Children, Youth, and Future Generations

Middle-aged white grandfather with 2 grandchildren

ecoAmerica’s founder and President, Bob Perkowitz, often shares photos and videos of his grandchildren saying, “They are why I do this work.” Many, if not most, adults working on climate solutions say something similar. People of faith are the best to lead on climate because we understand that we are called for holy purposes which does not prioritize an easy comfortable life for ourselves. We are called by our faith to lift up the lowly, to feed the hungry, clothe the sick, work for peace with justice, care for God’s good earth, support elderly, and protect children.

Before I was a pastor, I was a mother, and before I was a mother, I was a teacher. Children and youth continue to be central to my life and my work. In all of my roles, I have become increasingly aware of the mental health crisis for children and youth in the US. As a pastor, I was often the first person struggling families and young people came to for help. I have journeyed with individuals and families through addiction issues, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, severe mental illness, gender and sexuality issues, suicidal thoughts and more. And climate change intersects with and compounds problems with mental well-being.

Middle-aged white grandfather with 2 grandchildren

Pollution, extreme weather, higher temperatures, and physical/emotional trauma can affect children’s development before birth, and may accumulate significant mental health impacts as a child ages. Young people are also impacted by the mental health stresses of their caregivers and the perceived lack of action on climate by leaders. Children and youth today are growing up with grave concerns about what the future holds for them and those to follow.

There has never been a more important time to support children and youth and the One Home One Future is supporting congregations to do just that. This might include getting to know the children and youth in your congregation, talking honestly about climate change with them, listening to their concerns, validating their feelings, including them in creation care and climate actions, and providing opportunities for them to get outside and experience joy. Supporting children and youth is an important part of how we are called to live out our faith, and being with them is good for our souls as well!

Children walking in the woods

Join One Home One Future for ongoing support for congregations and faith leaders on topics and issues that intersect with creation care and climate justice. Download the Guide for Faith Leaders for yourself and others in your networks for more information, and for more in-depth information by age and resources, read Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Children and Youth Report 2023.

About the Author:
Rev. Carol Devine, Blessed Tomorrow Director

Additional Resources:

Watch the American Climate Leadership Awards 2024

Watch the 2024 American Climate Leadership Awards for High School Students

Join the Campaign: One Home One Future

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Children and Youth Report 2023

Blessed Tomorrow Resources

Blessed Tomorrow – Ambassador Training

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