Education for Climate Change – now THAT’S what I call carbon literacy…

There’s a chap called Graham Wayne who has been writing well about climate change for a quite a while.  Here’s a link to his latest piece.

Skip the preamble and start the paragraph that begins “OK, enough preamble. We have to consider what future we’re likely to plan for, and my starting point is the inevitable. I do not believe we’re going to restrain climate change, and it will get very very bad.”

It’s a very good article – some of the best bits here…

Climate change is a long-term problem, so it’s worth asking who is doing the adapting?  Who is trying to mitigate the damage? For the most part, it is those in childhood now who we need to equip for a future full of uncertainty, and I cannot stress enough the importance of education as an antidote to fear and irrationality in an increasingly uncertain world.

The kind of education I’m talking about isn’t the stuff of state schools. It is the stuff of the individual, of independent thought, of brave enquiry, of dignity and self-reinforcing respect, for others and for the self. It is the value of a non-material life, of spiritualism, of defining oneself through actions that are worthy, selfless, creative and generous. It is not the education of anxiety, of incomprehension, of blame and revenge, of ownership and complacency, cruelty and complaint….

and near the end of it

The less we want, the more we appreciate what we have. Teach children not to be consumed with desires, while lamenting what they don’t have. Consumerism demands we be restless and unfulfilled for all our lives. It’s a shabby trick, and it’s time we countered this crude propaganda, because we keep falling for it over and over again.

You might also want to teach your kids a martial art. The future is going to get ugly.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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5 Responses to Education for Climate Change – now THAT’S what I call carbon literacy…

  1. gille liath says:

    Now I know why the previous post was talking about ‘guerrilla activities’!

    Seriously: maybe he’s right about it ‘getting ugly’ – maybe not – either way, I don’t really know what good apocalyptic talk like that does.

  2. gille liath says:

    PS He’s an IT and business consultant? Anyone spot any slight inconsistency – or even hypocrisy – in someone like that writing the piece you quoted there?

  3. yeah, telling your kids to be ready to fight other people rather than cooperate for the general good is really such a great message. That’s what gives environmentalism a reputation as the home of authoritarians who are just looking for a plausible reason to justify their authoritarianism

  4. Gille – if we don’t “let” IT and business consultants talk, then who DO we let talk? Where is the cut off point? And who decides who is a legitimate person to speak?! (I say this as someone who has been kicked out of the charmed circle of “official” climate circles…
    Or perhaps I am slowly going over to the “Dark Side” – too many attendances at the North West Sustainable Business Quarterly meetings? I think his critique of consumerism is indistinguishable from lots of soi-disant radicals from the Climate Camp end of things, no?

    Jenny – I think he’s also talking about learning skills and co-operating. and self-reinforcing respect, for others and for the self. ” I read the martial arts comment as perhaps a slight provocation? But given where things are heading, I would say it’s reasonable.

    I don’t know how it is morally different from advocating that women learn physical self-defence? (Nothing in that last sentence is meant to imply that sexual assault/rape is a problem women must solve! Men should be speaking and acting on this issue!).

  5. gille liath says:

    It’s not so much a question of who is allowed to speak, as what makes you qualified to spread a particular message?

    I think his basic point is right: climate change is driven largely by consumerism, which in turn is the result of spiritual poverty (sorry, but he introduced the ‘s’ word!). But having recognised that, what next? I think it’s important to keep comment constructive, and (as I keep saying) concentrate on the specific and achievable. Vague generalisations about values aren’t helpful, especially coming from someone who appears to be engaged in the obverse side of consumerism – namely capitalist business, the aim of which is to get us to keep buying stuff we don’t really need..

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