'Finally, it is essential that intellectual integrity be restored to the scientific profession. Too much money has been devoted to funding global warming scientists, who have depended for their livelihood on a high level of public and political anxiety about global warming, and have hence tended to suppress the evidence against the popular hysteria. .... Enlightenment standards of scientific integrity have been subverted by government cash and media hysteria. For the sake of all our futures this must never be allowed to happen again.'
Martin Hutchinson, http://www.tbwns.com/2015/07/20/the-bears-lair-global-warming-hysteria-one-huge-ghastly-mistake/

Monday, 14 February 2011

Classroom Climate Conditioning at work: the plotting, the preaching, the results

 'Teaching Climate Change' - a video for teachers.

I guess it all depends on your point of view.  For me this is a sinister, spine-chilling video from way back in 2008, but I can see how the faithful would be pleased with it, giving insight as it does into the equivalent of two senior Jesuits ensuring the doctrinal correctness of a parish priest with teaching duties.

A professor, a PR/communications man, and a teacher are sitting by a window discussing how best to convert children into political activists for their cause.  Frequent shots from the classroom are spliced in to show their schemes in action, and interviews with some pupils at the end demonstrate some success - youngsters now guilt-ridden, and keen to 'take action'. 


Dramatis Personae
The Professor: David Lambert, Chief Executive of the Geographical Association, part-time professor and co-author of the blog 'Impolite Geography', where a recent post quotes with apparent sympathy these words from someone called Huckle, in 1985: “The struggle to construct and implement a socialist school geography will face many setbacks as it has in the past, but it remains part of the overall struggle for a counter-hegemony and an alternative future”.  No, I don't know what it means either!  But the notion of 'socialist school geography' rings alarm bells in my head, given the appalling track record of socialism in the 20th century, most notoriously in Germany in the 30s and 40s, in the USSR and in Mao's China.

The Communicator: Ed Gillespie, Founder and Director of Futerra, a public relations organisation which looks to have been a great financial success, with clients including the BBC, the government, and many multinational corporations.  Ed is introduced as a 'climate expert', although he lacks any relevant professional qualification or experience in the subject, unless we take the broad definition which could include anyone who notes 'If these wet summers continue, I'll have to give up my vegetable plot' and is able to back that up with some data, and of course at least a speculative link to 'climate change'.  It would have been more accurate to introduce him as a successful businessman with a strong interest in climate alarmism.  (http://www.futerra.co.uk/about_us/directors )

The Teacher: David Dixon, a teacher at Hampstead School.  He comes across as an effective and sympathetic teacher, and is shown working with a dream class of bright, and engaged pupils, albeit ones whose critical faculties did not get displayed by the editor.  David states at the end of the video that he sees teaching 'climate change' as a 'moral duty'.

Their aim: to see how best to make use of 'climate change' to get their ideas across about 'geography', 'diversity', 'sustainability' (this last term used near the end as an umbrella term for everything else).

An early slide in what may be the first lesson has this in a prominent bullet-point:
'How can we alter our lives?' [at time 02m:10s]


Teacher decides in favour of 'steering away from the science ideas', which seems like a good tactic, given that some of the most penetrating attacks on climate alarmism are coming from scientists.
The Professor notes: 'We understand the science.  We trust it.', a catechism which I think triggered the Jesuit analogy in my tiny mind.

Pupils who say the right things about various self- and other-denials, get rewarded with 'Excellent!  Brilliant!', which is a bit much since they are merely doing as they have been told.

The Communicator promotes 'Carbon calculators' as the weapon of choice to get the class engaged in assessing their own lives, those of their parents, as well as of a celebrity and a teacher in their school.  And the movie switches to them doing just that, picking out an outstanding sportsman, David Beckham, as a figure to somehow compute a carbon footprint for, and for it to be seen as a bad thing rather than a symptom, as I would see it, of his great success.  A bit like Al Gore's footprint, which for some reason did not get a mention.

People in the USA are singled out, not so much to celebrate diversity, but to note without challenge a pupil's assertion that they are 'big and drive about a lot'! The USA, spenders of more money on overseas aid, on climate research, on new technologies, on the United Nations, than any other country is reduced to a stereotype. 

