alley, still is called Cancer Alley, the petrochemical plants, um, along I 10, you know, kind of in the bayou there.

And so the, the really heavy presence of, you know, just beautiful nature, but also, um, very heavy oil and gas industry just really dominates in that part of the country. Um, So my climate awakening was a long time coming though. I mean, it wasn't until I was a parent myself and. You know, just the, the drumbeat of news became so, so difficult to ignore.

And I think it was about five years ago with the IPCC report, uh, really just speaking in the most plain possible terms about what we're up against. Um, I think for, for a lot of people, there's a big door sill, there's a big hurdle of denial or just pushing something away because it's too painful or. You know, we're parents, and we're working, we have so many other things on our minds, and you know, it's really just in the last couple of years that I realized, okay, I've got to get over that, um, and just plunge right in, and, and that's what I've been doing.

[00:04:57] Hunter: And, and you said you have, you have two girls, they're six and 11. What, why is it, you know, why is it important to talk to kids about climate change?

[00:05:08] Anya Kamenetz: The most important reason is that they are hearing about it, you know, and they are living it, right? So, you know, in June, um, of this year, uh, we had the wildfire smoke that came in, you know, at the end of the school year and darkened the skies.

And I had to try to get my six year old to wear a mask again, which she really wasn't happy about. Um, the fact is that climate emotions and climate anxiety, climate grief is disproportionately affecting young people. So a global study of 10, 000 youth found that. 75 percent they've said the future was frightening.

Um, a recent survey, yeah, it's devastating. A recent survey of 1, 300 youth said that 68 percent are experiencing, they say, negative mental health impacts in response to either experiencing or hearing about climate change, but the good news is that we can help them with these feelings because what they're feeling is consuming news in isolation, that the media portrays the gloom and doom.

It doesn't portray solutions. And they need their families to talk about this honestly, openly, and to share how they can be part of solutions. Mm hmm.

[00:06:16] Hunter: Okay. All right. Great. I like that. And I'm, I love, I love that idea, though, too, of, like, giving them that context. Because I have to do it for myself. I mean, these are the things I have to do for myself, and it makes sense that we have to do it for the kids.

Like, I I listen to the news, but I also, every morning, look at my good news app. And it's another, there's an amazing amount of like this. There was the first, you know, fully electric, complete, you know, airplane that was flying very recently. And that was really exciting. And to hear about, um, kids in Indonesia who are like gathering up all the plastic from rivers and, or not kids, but youth, you know, young, young people.

People doing that and just like there's all these like positive things that I never see coming in across the New York Times or whatever, but, um, so I have to do that for myself, so I love this, that idea of kind of framing it for our kids, but let's just kind of go back to the basics, right? Like, so if we're going to, we got to talk to our kids about climate change, we want to give them some framing.

How old do we start to talk to kids about this?

[00:07:19] Anya Kamenetz: So, um, I really do believe that like with sex and bodies and consent and like with race, you know, we, we lay the groundwork when our kids are super young and when we are their whole world. So, um, when you have a little, a little child, you know, you are definitely focusing on making them feel safe and making them feel cared for.

You're probably not going to talk about climate change unless you have to say something like, okay, we're wearing a mask today because there's a big fire. Right. And that's just a reality that they have to deal with, or. You know, there's a rain, a rain in the forecast. We're going to bring, you know, this and that to wear.

So talking about the weather with kids, little kids is not that hard. Um, you do want to be instilling this sense of connection to the natural world and care for the natural world. Like We put our banana in the compost. It helps make dirt for the trees. You know, when it's, when it's really dry outside and hot outside, we might leave some water outside so the birds can get a drink of water.

So we're, we're giving them that sense of efficacy and that sense of connection and that they can be a part of solutions. And that's really the littles, um, as they get older, you know, you're going to be drawn by their questions and also possibly their assumptions. So you really need to be helping them interrogate and contextualize things that they may be seeing or hearing.

Um, I talked to, um, a curriculum developer, um, who works with teachers and she said that her research shows that kindergartners are coming into school with the message that Humans hurt the earth and the earth is dying. Um, so that's the cultural message that we need to be bringing context to. And we need to show our kids and put them in the driver's seat.

