Why Climate Dads?
It took only a few days after Corey’s arrival for me to wonder how to raise my newborn son in an age of climate change.
Like with so much in parenting, I felt like I was scrambling for answers. How will I instill Corey with environmental values without bombarding him with environmental gloom? What can I read to him to encourage a love for nature? How do I afford paying for his future education without investing in companies not aligned with our values?
After a lot of (on-going) research, Climate Dads was born.
Climate Dads is a one-stop resource for environmentally concerned parents (moms and grandparents are welcome too). We help to prepare your children and to prepare yourselves for a warming world. The latest books and nature-based educational learning tools are offered along with sustainability resources for those looking to reduce energy use, switch to new clean technologies or safeguard your family from vulnerabilities such as sea level rise.
Moms usually are cast as caretakers. This applies both at home and when it comes to environmental stewardship. For example, on Mother’s Day 2015, EPA Commissioner Gina McCarthy wrote:
“As moms, when we say we must meet our moral obligation to leave the next generation a world that is safe and healthy, we mean it. For us moms, it’s personal. It’s our children and grandchildren who are currently suffering from the effects of pollution. It’s our children and grandchildren who make up the future generations each one of us is obligated to protect.”
Don’t dads feel the same? We sure do!
A 2015 study by Pew Research Center found that 66% of men in the U.S. consider climate change to be a problem. While the response is stronger among women (83%), the takeaway to me is clear: the environmental community too often disregards fathers as a key group in the effort to combat climate change.
After all, when asking Americans of all genders why they want to address global warming, the most common response is to provide a better life for children and grandchildren, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Dads care. In response, Climate Dads exists to unite us — fathers, grandfathers and caretakers of all types — as a community and to strengthen us with the resources we need. That includes excellent reading materials, home upgrade advice, sustainable investing guides and much more — all without wading into the politics of environmental advocacy.
Where to Begin?
Kids today spend more and more time staring at their smart phones and far less time playing outdoors.
The most successful way of creating environmental concern at a young age is not to introduce topics of global warming or endangered species. Instead, according to Antioch University New England professor David Sobel, the solution to developing environmental values is to immerse children in the natural world, coupled with appropriate modeling by a responsible adult.
“What’s important,” writes Sobel in Beyond Ecophobia, “is that children have an opportunity to bond with the natural world, to learn to love it and feel comfortable in it, before being asked to heal its wounds.”
Climate Dads will provide members with fun, nature-based activities that can help create that bond between caregiver and child as well as between child and the outdoors.
Our ultimate goal is to create more empowered adults — armed with the knowledge of how to take measurable action to combat climate change. In turn, those adults will guide more children in this generation and the generations that come to be committed stewards of our already threatened planet.
Ben Block is the founder of Climate Dads. When not watching after Corey, he leads public relations and marketing campaigns for clean energy and environmental sustainability programs across the Mid-Atlantic.