Who wants to have children in a warming world?

How does race play a role in how we all process those emotions?

What I found in a survey I conducted was that the most distressing emotions were reported by people of color, who in a statistically significant way, most identified as feeling oppressed. damage due to the effects of climate change. They also reported feeling more afraid than white respondents.

And they also said they felt overwhelmed. And that comes up a lot in interviews as well. What I didn’t anticipate—but this was also important—was that when it came to parenting in the context of climate change, people of color in my research were more likely to express these same feelings. The most positive or action-oriented emotions, including feelings of motivation and determination. , a feeling of happiness or optimism. Because it was a quantitative survey, I couldn’t ask why there were those positive feelings.

But I can only imagine that it’s because people of color actually have a long history of facing existential threat. Black and Indigenous people, in particular, have had to develop the tools to be resilient, to be resilient in their communities, in their families, and in social movements. And so I can only imagine that those motivational responses, joy, determination and happiness all come from a feeling of “We will survive, we will endure, and whatever the future holds, Moving forward, we will find ways to grow.”

So, does your work really emphasize the importance of African Americans and communities of color—in the face of these threats—drawing strength from family?

Not just family. We can literally trace a long history in the United States of black people facing threats to our existence, from the first days of this country’s arrival through through slavery. And one of the things that has always been a really important institution to protect us from the harmful effects of the outside world is the family, not just the family, but the multi-generational family. And for us, that often includes chosen family.

We all have “play cousins,” “play aunts,” “play uncles” — people who are not blood relatives. But the lack of biological relationship doesn’t matter at all. They are members of the family. Building and maintaining those cross-generational relationships has always been important to strengthen us, not only against major existential threats, but also to strengthen us in a society where we often without the necessary resources and social support we need.

We often lack a social safety net to provide for us in the ways we need to be provided for. Other organizations also provide such support. Church, for example. Say what you want about the Black church – there are challenges, there always have been challenges, but the Black church is a truly important institution in the lives of African Americans, and not just because religious but also for social reasons. It was a very important organization during the Civil Rights Movement.

And it provides a space of safety, comfort and community that serves as a buffer against many of the challenges of the outside world. How does all of this come back to climate anxiety and the child’s question? Well, when you don’t have studies that include African Americans, for example, then you tend to assume that we don’t feel climate anxiety, or if we do, it doesn’t have any impact on Children’s questions for us. And that’s not right.

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