Conquering Climate Doomism in the classroom is vital if our children are going to grow up hopeful
The sheer scale of the challenges facing us at the minute can seem overwhelming, but Climate Doomism – thinking there is no point, nothing can be done now – is just as dangerous.
The data right now does not look good – but there are reasons to be be hopeful.
Young activists are really making a difference. From an international level with activitists such as Greta Thunberg to local influence – here in Cumbria with the excellent ‘Another Way’ set up by the inspirational Amy Bray.
Emphasising the positive and looking at what impact the next generation can have will be a vital job for teachers.
Have the Facts Ready – Age appropriate, obviously – but you need to know what the science is. Knowledge can be reassuring – and it can help to put concerns into perspective. Talking about what is on the news is a good first step and will allow you to see what the children already know.
Share Good News – There is so much good stuff happening out there right now – sharing success stories is important. Negative and ‘shock factor’ news stories often get so much more publicity – which is a good discussion point with pupils.
You can find stories on sites such as https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
Encourage Action and Agency – Individual actions are important and are not futile. There are plenty of opportunities already within the school curriculum to discuss these. Likewise, as they get older they need to see how their individual actions can affect the larger system. PSHE lessons and British Values give our children the chance to learn about rights, responsibilities and democracy. Use this to demonstrate the options they have for lobbying, or for talking to those in power. Invite local politicians in, business leaders, shop owners; keep the conversation going.
Finally, find likeminded individuals – Groups to explore the issues and what can be done. Locally, or in school, there may be youth groups already – but starting one could also provide opportunities to be useful and to share worries and concerns.
Books that may be useful: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/your-guide-talking-kids-all-ages-about-climate-change
Extinction Rebellion Youth: https://m.facebook.com/XRYouth/