Saturday, 16 March 2019

"I don't want all the trees and birds to die!"

was the hysterical cry from a five year old yesterday. 
I don't know what was going on at school and neither does his mother. She was still trying to work it out, even after talking to the teacher.
His mother was also angry - and rightly so. The smallest children in this school had not been expected to attend yesterday's "climate rally" but they had been "given information about climate change".
Now yes,  we need to be concerned about the environment - very concerned. Yes, we also need to be doing something about it.
But we don't need to be frightening small children who simply don't understand by telling them that all the trees and birds are going to die. 
No, it probably wasn't put quite like that but that is how the child understood it. The frightening thing is that he comes from a household which does care about these things. His parents built a house about eight or nine years ago. It was designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. There are solar panels on the roof. There is rainwater catchment. The garden is designed to be low maintenance  but still green and water friendly. It has features designed to reduce electricity consumption. 
They do have a car but his parents cycle or use public transport to get to work. As a family they are doing the right thing - perhaps even a bit over-the-top right thing.
What is more his parents have talked about these things. They thought their five year old understood.
    "Now I realise he still has no real idea," his mother told me, "And I have to deal with ideas from the school that are obviously designed to frighten him."
Had the teacher said that all the trees and birds would die? Apparently his teacher had said that this "could" happen if people didn't do the right thing. 
I find that a totally unacceptable thing to be telling small children. 

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