Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Climate-Anxious Children - can parents, and caring teachers, help correct the harm done by climate alarm materials?

Pic: Brighter Futures
'Collectively, anxiety conditions are the most common mental disorders in children. Moreover, they often persist throughout life, causing significant distress and interfering significantly with social life and achievement both during the child’s formative years and later in adulthood. '

The quote is from a mental health researcher, Kathy Griffiths

There is considerable evidence that many children suffer from anxiety about climate change.  The plausibility of that seems obvious given the dreadful materials, in books , websites, and curricula aimed at children, and in some cases aimed at scaring them into being political activists.

Who will help children cope with climate alarmism, and help protect them from those who, wittingly or otherwise, are acting as recruiting sergeants?  

The best candidates are surely their parents, aided whenever possible by sympathetic teachers.

The pioneering book Facts, Not Fear by Sanera and Shaw, shows how easy it is to de-fuse so many eco-alarms, not just the climate one.  Their approach is simply one of helping children see the bigger picture, and not the narrow-minded, highly-selective view pushed at them by propagandists.

I stumbled across an illustration of this today, on the blog of a teacher in London.  His post is entitled

How Not to Teach Climate Change

Here is an extract from it (I have added the emboldening):

'Last week I substitute-taught a Year 5 class that was learning about climate change. One of our pre-planned activities was to continue making posters about “good gases and bad gases”. I immediately noted that every student had slapped carbon dioxide (CO2) in the “bad gas” column.
I quizzed the class, and discovered that they had been taught the following line of thinking.
  1. Carbon dioxide is a harmful and poisonous gas.
  2. Nearly all daily human activity – turning on lights, jumping in a car, using an electrical device etc. – creates carbon dioxide.
They had no idea of the following:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a natural constituent of the atmosphere… 
Carbon dioxide is by far the most important (organic compound) for the sustainability of the biosphere (the whole of life on Earth).
Without CO2 the life of photosynthetic organisms and animals would be impossible, given that CO2 provides the basis for the synthesis of organic compounds that provide nutrients for plants and animals. Biology Cabinet
Just think about that for a second.
Imagine you’re a naive child, and your teacher tells you that your every daily action creates poisonous gases that destroy the planet.
I was shocked, and quickly set the record straight by informing them that CO2 is actually essential for life on earth; it feeds plants, and it is a crucial ingredient in their, and in every other living creature’s, bodies. I added that scientists think it may be warming up our planet, but they’re still not 100% sure.* These facts came much to their surprise and relief. '
[Hat-tip: it was from his post that I obtained the link to the mental healthcare quote which I used earlier]

What to do about it?

See how easy it was!  Here is a man who has compassion for the children, and enough knowledge to realise very quickly what a dangerously limited view they have of CO2.  A few simple facts seem to have helped dispel at least some of their fear.  Well done that man!  

This is one of the kinds of intervention suggested by Sanera and Shaw, and it seems to me that it could be accomplished by parents as well.  But first, those parents need to get themselves reasonably well-informed.  They will need to look beyond biased-outlets such as the BBC or most of the rest of the mass media, such as the UK's Guardian or Independent newspapers.  

A discussion-group that met regularly could invite expert speakers, and do online research to gather scientific results and informed opinions on any issue.  Has your child been told that a polar bear will die unless you switch off your lights and stop using the car so often?  It won't take long to discover that the bears are doing quite well, and that nothing extraordinary has been happening to Arctic sea ice, which has long been known to be highly variable.  Or that rising seas will swamp their coastal cities?  A quick check should show that there has been no great acceleration of the slow rise in sea levels which has been going on long before our CO2 could have had an impact, and that the plausible projected levels this century will readily be coped with. It is not hard, but some persistence is required to sift through the torrents of alarmist-conformism that will be encountered.

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