What Can You Tell a 17 Year Old Who’s Afraid of Dying from Climate Change? Part 2

What to learn, how to think, how to live

Steve Genco
7 min readAug 31, 2023

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Another screen grab from the video game Fallout 4, This is how many young people today imagine their future.

I originally published this post as one long article, but decided to divide it into two slightly more bite-sized pieces. In Part 1, we considered two questions anyone wanting to survive the 21st Century must answer for themselves:

  • What predictions can you rely on?
  • What will give your life meaning?

In this second part of the post, we dive into practicalities:

  • What skills and mental habits will you need?
  • How will you live?

What skills and mental habits will you need?

So how do you go about creating a life of autonomy, competence, and belonging? You plan your life around goals and activities that make you more self-sufficient, knowledgeable, and socially connected. In a world of cascading climate crises, shortages, and social and political unrest, people who can think for themselves, have useful practical skills, and are connected to a like-minded community, are going to have significant advantages over the cult followers, the totally-unprepared, and the socially isolated.

I have five suggestions for skills and mental habits worth acquiring as our fossil fuel-dependent civilization stumbles into the rest of this century:

Develop a resilient mindset

Probably the most important capacity you will need to survive the 21st Century is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to keep going in the face of obstacles and setbacks. Psychologists have found is that resilience is closely related to the three traits of self-determination described in Part 1. Resilient people tend to be self-sufficient (autonomy), confident in their skills and abilities (competence), and surrounded by resilient families and communities (belonging). In addition, they tend to be more optimistic, proactive, creative, deliberative (vs. impulsive) and curious than individuals who display less resilience under stressful circumstances (source).

Your capacity for resilience and your ability to…

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Steve Genco

Steve is author of Intuitive Marketing (2019) & Neuromarketing for Dummies (2013). He holds a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University.