What do northern grandparents worry about?

Author:Robinson, David

If someone says "I am a trucker," you expect to hear about something about trucks. If you hear "I'm a businessman (or woman)," you expect a conversation about a problem for businesses. And if I say "I'm a grandfather," what do you think I am worrying about?

As I ramble around, I hear grandparents worrying about the world they are leaving for their grandchildren. This is just anecdotal evidence; there is no survey saying climate change is the top worry for most grandparents in Northern Ontario. But I believe that it is becoming a very serious concern. Groups of grandparents all over the world are desperately trying to promote climate action. Psychiatrists all over the world are talking about "climate anxiety" among young people. Young adults are deciding not to have children because the future looks so dark. No wonder grandparents worry about their grandchildren.

The link between grandparent and grandchild is an arrow pointing at the future. For most of human history, that future looked pretty much like the past that grandparents knew. Today, that future threatens to be different in ways that we grandparents have never experienced.

Grandparents still rule the world. We range in age from 30 to 110. Pollsters tell us this is the group most likely to vote. We have entered fully into the age of political participation. What grandparents say goes. Forget the millennials--they vote less and, to be honest, they know less. They are not the ones who are making the decisions that matter. Forget Greta and the youth movement. They have a message but they don't have the power.

The question is what is a poor grandparent to do when faced with a global emergency? And, in particular, what is a Northern Ontario grandparent to do?

We can join a group like 4RG (For Our Grandchildren) a Toronto organization. We can write our MPs, buy an electric car, or stop eating meat. These are all useful, but we in Northern Ontario have a special responsibility. We have to redesign the Northern Ontario economy. Who else can do it?

Just as the elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the elders of our First Nations communities, and the aldermen of our local councils have been given the job of providing wisdom and guidance to their communities, we northern grandparents have to help find the way for our communities and our region.

Here in Northern Ontario the two biggest...

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