I would say in the bicycle seat, right? That they are part of solutions. It can be part of solutions. You know, do we pick up trash on the beach? You know, can we, um, figure out a way to get to places that we need to go without always driving our car and enlist our kids in those solutions. And that's really how we're going to teach.

The basic concepts of climate change.

[00:09:17] Hunter: Okay. So we're, we're going about our daily life when our kids are, are little, we're talking about the weather. We're talking, you know, if you have to, if you have that smoke, I mean, for instance, like when that wildfire smoke came down, you're, you're in New York, I'm in Delaware, it came down here.

It was a grayout. We had, you know, we happened to have recently got a, a new car. We have a, a, a car that has a biohazard mode that I had no idea about. Wow. I never thought I would use ever in my life and I drove my kids, my kid and my neighbor's kid to school in biohazard mode. It's crazy. Yeah. I mean, just bananas.

So they're, they're, they're getting these experiences. In times like these, we're saying, yeah, there's, there's There are some, we're saying it as simply as possible, like, there may be, there's some smoke in the air today, so, you know, I'm going to drive you to school or you have to wear this mask to school or something like that.

We're just not going sort of beyond their questions. But then you're saying, by the time kindergarten is coming to school, they have this message that humans hurt the earth. So really, this is something that we're kind of like, we have to kind of build them up to bit by bit, even before the age of five, I guess.

[00:10:37] Anya Kamenetz: That's right. I mean, you know, and this doesn't mean, and, and you know this, you talk about this all the time, right? We're, we're giving them appropriate information. We're responding to their questions, but I also think it's really important to make space for emotions. Like your kids read your body language.

If you're have that feeling about driving your kids to school in biohazard mode, they know that they know that you're stressed, right? And kids will interpret that. You know, anyway, usually they'll say it's probably my fault, right? And what we need to do is say, gosh, you know, like I'm, I'm feeling a little bit scared, a little bit sad today, and that's okay if you're feeling that way too, you know, and yes, acknowledge it.

[00:11:10] Hunter: Yeah. Acknowledge what's there in the air. They have amazing BS meters. I have to say. Yes.

[00:11:19] Anya Kamenetz: Yes. And express it, you know, maybe they are the type of kid who wants to dance it out or maybe they want to call and leave a voicemail for an elected official and say, hey, keep our air clean, you know? Oh, that would be so cute and powerful.

Yeah. I've done it with my kids and it's incredible. I mean, five year olds, six year olds have no problem saying how they feel. Mm. Mm hmm.

[00:11:41] Hunter: Okay. All right. So we get to these ages. We want to instill this love of the earth, you know, we want a responsibility for what we do, for, for how we take care of things, um, including animals and plants and what then as we get to the idea of climate change itself, what are the basic facts that we want to talk about?

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:12:13] Anya Kamenetz: Yeah, so, um, I actually have a script, um, that I've created with the Climate Mental Health Network, um, that I can give the link in the show notes, but, you know, the basic facts we're talking about here, um, burning fossil fuels, which we do, humans do for all different kinds of reasons, creates, um, a layer of greenhouse gases that traps heat like a blanket.

And that causes lots of unpredictable things to happen all over the world because of hotter oceans and hotter air, bigger storms, these wildfires, um, these effects are unequal. So we want to talk to kids about climate justice, you know, they're happening all over the world and it's really different for you if you don't have a home.

For example, if you're dealing with what's happening in Phoenix and you're not housed, um, or if you're dealing with the floods in Libya versus the floods in Las Vegas. It's Um, so the resource issues are important. Um, and then in talking about fairness, that's something that becomes really important in later elementary and middle school, you know, you can talk about what's causing this and, and don't make it feel like this is something that quote unquote humans are doing.

Say that there are people making money doing this. There's a small number of companies that profit from this. Um, we don't want to give those companies our money. We don't want to give those politicians our money. We want to be part of the solution, you know? And, and so. But part of the solution, it's really important to frame that as well, to say, it's not on you to solve this.

Our family is not going to do it all by ourselves. There are so many people out there working for solutions. And I mean, it's just, that's so important, not only for inspiration, but also just as a relief to say, gosh, I don't have to fix this by myself.

[00:13:51] Hunter: Mm hmm. Yeah. Be part of the solution, but it's not on you.

