Fellows in the News

In the face of potential climate catastrophe, some have questioned whether it’s moral to become a parent — is such a burden fair to the broken planet, or to the child who would inherit it? But Sarah Myhre, a climate scientist in Seattle and the mother of a 6-year-old son, rejects this line of thinking. You can’t save humanity by abandoning it, she says, and these sorts of messages are harmful to the children who are already here.

“Kids are listening to that, and what they hear is that their presence in this world is a violation of the world itself,” she says. “It’s really important to let kids know that they were born into a changing world, that they did not betray the world by being born, and that they are born into a time where they can do profound good and have really transcendent, powerful impacts on the world.”

That is what she’ll tell her son, when he’s old enough to ask about his future; for now, Myhre is focused on helping her son become the strongest, kindest person he can be.

“I believe that the through line for us, as communities, as individuals, is the humanity that we bring to solving problems,” she says. “Our ethic of care, our empathy, our stewardship of one another. And so I think that stewarding that particular aspect of my son’s internal life is really important to me, so that he is coming to the world with a robust, empathetic, integrated sense of self.”

This means that her family prioritizes quality time together, she says. “I have made a large pivot in my life, as a parent, toward the cultivation of joy on a daily basis,” she says. “It’s easy to say and a lot harder to do — because joy requires us to be vulnerable, it requires us to be in the moment.”

 

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