Envision Planet Protection.
Planetary healing will take at least 3-4 decades: this process requires collective responsibility. It is not acceptable to think that the younger generations should take the whole load of work, nor that it should be in the hands of those who have neglected it in the past. Intergenerational coordination is a necessary element to ensure that realistic, long-term, regenerative solutions are sought and applied.
The coordination among generations is not so obviously achievable in a societal structure that is competitive, individualistic and prioritises adults’ democratic participation. But ignored remain the voices of the youth, those who will have to live with the consequences of the choices that are being taken without their consent, and of the elderly, who have already committed many mistakes upon which we could all reflect and have experienced a different lifestyle, more in tune with the Nature rhythms.
Hence, bringing these two marginalised groups together can promote a broader dialogue that can lead to finding better solutions to the climate emergency. Let’s not make the mistake of overlooking the experience and energy that grandma Astrid is bringing to the civil disobedience actions of the group Extinction Rebellion Aarhus, Denmark, nor the perseverance of youngsters like Greta Thunberg, who as a teenager has initiated a global climate movement.
Yet in intergenerational care homes, it is not only mutual care that is shared: kids who find themselves being insatiable sponges to life events can get together with people who have already had many of those experiences. Together, they can reflect on the visible, devastating changes that have happened in a few decades and on the possible future responses of today’s actions. They empathise and develop a love for the place they happen to share – planet Earth – and so a natural sense of responsibility for protecting their Mother in danger.
Not only, but elderly – who used to live in a directly dependent relation with Nature in rural contexts – can transmit their knowledge in the field of farming and local production, helping also to mitigate the longing for exotic, unfair products by sharing their insight in times during which less was more, or less was all that was left.
And if kids and elderly can learn so much from each other, what is the role of the intermediate generation in this relation?