The following conversation on climate change took place between Atta Dawahare (father) and Maysun Dawahare (daughter) on February 3, 2017 at 7:07 p.m.
A: My name is Atta Dawahare, and I am 41 years old. I am sitting here with …
M: Me, because you already know who I am. (Whispers) so what’s the point?
A: Say your name and age.
M: I am Maysun Dawahare, and I am 10 years old, and I am about to be 11, so yeah.
A: Maysun, when someone says “climate change,” what does that mean to you?
M: Like, what do I think?
M: I think about how I don’t like that things are getting warmer—like a lot warmer, and then colder.
A: The temperatures are getting more extreme.
M: I just want it to be normal.
A: What do you think will be the impact of the more extreme temperatures on the world? What difference does it make?
M: In Antarctica things are melting, and there are a lot of animals that need the ice to live. They might go extinct because they do not have a habitat or home.
A: The decisions that my generation and the previous generations have made are ones that have greatly affected the environment. These effects are going to continue to be felt even more profoundly in your lifetime. What is your take on how my generation and your grandparents’ generation have dealt with climate change?
M: I don’t like how they have handled it, but then again, some of them do not even know it is happening. I feel like once they dis-covered climate change, they should have done more to protect against it. It’s their problem. They did it. They should have done something instead of having their children and children’s children deal with it.
A: What are your thoughts on having to deal with how my generation and previous generations have disregarded the environ-ment? Your generation will have to deal with the negative impact in your lifetime. The weather will be a lot warmer. Like you mentioned earlier, the ice caps are melting, leading to the oceans rising, and coastal cities may be flooded.
M: It is really sad because so much of our history will be lost. Although maybe in the future they can build domes over the cities so people could live underwater.
A: That is interesting. You are proposing to think of ways to preserve and protect places before they are destroyed.
M: It would take a while though. I don’t think they would be able to do it in time.
A: If indeed we are not able to preserve these places, a lot of people will be displaced from their homes. What are your thoughts on how to help people as that happens?
M: People will probably not have money to move, so the prices of places to live should be dropped so that people without homes can have a place to go. If we don’t provide housing, many more people will be homeless. It is really wrong.
A: How important is it to you that we prioritize making plans now to help people who will be in need because of what is happen-ing?
M: Very important. It is also very scary at the same time. Many people may die. It could even make it hard for anyone to live in the world because it could get too hot or too cold. People should start realizing the weather is changing. We need to start preparing for things. We may all have to move into a single place. Everyone around the world needs to know. We should stop the wars for unimportant things because climate change is really a lot bigger.
A: How are you feeling right now as we talk about this?
M: As I think about it, I feel a little scared, but then I feel like I am kind of upset about everybody who is fighting for things that are not really important. They should start realizing that other people need to have homes because people have and will continue to lose them.
A: We—as a community, as a country, and as a species—need to start changing the way we think not only about climate but also about money and housing. We should share our resources to provide for everyone’s basic needs.
M: We need to start giving instead of taking.
A: That is truly the way forward.