I read The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells recently, and despite its title, it is hopeful that we can actually do something to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change. Late in the book he writes about Copernicus who found that the Earth revolves around the sun and how this fact, to some extent, consigned humans to the periphery of the then known universe. This, he asserts is what happens to men with the birth of children and then grandchildren. The reason this made an impression on me was because we had to mind our 3-year-old grandson for a few days while his parents were at a Covid-19 restricted hospital delivering his little brother. We love the little fellow dearly and he is a delightful little boy; almost always with a smile on his face, and ready to giggle at grandpa’s or grandma’s jokes or silly faces. However, there were a few times where he cried and said ‘I want Daddy’ or ‘I want Mummy’, and we had to try to placate him by saying that Daddy will be back in a couple of days but he is at the hospital with Mummy getting (?) your little brother. It did placate him to some extent, but it made me realise that grandparents are in the outer ring of a child’s world. That realisation was a bit hard to take, but it is the way things are and always will be. Grandparents need to just enjoy being in that world in whatever capacity they can. In addition, parents and grandparents need to make sure that the world we leave our children and grandchildren is habitable.
Wallace-Wells, D. 2019. The uninhabitable Earth: a story of the future. Allen Lane, 310p.