What kind of world am I bringing my child into?

Photography: Captured by Kate

By Deborah Hide-Bayne

Sometimes I think about my son’s adult life – his mature years on Planet Earth – a destination he will slowly journey to, and one day in that imagined future, I won’t be with him anymore. Right now, that’s a scary thought for both of us. Without me and his dad by his side, he will face challenges and uncertainties I can’t even imagine… what can I do to feel less helpless?

Climate anxiety is a ‘thing’ these days, and I, for one, feel it strongly. 

After a second wave of COVID-19 hit New Zealand, I’m feeling worried and if I am honest, I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed… Some days I just feel ridiculously anxious about climate change, plastic pollution, pesticides in my food, water shortages, and now this. I’m suddenly adding my family’s short-term financial security and health to the list, and it all feels too much.

The anxiety sits in my chest; my breathing feels shallow. I’m angry that people are so selfish and try to break out of quarantine putting us all at risk, I’m worried that my family will be affected and I feel guilty for feeling the way I do (when I know that I am so lucky to be living in a prosperous country with an enlightened leader at its helm).

Trying to remember all those yoga breathing techniques and meditation workshops that I’ve done over the years, I stop typing and go outside and just sit for a while… today the sunshine is bright, the sky is a beautiful duck egg blue and spring plants are growing in my little veggie patch. I sit quietly and then stretch and breathe a full slow breath for the first time today.

Being outside improves my mood, I am aware of all the energy of the natural world and deep down I know that zoning out, feeling helpless or feeling guilty isn’t going to make anything better in my son’s future.

I need to turn my guilt into responsibility.

There are a million small ways I can alter my lifestyle to support a healthier planet… I get a paper and pencil (not my phone for once) and make a list of the things I’m already doing and the things I can do better. 

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