Climate change, distress and the green race

Climate change is a very real thing. Even though we don't yet fully understand the whole package, we can see the big issue, the results, the problems, the challenges. Climate distress is another very real thing. Guilt is a big player in climate change discussion. While many adults do have reason for this guilt, we should not teach it to children. I would like to suggest a better way to resolve this global catastrophe.

Distress doesn't win

Distress and guilt are certainly not useless or meaningless, psychologically speaking. They might make you not throw that trash on the ground, or might get you to bicycle to work. It's a good idea to reflect on our choices, small and big. Let's remember the right dosage though, as utter distress and suffocating guilt will just destroy people. We need only look at the increasing amount of mental suffering among younger and younger people. We should not teach them guilt about the environment. In fact, pushing this guilt onto our young, intentionally or not, is extremely irresponsible.

May I suggest that we've faced great scientific challenges before. I present people's exhibit A, the Apollo Program. When the USA wanted to go to the moon, the theme was not blaming students for the fact that their parents didn't go to the moon. No, the theme was building an entire generation of hopes and dreams, new scientists, brilliant women and men to take on this huge challenge. It inspired a whole generation, created new knowledge, new sciences, new business. It took astronomical (pun intended) amounts of money, a long time, but they knew from the start that if they really did their best, they just might be able to pull it off. And they did.

We can, of course, look at the past 50 or 100 years as a horror story. On the other hand, any time in history has good and bad, depending on how we look at it and what we focus on. We could see our previous generations inventing and improving nuclear, solar and wind power, recycling, circular economy, new generations of biofuels and so on and so forth. We could realize that today we have in our hands the tools for making our earth carbon neutral. It will take a long time, a great effort, new skills, new sciences and new scientists, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Hope wins

So I suggest, let's change the marketing rules. Let's make this our green race. Let's empower this new generation into our shared adventure. Let's draw a picture of an earth which looks so good we'd dare to show even to our E.T. neighbors. Let's create a rolling ball of hope and challenge and let's watch it roll into the hearts and minds of people not just in the EU, not just in Europe, but globally, with much more force than any political ultimatums could ever hope to achieve.

And while we do that, let's make EU into the next global superpower. Not with wars, not with armies, not with dictators. Let's make it happen with the greatest forces of the 21st century - a clean, green, wonderful world which heals us, empowers us and sustains us when we take good care of it. Certainly an endeavor to create joy, not sadness, yes?