The Daily Mail. Words enough to send a chill up the spine of any actually sentient being. And of course, they report the school strike with a headline that sums up, well, a lot.
“Fury as headteachers BACK pupil strike that will see thousands of schoolchildren walk out of lessons next week in a protest over climate change”
And no I am not linking to the bloody article. Their business model relies on outrage and salacious grot, and must not be fed.
MCFly reader Calum (see interview with him here) has bashed out a reply to the Tory MP (and former primary school teacher – I bet he feels right at home) who was quoted (possibly accurately) in the article. He has given permission for it to be reprinted on this site. Here it is:
Dear Mr Wragg
I note with dismay your comments in the recent Daily Mail article (1) regarding the school strikes for government action on climate change.
Climate change (or breakdown, or catastrophe) is not an intellectual curiosity to learn about in a classroom; it represents an existential threat both to human civilisation and the incredible diversity of life on the planet. It is not something that might happen to our grandchildren, it’s already causing devastation all around the world (2). We felt the impact in last summer’s weather, and saw it in the empty reservoirs in the Peak District, weather that was repeated all across the Northern Hemisphere, hitting crop yields in Russia, Canada and Europe, as well as other yields of other key crops in the UK by similar amounts (3). If such weather becomes normal, it will cause widespread food shortages, which is particularly alarming for a country such as the UK which already imports up to half its food (considerably more when considering fruit and vegetables).
Ice cap melt is accelerating at both poles, as is the drinking water for literally billions of people dependent on glacial meltwater from the Himalayas, raising sea levels and of course reducing drinking water.
There is well documented collapse in animal life (4, 5, 6) all around the globe. What remains of the worlds’ tropical forests are under threat from logging and development for cattle grazing and animal fodder monoculture (7). The UK is one of the most ecologically depleted nations (8), despite our reputation as a “nation of animal lovers”.
Meanwhile fossil fuel companies around the world ramp up plans to extract and sell more oil and gas. Governments cheer lead for more economic growth, suicidally addicted to an economic paradigm that is dangerously out of date. CO2 levels are higher than anything humanity has ever encountered (9) and our current emissions trajectory is on course to raise global average temperatures by as much as 5 degrees centigrade by the end of the century (10), which would destroy human civilisation and the majority of global ecosystems.
I could go on and on – but I hope you take my point. Against such a bleak background, seeing their futures set on fire, dug up, hunted or cut down for profit, we must all support our children in whatever acts of protest they can make – and then take courage from their bravery to push for the radical changes we will need to survive. I believe if nations such as the UK can show true leadership in this, others will follow our example. This is the challenge of our lives – it will not spare Hazel Grove any more than anywhere else. I have read that politicians do not believe that climate change and ecological disaster are things that their constituents are concerned about – I hope this message will begin to change your mind.
Calum McFarlane, SK7
(and proud father of a striking son)