The Professor: 'why has it been allowed to happen?'  (Hinting at some authority, possibly a deity, who allows this and forbids that? Surely not!) Why did it allow 'the possibility of ....global catastrophe'  [at 10:11] Switch to big smile of delight by the The Communicator [at 10:12]) - you could almost see the cash-register sparkling in his eyes at that magic word 'catastrophe'.
If I close my eyes, I can picture our balance sheet...
A juxtaposition in time which seems accidently informative, but perhaps in fairness to Ed, it was just a trick of the editor's art.
 
The Professor: backing away from the deity notion, he slips in the basic cause ot the 'catastrophe' as due the fact that 'we consist of individual nation states', and hints at the discredited, even by leftwingers, 'tragedy of the commons' hypothesis so adored by an earlier generation of environmental activists, a hypothesis named explicitly by The Communicator.

Towards the end, the clear hijacking of 'climate change' as a cloak to smuggle in 'sustainable development' is revealed.  But what, you may ask, is the cloak of 'sustainable development' smuggling in?  A Trojan horse for more government control perhaps, including some kind of supranational version? (please excuse my mixing of metaphors in one short paragraph!)

The Communicator:  '..we can turn kids into a whole bundle of little climate activists..'[at: 12:53-59]).  
Yes you can, but only some of them, some of the time, not all of them, all of the time.  You missed this one for example:
http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2011/02/fighting-from-bottom-pupil-strikes-back.html.

The Teacher: 'we have a moral duty to teach this'.  Your morality may well differ from mine, but that's diversity for you.

Overall, a dismal story.  ( for more 'dismal' on geography teaching in the UK: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2011/02/rotting-from-top-government.html )

But let us try to be more cheerful!  Imagine the same framework, but now with a disciple of Julian Simon as the professor and Matt Ridley as the communicator!  In this new version of the clip, they are sharing thoughts about how to convey to children the wonders of the world, and what transformations in the quality of life have been achieved, and how that progress is becoming worldwide now that China and India in particular have given private enterprise a little more freedom to thrive.  The abundance of resources could be illustrated by the shale oil and gas discoveries, and the sequential failures of forecasts of 'peak oil' , not to mention many other 'environmentalist' forecasts of doom refuted by simple or subsequent observations. The cleaner technologies of the most industrialised countries show how pollution can be reduced, and more efficient use made of materials and energy supplies.  The class will be encouraged to imagine how future generations might live, with the promise of destructive, stultifying large-scale poverty fading from the world.  What a planet!  They might come to decide, as does the lead character in a current London play called 'The Heretic', with a bit of hyperbole:

".. that people, not nature, are the real miracle of life. "I've decided that the stars are rubbish. ... The stars are God's mistakes. We are the miracle. Life. Human intelligence. Human innovation, creativity, invention. That is why, every night, the stars gaze down on us in awe."

Now to develop that idea would be radical.  And would seriously challange the establishment view that we must worship nature and hang on the every word of 'environmentalists', apparently in direct proportion to the level of alarm they can muster.  Why not just teach children about climate, how varied it has been in the past, and how it will no doubt continue to vary in the future?  On the way, explaining how industrial and agricultural progress is helping more and more people to reduce their vulnerability to weather events and to climate variation. To give more emphasis to climate science, another version of our remake could choose the professor from a long list of good candidates, such as Lindzen, Spencer, Carter, and many others of that noble ilk.  And the communicator chosen from Monckton, Nova, Delingpole, Montford, and many others of that also noble ilk.  It might be harder to find 'The Teacher' though, as I guess they are liable to get fired or demonised if they step aside from the establishment line on climate.  But somewhere, surely, in private schools at least there are many who could fit the part?  Or perhaps the teacher could be shown in silhouette, with a dubbed voice, to protect his or her identity.  That picture would, by itself, be educational.

Note added 04 May 2012: My original link to the video above no longer works and has now been removed.  A possibly later (October 2011) version of the video is available here: http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/Resources/Item/105435/ks3-4-geography-teaching-climate-change#.T6PPlFKM58F