It's, I mean, I think that's really a fine line to walk. You know, I, my daughter who's 16 now has for a number of years now, she watches YouTube videos of people talking about climate change and things like that. And she's like, Mom, I'm Don't feel guilty for flying. She's like, you, you know, we can't, your individual actions are, you know, you, we have to think of like these big collective things that we do together.

And, you know, and cause I'm like, oh my God, I'm flying to blah, blah, blah, to go to this, do this talk or whatever it is. And, um, you know, and I'm, Uh, you know, I, and in one hand I think that's cool, like, that she has, she's seeing this sort of like stepping back and getting this perspective that they're, you know, we have to look at legislation and governments and things like that, but on the other hand, I, yeah, like, we do want to be part of the solution too.

We don't, I don't want to be part of the problem, yet I don't want to be instilling guilt in my kid. How do we thread that needle?

[00:15:00] Anya Kamenetz: Gosh, I mean, yeah, you're articulating kind of the toughest part about all of this. Um, but I think it's also something that parents are uniquely equipped to address, because what you're trying to do as a parent, you're trying to do a few things.

You're trying to get through the day, but you're also building humans. You're building adults, right? And so, How does that factor in? How does it factor in in what you serve for dinner? How does it factor in in how you get through bedtime? Are you bribing the kid to get through bedtime or are you sitting and listening to them?

Are you yelling or are you, you know, um, are you being that perfect mindfulness parent who, who always does deep breaths? We all are doing our best, but we're also trying to make our best a little bit better every day. 

[00:15:41] Hunter: Hmm. And, yeah. And we're all going to be imperfect. We're not nervous. We're going to be that perfect, mindfulness parent.

I won't be, I promise.

[00:15:48] Anya Kamenetz: You're not. And we're going to embrace that imperfection, but also understand that there's a trajectory here, right? Like, what we do with our little kids really matters, that those little moments add up, and they're going to add up over time. And that's, I feel the same way about climate change.

I want to be better this year than I was last year. Mm hmm. 

[00:16:03] Hunter: Mm hmm. Okay. So you, you have a six year old. Talk to, tell us, how do you talk to your six year old about this? And what are the, some of the things that, you know, You, you tell her.

[00:16:16] Anya Kamenetz: So the thing I love with my six year old is they, they really take the world as it comes, right?

Like they are, this is their planet and this is their life. And so sometimes I give it to her and I'm like, you know, the world is changing and it's really different than it was before. And we don't really know what's going to happen next. I mean, that is something that she can handle in the sense of like, okay, I'm in a world that's changing.

And so if she asks me something like, is there going to be snow this winter? Cause she loves snow. And I'm like, you know what? I don't know. Because we don't really know what's going to happen. And yes, we want to be a part of positive change, but I think embracing that uncertainty is something that, um, is also going to be important to do because there's an acceptance that comes with that.

Mm hmm.

[00:17:01] Hunter: So, yeah, what I'm kind of hearing from you is like, you're talking about living what you want your kids to learn. You're talking about your own process of processing this and learning to accept this.

[00:17:13] Anya Kamenetz: Absolutely. I mean, you know, and transparency with your kids again is a fine line, right? We're not going to be coming to our kids when we're, you know, a total mess or when we're awake at three in the morning saying, Oh my God, what's going to happen?

Like that's what you process with your friends or with your therapist. But yeah, to show some openness and say like, actually, I am kind of sad that, you know, it's too hot to go outside right now. I wish that we could. That's something that you can share and give and give space for. And you know, You know, our job is not to rush our kids past every uncomfortable moment that comes.

It's, it's to allow them to feel what they feel. Mm hmm.

[00:17:50] Hunter: So we want to allow them. So do you also, like, share, do you make a point to kind of, like, bring in some of the, like, good news aspect with your kids?

[00:17:59] Anya Kamenetz: I absolutely do. And you know, luckily for us, we have the ability to make choices that, um, that we Contribute to more sustainable lifestyles.

So, you know, in the last couple of years, we've, um, moved into backyard composting. We installed solar panels on our house. Um, we are, uh, we moved to electrify our house. So we have, like, um, you know, the electric stove, induction stove, um, and we're getting engaged. I got engaged with, um, sort of decarbonization efforts at our school level.

And so these are all things that I can make visible to my kids and, and invite them to get involved. I'm not forcing them to be activists, but I want them to see that there are solutions. And it's also something that we bring in with them very openly and say like, Hey, you know, we did spring break as a staycation.

