Instil urgency, without scaring them
In some ways, I don’t think discussing climate change with your kids is that different than with adults. You want to instil a sense of urgency in them, change their behaviour and get them to be part of the solution. At the same time, you don’t want to scare them.
When adults fear something, they often pretend it’s not there. Most will do the same thing and continue their lives as normal, justifying their inaction by deciding their role is too small to be significant and hoping somebody else will sort it all out.
The way to navigate this is by coming up with solutions. It’s easy to note that a problem exists, but then you must match it with an answer. For example, taking the school bus, cycling or walking to school, or eating less meat than other families – things like that are easy to bring up with your children. And as they get older, they’ll start to understand the numbers and the connection between the scale of what we’re facing and our behaviour.
Being a role model is also important when broaching the topic of climate change (and anything else, really). You can’t impose behaviours on others you don’t match yourself. If I’m leading an expedition, I can’t send off the men and women I’m with to do all the dangerous stuff. I have to fall in just the same as them – otherwise, you lose respect very quickly. I see parenting as the same.