Climate superheroes: 7 steps kids can take to become confident change-makers

I’m delighted today to welcome Stef Rozitis, one of my favourite parenting + politics thinkers, to help us help our kids tackle the climate crisis with calm confidence. 

Stef is an early childhood teacher and academic, a climate change activist and a mother of some really thoughtful men who cared about the world even when they were little. She has an interest in promoting how capable and wise children can be as well as advocating for more respect for pink-collared workers (such as early childhood teachers). Welcome, Stef!

I had a meeting with a five-year-old today. His mother and brother attended the climate strike and he has a wonderful family who do everything they can for the earth.

But he is anxious. He does not understand how the governments of the world can know what they know and do so little. He does not understand why we can’t all stop business as usual and save the earth. He is worried about a future where there might be no kids, or no leaves, no clouds, or no clowns.

I tried to come up with some words, for him and for other children, that were not full of doom and despair but that also took their questions and fears seriously without dismissing them. I am thinking of turning my musings into a book, but in the meantime, here are the ideas.

7 challenging steps to being a climate superhero

They are not all easy steps. But you and I can do things that are not easy.

Step 1: Look for other superheroes

Who can you find? You parents? Teachers? Friends from school? Greta Thunberg? Your favourite animal? The oldest tree you ever met? Connect with them.

No one can do it alone and we don’t have to. You will never be alone because the superheroes will look for you too!

Step 2: Be kind

Be kind to the earth, the oceans, to plants, to animals, to rocks, to mountains.

Don’t break, hurt or kill things when you don’t need to.

Grow food and let things grow.

Step 3: Buy less

You don’t need more toys. You don’t need more clothes. Choose less packaging. Reassure your adults that you have enough stuff.

Try sharing or borrowing instead of buying.

Step 4: Switch things off

Screens are okay but don’t need to be on all day. We don’t need heaters or lights all day.

Use things when you need to, but not when you don’t.

Help mum, dad and other carers by being someone who can walk or catch the bus with them.

Step 5: Speak up

When it is safe to, tell people what you think and what you know.

Know that your voice is as important as an adult’s.

Grow up to be someone brave enough to tell leaders when they are wrong.

Maybe we need new leaders. Maybe you?

Step 6: Look after your body

Be strong to walk, cycle, help others, grow things.

Eat the food with not much plastic.

Choose food that has done less travelling, is fresher, more crunchy and more juicy.

Keep air safe so we can all breathe freely.

Step 7: Love people who are different from you

Some different people might be superheroes too. Some might become superheroes if you are their friend.

Blame the greedy bosses, not people with different skin, different languages or different families.

Every person deserves a healthy, safe world with us.

Let’s work together. You can’t do it all by yourself. We can ALL do it together.

You can follow Stef at She Calls Me.

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