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Talking to your children about climate change

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Wellbeing & Mental Health Wellbeing for kids & teens

With everything else that’s going on at the moment – not to mention the day to day stresses of looking after a family – tackling climate change may not feel like your number one priority at the moment. But research shows that many children and young people are worried about the state of the planet, and some can become very anxious as a result. When children and young people learn about the seriousness of the climate emergency, and at the same time don’t see action from adults to tackle it, they can become worried, frustrated or angry. 

The good news is that as a parent, grandparent or other adult who cares about children, you can play a key role in helping children and young people deal with how they feel about climate change, and it might help us all to know that Scotland is taking action on it. Here are our top tips for meeting children and young people’s questions and feelings about climate.

What is the climate change emergency?

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our future. The temperature of the planet is rising, largely due to carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses produced by human beings. And there are real consequences to this. If global temperatures keep rising at the same rate as they have been, the increase in heat will drive regional and seasonal temperature extremes, reduce snow cover and sea ice, intensify heavy rainfall, and change or destroy habitat ranges for plants and animals. This will change our planet in ways that’ll affect us all. In Scotland, we’re already seeing the impacts. Over the past few years we’ve experienced high rainfall, flooding and extremely high winter temperatures. 

In order to tackle this, we all need to work together to reduce emissions. It’s up to everyone – from governments and businesses to individual people – to take action.

What are we doing in Scotland to tackle climate change?

Scotland has set an ambitious target to become 'Net Zero' by 2045. This means the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere – and the amount we're able to take out – will add up to zero. Being 'Net Zero' will help transform the way we live for the better, making Scotland a healthier, cleaner, safer, fairer place for us and for generations to come.

You can find out more about this and what you can do to help at the Net Zero Nation website.

Tips for talking to your children about the climate emergency

Top tips for helping the planet

The good news is that helping the planet helps your finances too. Here are some simple steps you can take to help reduce emissions and save money too.

More information

For more advice on talking to your kids about climate change and taking action, check out the Our Kids Climate website. You could also watch this webinar, which brings together psychologists, teachers, authors and climate-parent activists to talk about how to support children through a changing climate.

Last updated: 17 Aug, 2023