Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Dr. Willie Soon; Climate scientist Marji Puotinen hard at work recruiting the next generation of child soldiers for the climate movement.
Kids Care About Climate Change With Colorful Drawings
A gigantic banner helps spread the message globally.
ByMary Jo DiLonardo
Published December 27, 2021 10:00AM EST
There’s a giant banner traveling the world, spreading the message about how kids care about climate change. The banner is a colorful patchwork of more than 2,600 drawings made by children from 33 countries.
The drawings were entries in an international drawing contest where kids were asked to depict how trees help cool the Earth and how this helps protect penguins, coral reefs, and people. A tree has been planted for every drawing entered in the “Kids Care About Climate Change” contest.
The banner is a whopping 23 feet high by 14 feet wide (7 meters by 4.2 meters) and was recently on display at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
The competition was created by Marji Puotinen, a geographer and research scientist in Perth, Australia, who studies the impact of natural disturbances like hurricanes on the world’s coral reefs. She’s part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program that is working to help the Great Barrier Reef survive with short-term interventions while the world is reducing carbon emissions.
“Perhaps even more important than the above is that I am a mother of three kids who deserve a safe planet on which to grow up and live. Therefore, the drawing contest that produced the GIANT banners is part of what I do unpaid in my spare time, involving my own kids as much as possible,” Puotinen tells Treehugger.
“The goal of displaying and filming the giant banner is to amplify the voices of the kids as expressed by their drawings, to show them how one drawing they do may not be noticed but by joining together with other kids around the world, a greater impact can result,” Puotinen says.
“It is also to inspire and empower the adults around these kids, who might struggle to find a way to act on climate on their own but find it easier and more fulfilling to do so in cooperation with their children. Within this goal, we especially wanted to bring the giant banner to COP26 to remind delegates and world leaders of their obligation to achieve results for climate justice for kids and people around the world that did little to cause the climate crisis yet are being affected the most.”
Treehugger magazine seems excited by evidence that children can influence their parents’ responses to climate messages (from the first link above, “how kids care about climate change“).
Children Influence Their Parents’ Opinions on Climate Change
A study has found that kids exposed to climate change science at school use it to convince their parents of the issue’s urgency.
Before 16-year-old Greta Thurnberg began her now-famous climate activism, skipping school on Fridays to sit in front of the Swedish parliament with a sign that read, “School Strike for Climate,” she started with her parents. She presented facts and documentaries, sharing everything she’d learned, until they relented and acknowledged the truth in what she’d said. Greta told the Guardian, “After a while, they started listening to what I actually said. That’s when I realized I could make a difference.”
It turns out, parents aren’t as set in their ways as one might think, and a child can be a profound influencer. A new study from the University of North Carolina, published May 6 in Nature Climate Change journal, set out to discover just how effective children are at changing their parents’ minds – and the answer is very.
The researchers found that children do bring home what they’ve learned at school and communicate it to their parents, engaging in ways that spur parents to reconsider their views. This is partly due to the trust that exists between parents and children, making it easier to talk about an emotionally-charged issue such as climate change. Over the years, both the control and experimental groups developed more concern about climate change, but the change was most pronounced in families where children were taught the curriculum.
The abstract of the study is even worse (from 2019).
Children can foster climate change concern among their parents
The collective action that is required to mitigate and adapt to climate change is extremely difficult to achieve, largely due to socio-ideological biases that perpetuate polarization over climate change. Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action. Child-to-parent intergenerational learning—that is, the transfer of knowledge, attitudes or behaviours from children to parents—may be a promising pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern. Here we present an experimental evaluation of an educational intervention designed to build climate change concern among parents indirectly through their middle school-aged children in North Carolina, USA. Parents of children in the treatment group expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group. The effects were strongest among male parents and conservative parents, who, consistent with previous research, displayed the lowest levels of climate concern before the intervention. Daughters appeared to be especially effective in influencing parents. Our results suggest that intergenerational learning may overcome barriers to building climate concern.
I’m personally appalled about efforts by climate activists to recruit children to their cause, to exploit the special relationship kids have with their parents to spread their climate doomsday message.
Climate indoctrination efforts like Marji’s could be driving an emotional wedge between some parents and their children, and raising anxiety levels in families, especially if the parents do not wholeheartedly embrace the urgent climate messages the children have been indoctrinated to deliver. There is evidence climate anxiety is destroying the lives of some young people, pushing some kids towards self destructive behaviours like hard drug abuse.
I’m not suggesting Marji wants to hurt anyone, physically or otherwise – but please stop.
Worse consequences than the tragic destruction of individual lives are possible. The dangerous seeds planted by well meaning do gooders like Marji, the idea that the world is in peril, that parents are wrong and must be re-educated about climate change, could be nurtured and exploited by the enemies of freedom and democracy.
Every tyrannical movement in history targeted the kids, because kids are mentally vulnerable. Most kids, especially very young kids, don’t have mature critical thinking skills, skills which might allow them to evaluate and reject climate indoctrination.
For example, Mao’s cultural revolution was driven by teenagers, kids who had wholeheartedly swallowed the indoctrination and lies they had been fed, which turned them into communist fanatics who in some cases were willing to murder their own parents, after their parents failed to embrace the extreme political beliefs the children tried to share.
Well meaning teachers, some of whom helped plant the seeds of Maoism, found themselves powerless to stop the murderous juggernaut once it was set in motion, and mostly ended up dead if they tried.
Please stop now Marji.