Parents with kids of any age know that raising teenagers is always an adventure, but doing so amid several distinct global crises — including dual pandemics of COVID-19 and a nationwide reckoning with systemic racism, the rise of mis- and disinformation on social media, and the worsening climate crisis — and it’s enough to make any parent want to curl up in the fetal position and weep silently.
In a new interview with PORTER, Net-a-Porter’s digital title, Cate Blanchett explained how she’s tackling such tough topics with her four children, all of whom are 20 and under. Naturally, she’s doing so with a hefty dose of humor, but Blanchett is keeping it real, revealing that talking about climate change is “a terrible conversation to have with your 13-year-old.”
The actress, a longtime environmental activist, shared why it’s so important for her to discuss real world issues with her four children: her sons Dashiell, 20, Roman, 17, Ignatius, 13, and six-year-old daughter, Edith — particularly as she promotes her forthcoming Netflix movie, Don’t Look Up, a political satire. “People have to vote and exercise their power,” she says. “I’m sounding like I’m on a soapbox, which I’m not interested in, but it’s important to not give in. I’m not giving up hope. As I say to my kids [on climate change], if we’re going out, how do we choose to go out? It’s a terrible conversation to have with your 13-year-old, isn’t it? But anyway. We do laugh around the dinner table. That’s what’s good about Adam [McKay, the director of Don’t Look Up]’s film. You have to laugh.”
All jokes aside, though, Blanchett is serious about the gravity of global climate change. “Everyone is trying to be positive, talking about 1.5 degrees of global warming. But 1.5 would still be disastrous. We need to be fucking scared… and demand change. Be collectively courageous enough to face that fear and do something about it.”
Even though there’s a wide age range between her four kids, Blanchett is all about having open and honest conversations about the importance of media scrutiny and not immediately believing every salacious headline or juicy tweet. “[We talk about it] a lot,” she says. “Because so much of our so-called information comes through social media. I’m old enough to have been taught at school what a primary, secondary and tertiary source is. I say to the children when they mention something, ‘Where did you read it? Who has [authenticated] that? You have to learn how to read an image and article. And if you’re going to share something, you’d better make sure you have checked the sources.'”
As expected, she shares that her kids react the way any kids of their ages might. “Of course, they roll their eyes,” she admits. “But when you hear them talk to their friends, I think they’re responsible. My son is studying physics and philosophy, so he is really interesting to talk to about [technology]. I don’t want to become a separated generation, because I also feel responsible for the landscape he is about to emerge into as an adult.”
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