I was like, you know, we, we could fly someplace, but I would love it if we could have a vacation, at least one vacation that's here at home and we're not flying. And they got really on board with that and it was super fun. So, you know, helping them feel like they can be part of the solutions and seeing the solutions that are out there is something that, um, yeah, we really try to do a lot.

[00:19:04] Hunter: So just kind of talking about it. I mean, though, that sounds like, like we've been, you know, we've been, we chose to get our electric from like the sustainable part of the electric company and we negotiated good rates with them and we got a heat pump and. Things like that. So they, they see you making those choices.

What did you do to get involved with decarbonization at school?

[00:19:27] Anya Kamenetz: So, I mean, that's, um, something I work on, um, in one of my other hats with the Aspen Institute. Um, but basically, um, there are, uh, carbon, cre carbon, um, goals at our city level, as there are in many cities around the country. And it's really pushing the schools to have this conversation and say, like, what exactly are we doing?

Are we going to upgrade our HVAC systems, get heat pumps? Are we going to have energy audits? Can we improve the compost in the cafeteria? Can we get the custodians on board? And so there's There's school districts around the country working on this and there's a lot of federal money in the Inflation Reduction Act that's specifically designated for schools and for other non profits and public agencies to just try to improve our kids carbon footprints.

I mean, there's also an amazing amount of money there for electric school buses. So there's a lot of school districts around the country that are working on that. My school also has, um, You know, it dovetails with like safe street programs and walk to school, bike to school campaigns. So like thinking about how we get to school, can we make the air cleaner around the school by reducing traffic?

So there's a lot of amazing ways that, that people are getting involved at the PTA level.

[00:20:38] Hunter: I really need to get involved in this, like, one aspect because I keep just, like, quietly fuming about it. Yes. It's the, it's, it's like people argue, people, um, idling their cars drives me freaking bananas. It's like, I just don't understand why people are idling their cars at all the times they are and when it's not really cold out at all, I just get so, so frustrated with it and I need to.

It's just. I need to take an action. My kids are watching me sort of quietly fume about it and complain about it to them and then not take any actions. Currently, this is like this current process, like my non action taking for this. I'm here to hold you accountable for that because, I mean, that has so many fans, right?

Because there's asthma issues, there's noise issues, there's air pollution, air quality. Um, you know, yes, it's a waste of gas. So yeah, definitely get on that.

[00:21:28] Hunter: Okay. All right. I'm going to do it. This is, this is a resolution I'm going to make for this fall. It's like a It's like a mid year, mid year New Year's resolution that I will write a letter to the local community about.

Don't idle your car. I love it. Okay. All right. So what about, I mean, do you, so you work on this, do you personally feel like moments of, you know, real sadness and hopelessness and how do you deal with that? Absolutely.

[00:21:58] Anya Kamenetz: Of course I do. I mean, this sense of uncertainty and dread, um, grief, you know, not knowing what my kids are going to be facing in 10 years, 20 years, I mean, these feelings are so real and we really need to talk about them more because I don't know a single person who's not affected by climate change emotions.

I mean, they are everywhere. Um, and, you know, what you do with them is, well, a framework I find really helpful is thinking about it, um, is Maria Ohalo's work. She's a Swedish researcher. She talks about three kinds of coping, and they're all important. So emotion focused coping is how you deal with your emotions, right?

Mindfulness, meditation, exercise, bath, screaming, crying, dancing, journaling, all of the things, right? Talking to a friend, hugging it out. That's emotion focused coping. Um, Problem Focused Coping is the stuff that you do, right? So it's the donations that you make, it's the letters that you send, it's the texting, the petitions showing up at the march.

Um, for me, like changing my work around, changing my career, covering this issue more. That's the, that's the stuff I'm doing. The Meaning Focused Coping is where you drop it and say, You know what? It's not all on me to fix this. I am one. I am a drop in a tide. There are so many people out there who understand what's happening to our planet, and I am a small part, and I do not know what's going to happen.

All I know is that I'm, I'm going to want to do what I can and I'm going to be, I'm going to fail, I'm going to mess it up. I'm going to get distracted and I'm going to go take the easy way out and buy the like plastic thing for my kid's birthday sometimes, but I am going to be part of the. solution in the big picture.

