Opinion: Gove’s war on the teaching of climate change

Photo: 38 Degrees.
By Anders Lorenzen
Education Secretary Michael Gove has for several years been campaigning for climate change to be removed from the national curriculum for under 14 year-olds in the subject of geography. This has now moved forward and has officially been proposed by Gove’s department which has opened a consultation period on the issue.
Regular readers might remember my reactions when Shell’s advisor on climate change proposed that climate change was taught too early in schools and should instead be taught much later.
As a result of these latest developments, secondary school student, Esha Marwaha from the Heathland School, has in a petition stated how geography helped her realise that the planet was in danger and subsequently to take action on climate change. As you might have guessed, in the petition she is calling for Michael Gove to abandon his plans to remove climate change for the curriculum. She says:

“Climate change is the most pressing and threatening issue to modern day society. Through lack of understanding from generations before us, we are having to fix it. And how can we do this without education? However, yet again, our government – part of the generation who bear more responsibility for this problem, intend to not only fail to act on climate change themselves, but to obscure the truth, and any chance we have of acting from children and young people’’

Her words sum it up perfectly I think. I would like to know what’s behind Gove’s desire to remove it? Does he think the younger generation knows too much about climate change? Talk too much about it? Or the third most outrageous question, does he not believe in climate change? (unfortunately a viewpoint that too many right wing politicians choose to have).
With climate change already upon us and our climate rapidly changing, the future that the kids of tomorrow will grow up in will be worlds apart from that of their parents. Landscapes are changing across the planet and so is weather patterns, ice cover etc… Both due to climate change but also due to those fossil fuels that cause climate change are getting harder and harder to extract and therefore leaves a strong footprint on our geographical landscape. Take the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the biggest industrial project on our planet which has altered nature and geography for decades.
By drawing from a recent example we know how powerful petitions can be. When energy giant EDF decided to sue climate activists for shutting down their newly built gas power plant, they faced an immediate backlash. A petition started by the parents to one of the activists gained 70,000 signatures in three weeks. At the time of writing, Esha’s petition has 25,000 signatures and it would not surprise me if this could prove to be another EDF movement.
Gove’s announcements also puts further question marks to the coalition government’s plans to lead the greenest government ever.
Crunch time will be on 15  April when the consultation period will end, and up until then, Esha is passionate about driving a revolution of new signatures.

If you care like I do about the importance of the next generation to be educated about the changes to the planet that climate change brings and you believe that climate change should be the cornerstone in science, geography and a host of other subjects that the issue now relates to, I strongly urge you to do what 25,000 other people and myself have done and sign Esha’s petition. Our future depends on it.


Categories: science

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