Climate thoughts for today's schoolchildren

Climate thoughts for today's schoolchildren

by Andrew Montford
article from Friday 15, February, 2019

YOU PROBABLY don’t need me to tell you this. You or members of your extended family are the ones who go to school, not me.

There are subjects with a right and a wrong answer: maths and physics for example. There are subjects where you can have a credible opinion, so long as you argue your case well: English literature or modern studies perhaps. And then there are subjects where there are opinions that are allowed and opinions that are not. That’s anything involving the subject of climate change.

You know, as well as I do, that if you say that global warming is not a crisis, or if you argue that we’d be better to ignore it and adapt, it would be an instant fail. It’s just not permissable. There are those who say this is necessary – that the world is getting hotter and hotter and that everything is becoming worse and worse. But is it? It has certainly become a little warmer, but at the same time it has also become better and better. 

The last 50 years has seen the most astonishing reduction in poverty. People are living longer lives, healthier lives, wealthier lives and happier lives. Natural disasters are not getting worse, despite what they  tell you, and their impact becomes smaller every year. The planet is becoming literally greener: all that carbon dioxide we put into the air makes plants grow bigger and stronger, and as agricultural technology improves, we can grow more crops every year.

Not that this doesn’t stop people trying to prevent this happening. In the name of saving us from global warming, some people try to prevent poor people in Africa and South Asia from getting fossil fuels. But without them, they can’t get modern power supplies, which they need to develop businesses, transport and healthcare systems, and environmental health measures such as clean water supplies. We are telling people that they can’t have a proper water supply because their grandchildren might live in a world slightly warmer than today. That’s shameful, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But whatever you do, don’t say so. At least not in school.

But you know that.

So when they encourage you to abandon your lessons and to go on strike today, I’m sure you’ll do as they ask. Go through the motions, toe the line.

But I’m sure you won’t just follow the herd. You know the routine.

Think for yourself. Read, ask questions, learn.

But not in school.

Andrew Montford is deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum. His report on climate change in schools can be read at the GWPF website.

Photo Lorie Shaul via Wikimedia Commons

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