One of the most unjust aspects of climate disruption (and there are many) is that our actions as adults today will have their most severe impact on the lives of generations yet to come, as well as kids alive today who are too young to impact policy—kids like Toma and his friends and their generation the world over. These children have done nothing to create the crisis, but they are the ones who will deal with the most extreme weather—the storms and droughts and fires and rising seas—and all the social and economic stresses that will flow as a result. They are the ones growing up amid a mass extinction, robbed of so much beauty and so much of the companionship that comes from being surrounded by other life-forms.
By the end of the day, we were all completely wiped out. We had seen so much death, so much loss, but my son had also had this special experience. That night, tucking him into bed in our motel room, I said, “Toma, today is the day when you discovered there is a secret world under the sea.” And he just looked up at me with an expression of pure bliss and said, “I saw it.” I burst into tears, some mixture of joy and heartbreak at the knowledge that just as he is becoming aware of this beauty in the world, all this magic, it is being drained away.