This is what my daughter Lara asked me at dinner the other night. She seemed to contemplate “giving up” and just accepting that we are doomed. Wow… My first thought was, where did she get this? Probably some sensationalist TikTok, but she told me that it was her science teacher who told her in class. He presented his theory to the class that it was too late to do something about climate change. So, trying to answer Lara’s question, I had to think for a moment. Unfortunately, when we turn to the news, we see reports about droughts, floodings, hurricanes and other extreme weather events almost daily. To a certain degree, my daughter’s teacher was right. We are late. 2023 is on its way to being the hottest year in history and the effects of climate change are already very visible. Even if you are not “hit” by extreme weather events, it is easy to notice a change in long established weather patterns. It is either too hot or too cold at unusual times of the year. It rains too much or too little and winters tend to be either extreme or non-existent. But on the other hand, I must disagree with Lara’s teacher. It is not too late. On the contrary, now is the time to act. The first thing I told my daughter was to “never ever give up”. That is not an option. The situation might be difficult already, but we are still in time to avoid total Armageddon. The rest of the dinner we talked about what she, as a 14-year-old teenager, can do to help reduce the impacts of climate change. We talked about food, stuff, clothes, transportation, air travel and making your voice heard. We had pasta with chicken for dinner that night and it allowed us to have a conversation about meat versus a plant-based diet. It is common knowledge that red meat is the big villain of climate change. We agreed to have more vegetarian nights and even though we love to BBQ on the weekends, reduce our hamburgers and chorizos. We talked about buying stuff, stuff that we probably don’t really need and that breaks quickly therefore is quickly thrown away. I feel very strong about buying better quality items versus more. I told Lara about my experience with Patagonia and how when the zippers on my 30-year-old winter jacket were broken, they fixed it without charge. I hope to be using the same jacket for the rest of my life. Lara is a teenager and loves to shop for clothes. However, according to some friends that have researched the textile industry, it is one of the most unsustainable industries. The good thing is that she loves thrift stores which means “reusing” and Lara also agreed to see if she can reduce the amount of clothes that she buys in general. I suggested 50% but that part may need a bit more convincing. Lara has asked us repeatedly that she would like us to take her and pick her up from school by car. Many of her friends get picked up by their parents. Lara takes the bus, and it means that she must get up at 5:30 am every day while her friends can sleep 30 to 45 minutes longer. We agreed that it would be a good idea to carpool or to convince her friends to take the bus. Air travel is something where our family has a big footprint. Our family members are spread out around the globe and our biggest passion is to travel. We discussed that topic as well. For the past 10 years, we have been offsetting our air travel by planting many trees. We make an effort to book direct flights and support airlines with modern efficient fleets. We did not come up with a conclusion here and we are probably not the only family that is struggling with this topic. Something that we will discuss further in one of my next blogs. The final topic was about making your voice heard. My wife and I asked Lara to speak up if there is an issue that she feels strongly about and that could make an impact in reducing climate change. For example, the exploration of fossil fuels instead of investing in renewables and the building of massive real estate developments in environmentally sensitive areas. In the end, I was thankful to the teacher for bringing this up in class, so we had such an interesting and productive dinner conversation. Bottom line: Never give up and every bit counts - it is not too late. Let me know if you have had similar experiences with your kids. I would love to hear about it: Hans Pfister, firstname.lastname@example.org.