Thursday, March 15, 2007

Eco-alarmism: it's giving kids nightmares

"[Scientists should consider stretching the truth] to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."

By Stephen H. Schneider, Prof., Dept. of Biological Sciences and Sr. Fellow Inst. for International Studies, Stanford University

For professor Schneider, the promotion of anxiety and fear around the issue of global warming is presented as if he was performing some sort of public service. Nevertheless, it seems that the idea of capturing the 'public's imagination' by offering 'scary scenarios' and 'dramatic statements' appear to have been more successful than Schneider could have possibly imagined. Indeed, a recent survey of 1,150 children between that ages of 7 and 11 are staying up at nights panicking about cataclysmic global warming.

A quarter of those kids surveyed actually blamed climate change on politicians. One in 10 kids questioned thought that recycling had something to do with riding a bicycle, and one in 7 thought their parents weren't doing enough to 'save the planet'. Even if we put some of the dodgy inaccuracies to one side, there is one thing we can be certain of, and that is, alarmist, one-sided, brain-numbing environmental propaganda, is having detrimental effects on the lives of British children in the here and now. Moreover, the situation looks set, in the near future, to get much worse.

Climate change alarmists like Schneider, Al Gore, or George Monbiot (to name just a few), have spent the past decade forcing global warming nightmares down children’s throats. Now surprise, surprise, children are having real nightmares about the hypothetical problems relating to global warming. If anything, as Lee Jones rightfully argued, this 'should be a wake-up call for all the purveyors of the ‘politics of fear’. However, the UK education secretary Alan Johnson has more eco-brainwashing plans for manipulating, and micromanaging the lives of British children. The plans are part of a new major review of the secondary school curriculum, with an added new emphasis on... you guessed it - climate change.

According to Mr Johnson, serious 'threats to the planet will remain if we don't take further action'. In a commentary piece for The Independent, ominously entitled 'Children must think differently', Mr Johnson argued that if 'we can instil in the next generation an understanding of how our actions can mitigate or cause global warming then we lock in a culture change that could, quite literally, save the world'. Sounds great, all this tampering with the school curriculum will 'quite literally, save the world!' Or will it?

The sociologist Frank Furedi argues that Mr Johnson's title of, education secretary, is in fact 'something of a misnomer'. Furedi points out that Johnson appears more preoccupied 'with using the classroom to transmit the latest and most fashionable prejudices'. It does appear as if Johnson cannot leave the school curriculum alone - for Johnson is not really interested in the academic discipline of geography, he appears much more interested in turning the school curriculum upside-down as a part of his green moral crusade.

I'll leave the last words to Alice, a seemingly frightened 10 year old from Plymouth, who wrote in to CBBC Newsround programme to talk about what scares her and keeps her awake at night - I wonder where she got this idea from?

"I fear that the gases all around me that are poisining our earth and atmosphere can either kill me or kill anmials while we sleep because if that's what they're doing to the earth they could do it to me!"

Read on:

Change or die - by PD Smith. The Guardian. 2006.

Be afraid, be very afraid... no, don't - by professor Frank Furedi. 2005.