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Raising Children, Glaciers, and Travel

By: Shaun Tanner , 10:38 PM GMT on May 20, 2014

With the understanding that climate change is causing some elements of Earth to change or disappear, what would you visit before it is gone or changed irreparably?

My wife and I are constantly wondering how we can be better parents by showing our children how to enjoy the Earth. To be quite honest, we have failed many times. We are often in a internal battle in juggling the insanely tough task of being a good parent with work and the other crazy attention-grabbers of the modern world. Last week, my wife showed me a video of Alex Chacon, who travelled the world for 600 days with the aim of helping charities that work with children. Throughout his journey, he took selfies using his GoPro, and then stitched them all together to make this great video. Watch it below:

After watching the video, I remarked to my wife how much I admire this man for going through this self-journey. She replied with three words, "Let's do it."

Here's the problem. I enjoy being at home. I really do. Perhaps that stems from going on few vacations as a child and thus happily being comfortable at home. As such, I have only been to three countries outside of the United States. Two of these countries are neighbors (Canada and Mexico), while the third country is in Africa. I know what you're thinking...North America and Africa? Well, let me just say that the trip to Africa had a definite agenda and purpose for going.

My wife, on the other hand, has always had a desire to travel. While that desire has waned somewhat since we've been married (sure blame it on me, I can take it), she still has her moments where she'll look at the kids and me and say, "let's get out of here." She's travelled to Sweden twice (once with an 18-month-old and pregnant), lived in Paris for a short amount of time, travelled throughout Europe, and babysat me on our two trips to Africa. Psychologists would say that it is a no-brainer that the two of us got together.

So, after watching the video, I told her that if we were to do something like it, I have two requirements. First, there needs to be a purpose. If I am going to travel, I want to be able to have a reason for it. I can easily sit by a pool or in a hotel room here in California. I have little need for traveling to a country just to do tourist stuff or to see the inside of a hotel. Second, the kids have to be involved. I don't want my kids to be comfortable at home. Well, that isn't necessarily true. I want my kids to feel comfortable exploring the world and not be fearful that their friends will call them a neophobe (yes, my friends call me that).

So, the gauntlet has been set. We need a purpose, and we need an itinerary that is possible for a 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and 2-year-old. I know, it may sound impossible. But it is amazing how much children can comprehend. We are not scared of taking our children to new places in far away lands.

So what would be our purpose? After thinking about it for a few minutes, it came to me. I have always lamented that my children would not be able to play in the same amount of Sierra Nevada snow that I enjoyed as a child. Over the past several years, snowfall has been declining in the Sierras, and every time we travel up to our family's cabin, there is way more bare ground than white. No doubt, climate change is at least somewhat of a player. What else will my children miss out on 20 years from now because climate change and human selfishness has taken it away from us?

So, now our goal is to compile a list of things that may be gone or changed in 20 years due to climate change. I have a definite list in my head, but I wanted to get the ideas from the Weather Underground community as well.

With the understanding that climate change is causing some elements of Earth to change or disappear, what would you visit before it is gone or changed irreparably?

No limits here. Think of the children.

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13. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:11 AM GMT on June 03, 2014
shauntanner has created a new entry.
12. stormygace
5:33 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
Quoting 10. oxnardprof:

I would like to visit glacier national park before it's glaciers disappear in thirty years or sooner. A USGS study predicted that the glaciers could be gone by 2030.

I do have some difficulty with international travel due to the fact that air flights have significant carbine footprints. Although I am planning a tour to Europe, I do ask myself if this is ethically consistent with my concern about climate change.

I HATE those carbine footprints too. They leave MARKS - LOL
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 1111
11. OurayWunder
4:32 PM GMT on May 29, 2014
We chased eclipses with our kids, beginning when they were 5 and 3. We also took them on a geology tour to Iceland a few years later. In between, every summer we backpacked, fished, and climbed with them in Colorado and Wyoming. There are still remnants of glaciers under some moraines here in the San Juans and the mountains remain white into summer. Be sure you enjoy what you can close to home as well as elsewhere on this lovely planet.
Member Since: August 10, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
10. oxnardprof
11:27 PM GMT on May 28, 2014
I would like to visit glacier national park before it's glaciers disappear in thirty years or sooner. A USGS study predicted that the glaciers could be gone by 2030.

I do have some difficulty with international travel due to the fact that air flights have significant carbine footprints. Although I am planning a tour to Europe, I do ask myself if this is ethically consistent with my concern about climate change.
Member Since: November 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
9. marcringuette
6:41 PM GMT on May 27, 2014
The Great Barrier Reef. Not only is it AWESOME, but it might become a bleached skeleton in less than a century because coral is very sensitive to ocean acidification and warming.

