Think back to when you were in grade school and high school: how smart were you really, in terms of what was actually going on in the world and how to solve things. Are you thinking “yeah, I mostly didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, because I was a child”? As a parent, do you really listen to your kids about Important Things now? Considering this article is from Fortune, would you listen to your kids on economic matters?
After a depressing and dreary 2020, the new year has not come a moment too soon. The coronavirus pandemic has not yet ended its whirlwind of destruction, and it promises to loom large over the first half of 2021. But one day soon, we can reasonably hope it will be over.
In an effort to look forward to that day and beyond, I have been asking my grandchildren what they want to see happen in the world not just this year, but by 2030. By then, my grandson Ryan will be nearly 20, and his sister Madeleine will be a teenager.
They both call me Captain Planet, a kind label first applied to me by the Harvard Business Review. But superheroes have a habit of being human under the cape. My generation started out as big polluters, becoming climate change converts late in life. Even at Unilever—a company with a history of social responsibility dating back to the 1880s—placing sustainability at the heart of the firm’s strategy was controversial with some of its stakeholders.
By contrast, the adults of 2030 will have understood the fierce urgency of environmental protection all through their childhood. Invited to prescribe what adults should do in the coming nine years, Ryan, who is 10, has a clear five-point plan. Ban gas- and diesel-powered cars; expand the use of solar power; use less electricity; don’t use so much plastic; and fly less. It’s a shopping list to address the energy challenges of this century, and to mitigate the catastrophes humans have wrought on our natural and marine life. To do his bit individually, Ryan also decided recently to become vegetarian and stick to it.
It’s exactly the plan that the kids have been indoctrinated with, particularly in their leftist schools. Hey, let’s give them what they want, at least in their own lives. No more fossil fueled trips in cars or buses to school or anywhere else. Schools will replicate how much energy they could actually get from solar, so, the heat will be turned down to 60 and the AC up to 80. There wouldn’t be enough for charging their phones, having schoolwide WiFi, or laptops/tablets for everyone, so, they’ll just have to share the school resources.
Oh, and give up their plastic smartphones. And plastic gaming systems. And a goodly chunk of their clothes and shoes. And limit their computer time and TV watching time to save electricity.
Talking to Ryan and Madeleine about the planet they will inhabit long after me, reminded me of a Psalm. It is often shortened to “Out of the mouths of babes,” but a fuller rendering is “With praises from children and from tiny infants, you have built a fortress. It makes your enemies silent, and all who turn against you are left speechless.”
Only through concrete action now to build a greener 2030 can we earn the praise of our children and of theirs, building a fortress against the devastation of climate change and quieting those who say we aren’t serious. Ryan, Madeleine, and their whole generation will be watching.
Interesting that the vast majority of these climate cultist parents and grandparents aren’t practicing what they preach, nor restricting the lives of their kids and grandkids to accord the climate kids’ beliefs.
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