Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sterling Burnett: Alarmist Educators Pressure Children into Fear, Depression

No one is discussing a horrible case of mass child abuse I read about nearly every day. Among the most perverse and dangerous consequences of the “climate delusion” being hyped almost daily by the fake news mass media is the havoc it is wreaking on the health and psychological well-being of children of all ages.

As anyone who has suffered or studied spousal and child abuse knows, physical harm is not the only way people can be abused. Fear, despair, and rage instilled by words is a form of abuse that can cause just as much long-term damage as beatings, cigarette burns, or other forms of physical torture. 

Repeatedly and loudly tell people they are worthless, they are nothing more than a drain on resources, or have no future, and many come to believe it. In turn, they begin to despair, give into hopelessness or depression, exhibit forms of mental illness, or lash out at others and society at large, telling others the same harmful things they’ve been indoctrinated with, continuing the cycle of abuse.

Kids are faced with a near-daily barrage of news stories, in print, online, on the air, and increasingly in the classroom, that their parents and their own lifestyles are killing “Mother Earth.” Children and youths are regularly told humans, collectively, but especially people in industrialized nations, are carbon criminals causing planet-killing climate change, and to save the Earth, people must do with less, give up travel, stop eating certain nutritious foods they like, stop enjoying activities they enjoy that require them to use energy, cars, lights, and boats, and by all means, don’t have children, which are nothing more nor less than waste producers: unnecessary and unwelcome new sources of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the type of abuse being heaped upon kids today.

I’m not joking or exaggerating. NBC News ran a story titled “‘Climate grief:’ The growing emotional toll of climate change,” while Buzzfeed warns of the growing number of people foregoing children out of fear climate change will leave them no viable future. A whole new branch of psychology has arisen to deal with the mental difficulties resulting from publicizing the climate delusion: ecopsychology. If the emotional toll on adults is bad, how much worse is it for youths developing their intellectual and emotional maturity?

Some children, based on the abusive misinformation they are being battered with daily, have responded with rage and rebellion, walking out of school and marching in protests. I’d wager few if any of the youths protesting alleged human climate destruction have ever read any of the actual peer-reviewed literature discussing and debating the causes and potential consequences of climate change, nor have they been taught the history of fossil fuels and how their use has enriched society, expanded agriculture, made modern medicine possible, and resulted in longer lifespans, radically reduced infant mortality, and a huge reduction of poverty, starvation, and malnutrition. Nor have they learned how markets liberated millions of people from daily drudgery, and how fossil fuel use has reduced and reversed environmental destruction. They have been indoctrinated with climate fears based on headlines proclaiming human fossil fuel use, modern society, and the growing human population are using up all the planet’s resources.

The news media promote and highlight climate protests by kids whom most societies have deemed too young, too undeveloped and immature, to enter into contracts, decide whether they should get tattoos or undertake major surgery, get married, smoke, drive, vote, drink alcohol, see an R-rated movie, legally purchase firearms, live on their own, or be held accountable as adults for most crimes. But we are supposed to take their misinformed fears of climate disaster seriously, fears instilled in them by years of abusive hype, indoctrination, misinformation, and one-sided portrayals of climate science and economic theory.

As if the indoctrination has not been thorough enough, radical environmentalists, progressive educators, environmental and education bureaucrats, politically connected green energy and product profiteers, and local, national, and international politicians, in the effort to expand their control over everyone’s daily lives, are pushing to teach climate dogma as part of the core curriculum in government-controlled schools.

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against teaching about climate as part of a general science curriculum including biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Learning about planet Earth, the differences between ecosystems, how their component parts interact, the myriad factors that cause climates to differ and change over time, and how human society has and can contribute to and/or respond to changing climate conditions, locally, regionally, and globally, can prepare kids to better confront whatever societal and climate conditions exist as they enter adulthood. The problem is the climate “education” efforts I’ve seen so far are nothing more than indoctrination: dogmatic repetition of the claim there is a scientific consensus humans are using too many resources and causing dangerous climate change, with the only solution being to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels—what many analysts call the “climate delusion.”

Any hint that the causes and consequences of climate change are still under active debate, or that fossil fuels have value to the environment as well as to people, or that markets have proven to solve environmental problems better than bigger government, all things demonstrably true, are being stripped out of textbooks, study guides, and curricula. Instead of teaching students how to think about issues and how to ask questions, use data to test hypotheses, and use logic to come to conclusions, climate education increasingly teaches children to close their minds and accept uncritically what their teachers tell them.

Author Sanjeev Sabhlok writes, “climate hysteria is a great opportunity to teach children to ask questions,” and I agree, yet that is not how it is being used. Instead, as even the liberal Guardian recently acknowledged, “To date, many attempts to educate the public—and our kids—about climate change have relied on scare tactics that focus on superstorms, massive floods and ominous weather patterns to generate fear.” The latter inhibits true learning and harms kids’ psyches, yet based on my experience with the promotion of climate education in Texas and other states, all we can expect from the expansion of climate education is more fearmongering and agitating for socialism.

For the children’s sake, its long past time to stop promoting the delusional assertion there is a consensus humans are causing catastrophic climate change that will soon leave them scrabbling to survive on a withered husk of a planet (within 10, 12, 50, or 100 years—pick your favorite end-of-the-world expiration date being promoted by various climate charlatans and hucksters). Please stop indoctrinating kids with the lie that only by eschewing their own self-developed and -directed individual hopes and dreams for better lives, and instead ceding control to self-anointed climate seers and czars pushing policies like the Green New Deal or international treaties like the Paris climate accord—which are nothing more than top-down, big government, authoritarian cradle-to-grave programs cloaked in a humanitarian-sounding green veneer—can they save themselves and the planet from doom. Please, for the sake of the children, their mental health, and physical well-being, acknowledge climate change has always happened and will continue to happen, and that human beings, now as in the past, can adapt to those changes and, within broad limits, adapt nature to better serve our ends, leaving the next generation better off than the previous, ad infinitum into the future.

This is what history and science actually show about climate, and it’s the good news the media and the educational system, to the extent the latter broaches the climate topic, should be spreading.

Get out the good news. It’s for the children!

H. Sterling Burnett is a Senior Fellow at the Illinois based Heartland Institute.


Ray S said...

100% correct with the scare tactics being used on young students.
Unfortunately the seeds are already sown in their minds and will remain there for ever. In extreme cases and in the not too distant future, we will see an increase of suicides of young people who, can see no future for themselves because of the teaching they have received about the climate. A young persons mind is easily molded to whatever outcome if teaching is started early enough. We see this particularly in all religions and sects.

Anonymous said...

At a recent protest on issue related to climate change young protested were interviewed - one was a four year old,, an indoctrinated viewpoint. Nothing more than child Abuse.

anonomus said...

I totally agree with Ray, particuarly with his point connecting teen suicides, this article should be compulsory reading by everyone in this country, particuarly the educators. simply because if their attitudes to teaching their thinking of climate change could and should be held accountable for depression and suicide in our young.