And I, I know that it's not just all up to me. That's in meaning focused coping.

[00:23:52] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

I like this. Emotion focused coping, problem focused coping, and meaning focused coping. You're talking about in meaning, it's like, this is sort of like that big picture of the story we're telling ourselves. and, and how we're making sense of it in the big picture. And then problem focus, we're really like taking an action.

I'm writing, I'm actually finally writing about the idling or you're, you know, you know, converting to the electric stove or whatever you can. Um, I, I really feel like I want to take these actions and I, I will take actions on the individual level, you know, that I can. You know, we really focus on like just trying to have electric.

Um, Energy, Sustainable Energy in our own household, but then I also feel like, you know, I wish, um, I guess I'm wondering, maybe you can help me with this, like, I can absolutely write a note to my, my local newspaper about idling, but like, what are things that, that that we can do. Like, we are, you know, parents listening to this who are, you know, a lot of us are, we care about the world.

We want to, like, cope well with our kids, but we also want to, like, you know, maybe make some positive change that isn't just at the individual level, right? That is at, like, are there things that you can do at the town level or the county level or state level, you know, that that we can maybe take some steps towards.

[00:25:41] Anya Kamenetz: Absolutely. Um, and the key in what you said is, I don't want to act just by myself, right? So the first thing to do is to find an organization, connect with that mom on Facebook, who's posting stuff and being annoying, ask her what's going on. Like, Make those connections and make those relationships to find out your path to action.

Because there are people out there who are already working on this. I mean, there's 350. org, there's Mothers Out Front, there's Moms Clean Air Force. Rose, Rose, slow down. Yeah. I think that's slower on you. Yeah, um, so 350. org, that's Bill McKibben's organization that he founded. It's got chapters all over the country.

Um, Mothers Out Front is an organization I've supported for a few years and they have campaigns in different states. Um, Moms Clean Air Force is a large group with 1. 5 million, um, folks and they have a lot of different campaigns all around the concept of air pollution as it relates to climate change. Um, and I guarantee you there are, the most active group is probably at your community level and you probably don't.

You don't, you know, I don't know the name of it, because it's, it's related to your local watershed, it's related to food justice, it's related to, um, you know, stopping that idling. Like, there are people out there working on this stuff, um, and so you're gonna have to meet them, and you're gonna have to get to know them, and then you're gonna have to figure out where your peace is, um.

But really, it just starts with that, with that conversation and, you know, a really low lift is just to say, like, any group that you're already a part of, can you get climate on the agenda? Right? Can you get it on the agenda at your PTA meeting? Can you get it on the agenda at the library? Can you get it on the agenda on your, with your block association or at work?

You know, if you have a group at work where it's, it's okay to bring this kind of stuff up, intersects with climate and you're going to come up with an action item. I guarantee it. And that's how you get started.

[00:27:36] Hunter: Okay, I like this. Um, can you get climate on the agenda? We've got some organizations for those who want the big ones.

Yeah. And we want to find those local people. So the idea is to like, look on your, I don't know, Facebook, those kind of things and look for like, who's working on climate issues in your area or issues you care about, whether it's like inequality or, or, you know, there's a thing I want to do, the other thing I want to do that I complain about that I don't take any action about.

I'm really like calling myself out here. So there you go. I love it. Um, I'm, I'm really fascinated and interested in the idea of like rewilding and how like the east coast of the United States, for instance, where I live, like would naturally be like a giant forest if it was left by itself, right? Like it should just kind of be a natural, a big giant forest.

I live in a, I personally live on like on a quarter acre that has 44 trees. So it is, I'm like in a tiny, I'm in like a little forest, but I always think, and I have all these birds and things like that, and I always think like there's all these spaces that could just be let Not moan. Why are we mowing everything all the time?

Like, what is the point of all this mowing? Were you making more climate, you know, greenhouse gases? We're making it a ecological dead zone. And why? Why do we need to have like 50 acres of grass between 95 North and 95 South? That doesn't make any sense to me. So, I, I don't know. This is like personally, I, I wonder, like, now that you're talking Anya, I'm like, maybe there are people in my community that are working on like letting the 90, the grass in 95 just be, go to trees.

[00:29:20] Anya Kamenetz: I hear you. There are. I mean, the Nature Conservancy would be probably a good place to start. Um, but I also, we also did that with our backyard. We have a tiny backyard in Brooklyn and it's planted totally with like local and edible plants. And it's this like, Bee extravaganza. Um, they get in throughout the summer.

