Climate change, climate crisis and telling children the truth.

Climate change, climate crisis and talking to our children. Truth telling. It sounds so easy, it sounds so natural. Are we doing them a disservice by telling them half-truths? And what if the truth actually scares us, us as adults? There are no instruction books for everything that we go through in life. We frequently tend to act on instinct and hopefully learn from past experiences.

That happens a lot when it comes to unpleasant events. The instruction book for how to talk to your children about unexpected events isn’t always readily available, if one even exists. The key word here is ‘unexpected’. There is no pause button for the time to do the research in how to explain the unexpected.

But what we are talking about now is not something that is ‘unexpected’. Climate change has been with us for a long time. The science has been very clear about it. The unfortunate part, is that it is now a crisis. And a crisis that even for adults, is hard to grasp. So how do we talk to our children about it without freaking them out even though for a lot of us adults, we ourselves, are ‘freaking out’?

I turned to the Executive Director of “Climate Mama” and the author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change: Turning Angst into Action, Harriet Shugarman. Harriet’s goal over the last many years is apolitical. And her book directly addresses this goal: to help parents have the conversation with their children about climate change and the fact that we are facing a crisis. Our children are facing a very different future than ours. How do we have the conversation and still maintain hope for ourselves and our children?

Book Cover

A podcast episode with Harriet Shugarman

A sought after speaker on solutions to the climate crisis, here’s a glimpse into this hopeful and inciteful episode with Harriet:

  • Harriet’s beginning and her journey
  • It is a crisis
  • Maintaining our own hope and that of our children
  • Talking to children at various stages of life
  • Actions do speak louder than words
  • Truth is easier to deal with
  • Actions that we can take to tackle the climate crisis together

Founded in 2009, ClimateMama is an on-line community reaching individuals in over 110 countries and 50 states. You can listen to our conversation click here.

Harriet is a professor of Global Climate Change Policy and World Sustainability and Chair of the Climate Reality Project, NYC Metro Chapter. She is a climate policy advisor with many years of experience when it comes to activism on the climate crisis.  In 2017, Harriet received the Climate Reality Green Ring Award and she is featured in Al Gore’s 2017 book, An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power. Harriet was selected as a 2020 New York City Climate Hero and a 2019 featured speaker at the Global Engagement Summit at United Nations Headquarters. She spent 13 years working with the International Monetary Fund including 10 years as an IMF representative at the United Nations.

All profits from the sale of How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change will go to support parent, youth and teacher projects on education, advocacy and outreach on the climate crisis. For more information go to