I've noticed that travel has a big environmental impact compared to the rest of how I live. So, I'm making fewer, shorter-distance, longer-duration trips. One rule of thumb I use is to act AS IF airfares and gasoline were 3x as expensive as they actually are now. Oof, maybe I won't fly off on that 5-day roundtrip after all. Instead I'll save up my vacation time and spend two months on a sailboat.

Member Since: June 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
8. Skyepony (Mod)
4:40 PM GMT on May 23, 2014
This Map of National Landmarks That Are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change came out recently..

One place on that map, that is in the video you posted, sort of near you, that I've been to & would recommend is Mesa Verde.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 42514
2:05 AM GMT on May 22, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 61068
2:00 AM GMT on May 22, 2014
Greenland ice cap
take them to the edge place there hands upon it
then rtn 20 years from that day
too the same very spot
nice during mid august till early sept
prefect for school going kids and a great beat the heat during the summer
unless of Course its hot there as well
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 61068
5. vis0
7:30 PM GMT on May 21, 2014
   Shrt reply:: What Naga5000 typed, as its not the subject, but how its presented that catches ones imagination.
Enjoy old ruins and do it in a well planned manner so sudden changes which are unavoidable doesn't add discomfort which can break the enjoyment of the trip. In enjoying a trip the brain will take in more info thus learn.
   Loong reply (mainly for new parents that lurk pass by here)::
   IMPORTANT!, i am NOT a parent nor play one on TV (public access yes).
  Was a godfather to 11 (couple of wives would say 13) children.
With the lack of credentials i would say most important is to make sure the "arts & science" ** programs OF LOCAL school be reinstated and/or payed for.
These are the programs that turn the inner gears (Self, Spirit & Soul better known as exercise the body, brain & imagination) of a child to create an self sustaining*** adult

  To me a good adult does not push anything on the children besides the basics.
Once the child knows how to have respect**, save money, plant foods** (even in a big city block association garden), cook & even balance their checking accounts (Show a child the importance or organizing & balance do it as a game w/their toys i.e. where one has 2 boxes the recently played with toys and the idle toys. If toys become unused show kids how they can STILL go to good use as giving them to programs as Toys for tots, of Portlight might have a collection for children that have gone through natural disasters. 
Observe what EACH child like and assist them to their goals.

i have so much more, but then my writing goes towards non weather subjects.

**(weather related)
***a self-staining adult has a more complete conscience not perfect but an open mind to learn through there entire life.

best wishes (careful with translations, certain foods i.e.ghost peppers & BYOBW (Bring/BuyYerOwnBottledWater))
Member Since: December 15, 2006 Posts: 264 Comments: 2629
4. FLwolverine
7:08 PM GMT on May 21, 2014
I agree with Naga. Regardless of what sights have been severely affected by climate change in 20 years, it will be much more difficult and expensive to travel (think: fuel of all kinds more expensive, plus more civil disturbances and insecurity). So go now! My favorite trips have been (in order of time, not preference):

- safari in Kenya. There are probably safer places than Kenya these days but the idea is the same: go see the animals up close and personal before they're driven into extinction by poaching or loss of habitat.

- boat up the inside passage in Alaska, including Glacier Bay National Park. I think this whole ecosystem is going to change dramatically so again, see it now. Check out Lindblad Expeditions for exceptional trips.

- New Zealand. It's a wonderful, unique place. I don't know how quickly AGW will change it, but I'll bet in 20 years, it will be impossibly expensive to travel there.

If it's ever safe to go to Egypt, go there. It makes two things very real: ancient history, and a third world country. Great experience, but I was lucky to go 30 years ago.

Don't dismiss "touristy" things out of hand. There's a reason people have been visiting the coliseum and St Peters in Rome for hundreds of years: those things are part of our cultural history. The key is not to do the silly touristy things (euro-Disney, if that even still exists) and not to do ONLY touristy things.

Just go!
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2714
3. HotToddy62
6:53 PM GMT on May 21, 2014
Terminal Ends of Glaciers in Alaska
The Great Barrier Reef
Member Since: January 9, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
2. Naga5000
6:32 PM GMT on May 21, 2014
I would argue go see the world. Do not limit yourself to climate or weather related topics. Go see Europe, Asia, South America's ruins and rain forests. Take advantage of the ability to see the world and go. :)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 6 Comments: 5723
1. Astrometeor
6:18 PM GMT on May 21, 2014
Though I've never been, the obvious choice: Glacier National Park.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 109 Comments: 11739

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Wunderground Meteorologist Shaun Tanner

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Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.

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