Um, there's one more thing I should mention though, too, is there's all this federal money for greening K 12 schools, like I said. And so the K 12 Climate Action Plan, um, is something that, um, I worked on with, with the Aspen Institute. And it's just a really simple way of taking, and we talked about the school board or the PCA, like taking these items.

You know, to that, um, and saying like, Hey, there's money out there that would make our schools more comfortable, better places to learn, and also have a better carbon footprint. And our kids would get to see it, you know? So when these schools go through this, like, screening effort, the kids get so excited because it's something that they can be a part of every single day.

Um, so I do recommend that as well. If you're looking for a place to get started, I'm sure a lot of your listeners have kids in schools.

[00:30:22] Hunter: So there's federal money for K 12 to green K 12 schools. So are there people who are working on that and kind of have action plans that, that they go through with the schools and how do people find those people?

[00:30:34] Anya Kamenetz: Yeah. So K 12 Climate Action Plan is something you can Google and that's from the Aspen Institute. Um, there's a group also called Unbounded K 12, um, that also works in this area. They, they are very focused in California, but they have information for all Unbounded K 12. Undoctored

[00:30:51] Hunter: K 12. Yeah. Undaunted. K12.

That's so cool. This is great. We're getting all kinds of like resources here. I love this.

[00:30:59] Anya Kamenetz: Yeah. Okay. So I, I do want to

[00:31:00] Anya Kamenetz: caution though, just for a sec. Like I love talking about solutions. I love talking about action, um, but you have to, you still have to take space for emotions, right? Like we are going to feel our feelings and do the thing.

And those are both really important because I feel like a lot of times people get, yeah, I get in these conversations, people are really excited talking about action, but like, you Still, it's really important, like, that we are sad, we are scared, like, these feelings are really important to make. Not to rush past, you know what I mean?

[00:31:29] Hunter: Yeah, I mean, I definitely have these feelings that I feel, I feel, um, I feel hesitant to like let my kids in on it, you know, to know that how scared I feel for their future. Um,

[00:31:46] Anya Kamenetz: Well, I hear that. Yeah. I mean, I think it, hopefully it's more about us making space for their feelings and their uncertainty about their future.

Right. But it is something that we share and that's, Yeah. It is scary. I mean, we're all like children in the face of this. It's so big. 

[00:31:58] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. Nobody, nobody really has the answer and it's a place, it's something they come to with us and we are feeling probably a lot of helplessness as, as our kids are coming to this.

And so we want to be processing those feelings like as best we can. I mean,

[00:32:19] Anya Kamenetz: I would compare it to if you as a parent loses a parent. Right. And thank God I haven't been in this position yet, but I know that it knocks people for a loop. Um, and we also have to be there for our kids. Then our kids are losing their grandparents.

And so there is this loss and the loss is calibrated by where you're sitting and, and what you're feeling, how, what you can access at the moment. But, you know, if anyone knows what it feels like to be a parent in that situation, um, it's a lot, but that's what we have to do.

[00:32:51] Hunter: Okay. So one. On one final, very practical question, what can parents tell their kids if they can't play outside because of extreme weather?

[00:33:06] Anya Kamenetz: Yeah, um, so it's, it's important to just go with the facts, be really simple, um, and say, you know, this is what the weather forecast says, and this is what the plan is for right now, whether that's, we're going to play inside today, we're going to wear a mask today. Um, we're gonna, you know, and when they ask questions, you know, it's okay to say, um, you know, Yeah, I'm nervous about this too.

I also don't know when it's gonna change. We're gonna watch and wait and make sure. And the other message that's really important to get across is say like, we're really lucky that we have a way to stay safe, right? And we're always going to do everything we can. I'm always going to do everything I can to keep you safe.

Um, right. And, and as hard as it is to not get to play outside today, I just want you to know that I love you. And I, I'm always going to keep you safe.

[00:33:55] Hunter: Yes. Yeah. So we're not imparting all that fear to our kids. We're giving them that message of safety. You are safe in this moment.

[00:34:05] Anya Kamenetz: Yeah. And we're also a thing that I did with my kids is say like, when it's, when it gets better, like, let's have that gratitude, right?

