Climate reality clear to kids
Many children live in something of a news vacuum.
Some will cheer and whoop in support of that idea, others would be equally critical of such parenting, reflecting pretty much any position taken in life about most anything.
Backers of the idea argue that young and innocent children should not have the graffiti of news scribbled on the blank slate that is their nascent minds.
Such a position sadly fails to acknowledge the instinctive resilient capacities of the young and adds only what weight to any issue as to how it is framed by those older people around them.
The idea that in blocking out the news of the day as a way to protect children is really little more than parents refusing to personally engage with the events of the day and so play a key role in helping their children understand whatever is happening and put it in context.
Helping your children understand the news of the day, the news of the world, is among one of parenting’s prime tasks.
Inexplicably, at least to me, the same parents who create that factual news vacuum in the name of protecting their children, allow those same children to embrace the most perverse fictions.
Writing in his 2018 book, Fictions of Sustainability: The Politics of Growth and Post-Capitalist Futures, Boris Frankel said: ‘‘Now, countless children are raised on a diet of blockbuster disaster movies, speculative dystopias and computer games featuring the collapse of civilisation brought about by terrorists, aliens, environmental catastrophes, unstoppable pathogens and other monsters of the commercial imagination.’’
Apparently, for many children it is okay to have their behaviours distorted by the products of that ‘‘commercial imagination’’, but reality is a no-no.
Fortunately, our schools adhere to the facts and even those who engage in pursuit of fanciful distractions do take their young students on exploratory mental expeditions, allowing them to bivouac in learning places ensuring the expansion of their thinking, helping them better understand the real world.
The arm wrestle between market-driven imaginary mutations and fact-driven realities favours the latter as illustrated recently when thousands of students from across Australia went on strike to protest our governments inaction on climate change.
The students understand and accept the irrefutable realities of climate change, illustrating that the thousands of striking teenagers had not been locked in a news-free bubble, but were in fact much more aware of what is happening than our dismissive government.
Last year, The Guardian newspaper reported: ‘‘The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible, and it is unconscionable to us that our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of an unprecedented disaster of our own making.’’
The news aware students simply know and understand this reality and their schools should be congratulated for encouraging such learnings and parents who ensured and embraced these realities also deserve praise. ● Robert McLean is a former News editor.