With my six-year-old daughter, I am always careful not to push my own passions onto her due to fear that she will either rebel instantly or at a later date (in her teenage years). Of course, I am secretly delighted when she catches hold of one of my passions, if only for a brief moment. Such was the case when she checked out of the library a fantastic book called The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge. If you do not think a six-year-olds can understand the basic science of climate change, they can, and this book does a wonderful job of not only conveying climate science, but also encouraging climate action by contacting elected officials. Inwardly, I was jumping up and down when I read those pages to her. The next day my daughter was telling me not to use plastic bags in the produce section of our grocery store. I did not even remember that being part of the book, but she quickly informed me that it was when I inquired about the source of her new found awareness.
I share all of this because thinking about environmental issues in relation to children is one of my big passions. For this reason, I have decided to begin a regular column devoted to this subject. It will be called “For the Love of Children.” As a way of launching this column, I have written a piece called “The Letter Manifesto: Children and Climate.” This piece that I wrote in the form of a letter to parents, grandparents, and anyone who has a heart for children will convey why I and others get so passionate about children and the environment along with why this passion is so vitally important to lift up and harness as a force for change.
In writing this column, I am not just interested in sharing whatever ideas I might have on various related subjects. I am also interested in hearing from readers. For instance, I would like to devote one of my next columns to children’s books that deal with environmental issues. I have some favorites, but I also want to know what your favorites are. I am eager to learn and to be in conversation as we figure out the best ways to care for our children and the world in which we live.
The Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt is the Minister for Environmental Justice for the United Church of Christ. He can be found on Twitter as The_Green_Rev.