Like I am so happy that it's a clear sky today. I'm so happy that we can play outside again today. It's amazing to get to play outside. Look at the playground is here again. Like soak in the good when it comes back. Don't take it for granted.

[00:34:29] Hunter: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I love that. Well, this is so helpful, Anya.

I really, really appreciate it. Um, I think this is such an important thing that we need to talk about. We need to process these feelings. We need to like bring this. We need to talk about this with our kids. Um, all of this stuff. I, I, is there anything else you want to share with the listener before we, before we wrap up today?

[00:34:55] Anya Kamenetz: I just want to say thanks for listening and, and encourage them to continue to explore the, the notion of climate motions. Um, there's so many great resources out there. Um, I do recommend, um, the Good Grief Network, um, the Climate Psychology Alliance and, uh, Joanna Macy's work, the work that reconnects. Um, those are three resources.

If you want to explore these feelings on your own, which I think that, you know, most parents probably should be

[00:35:22] Hunter: Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Anya. I really appreciate it. Um, I've introduced Anya earlier, but I just want to give her another, another shout out for her Golden Hour newsletter. What do you share on that?

[00:35:36] Anya Kamenetz: On the Golden Hour, I talk all about, you know, basically parenting kids through this crazy time. I have mental health resources for kids and adults, education resources, action. Um, I also, you know, drop in other topics that I cover like, um, children and technology, social media, and just mental health and wellbeing.

[00:35:55] Hunter: Awesome. All right. Check out the newsletter. Thanks so much, Anya. Thank you so much.

Hey, I hope you appreciated this episode. I think this is such an important issue. I mean, we've got to be honest with our kids and there's a lot to deal with about the environment. I hope that, I mean, I think that one of the important things for me as we. Think about this, you know, right now it's spring here.

I'm seeing daffodils and I just. I think it's so important to remember that, you know, that we, you know, bringing kids in nature is so, so important, and us too, like it's not like, like we are nature. We are part of nature. We are a part of the whole earth body. That's, I completely believe that. And we, need, you know, it just is so healing to be out in nature as much as possible.

And especially for our kids, especially, you know, for having challenges, but just to, like, we can, we need to talk about the challenges and obviously be honest about them as we talked about in this episode. But, you know, we also want to just, you know, be mindful. Go into a place of like appreciation and awe and, um, presence when we're out in nature and, um, you know, and even, you know, bringing, make growing plants with our kids and bringing houseplants in and different things like that.

It can be, make them so appreciative, you know? Um, this has been something I've been doing with my kids for a long time. And, um, you know, my daughter, Sora is 14 now. And for her birthday, she wanted a gift certificate to this place called Old Country Gardens in Wilmington, which is like this beautiful garden store.

She wanted plants for her 14th birthday. It's so beautiful. Like she wants to create that space in her room where she's got those like long strings of pathos that are kind of running around. It's really lovely. So you can plant these seeds, such an appropriate metaphor here, huh? Um, when they're little, and you can see them take root beautifully when they're older, but I, I think it all starts with us, with us, right?

Us appreciating and giving ourselves some time to, you know, be, put the phones down, go for walks without the phones, and, um, just be present. So I. You can do that and I will practice doing that. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening today. If you appreciated this episode, please share it with one friend.

That makes a huge, huge difference and I appreciate you being here. Oh my god, we have so many amazing episodes coming up. You have no idea. I've got some amazing guests coming in the next coming months. Very exciting. So I'm so glad you're here. I can't wait to share more with you. I hope it's helping, you know, bring, this is like, I think of, you know, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master and the Buddhist teacher, who I consider, you know, my main teacher.

He talks about the idea of watering positive seeds and positive nutriments. And that everything we take in, whether it's food or books or even conversations are either, they could be like junk food and not help us grow, or they can be positive nutrients for our minds and our hearts. And I hope that this podcast is a positive nutriment for your mind and your heart.

That is my intention for you. So thank you for being here. Thank you for listening. I'm wishing you all the best. And I can't wait to see you again next week. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your kids. I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it. It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family.

I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools, and it's worth it.

Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so far fetched? So overwhelming with too much to learn. Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields. And if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You will be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is. Mindful Parenting is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparentingcourse.

com to add your name to the waitlist, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. Mindful Parenting. ParentingCourse. com

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