Parents are being told not to terrify children over climate change:
Rising numbers of children are being treated for “eco-anxiety”, experts have said, as they warn parents against “terrifying” their youngsters with talk of climate catastrophe.
Protests by groups such as Extinction Rebellion, the recent fires in the Amazon and apocalyptic warnings by the teenage activist Greta Thunberg have prompted a “tsunami” of young people seeking help. . .
The Cold War and spectre of nuclear obliteration hung over my generation but I don’t recall being terrified by apocalyptic reporting like that which we’re getting on climate change.
A group of psychologists working with the University of Bath says it is receiving a growing volume of enquiries from teachers, doctors and therapists unable to cope.
The Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) told The Daily Telegraph some children complaining of eco-anxiety have even been given psychiatric drugs.
The body is campaigning for anxiety specifically caused by fear for the future of the planet to be recognised as a psychological phenomenon.
However, they do not want it classed as a mental illness because, unlike standard anxiety, the cause of the worry is “rational”. . .
Is it rational or is the problem that a lot of the reporting in mainstream media and more so what’s spread by social media is more emotion than science?
Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg rose to global fame this year as she supported the protests by Extinction Rebellion, which brought parts of central London to a standstill.
Thurnberg argues that the EU must cut its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2030 to avoid an existential crisis – double the target set by the Paris Accord – while Extinction Rebellion demands the UK achieve net-zero emissions by 2025. . .
What’s the science behind those claims and more importantly where’s the science in response?
The CPA recommends a four-stage approach to explaining responsibly climate change to children without scaring them.
Parents should first gradually introduce them to the known facts, then ask them how they feel, before acknowledging that the ultimate outcome is uncertain.
Finally, parents should agree practical steps to make a difference, such as by cutting down on non-recyclable waste and choosing food with a better climate footprint. . .
Where’s the science that proves recyclable is any better than non-recyclable?
Where’s the promotion of nutrient density in the carbon footprint equation for food that, for example, proves real milk is far better than the highly processed pretenders and that New Zealand Milk is best of all?
Where’s the promotion of practices that would make a real difference?
But how can we blame psychologists for spouting solutions based on emotion not science when our own Prime Minister is making promises contradicted by her government’s policies?
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit that New Zealand is “determined” to be the most sustainable food producer in the world. . .
“We are determined that New Zealand can and will play our part in the global effort,” Ms Ardern said. . .
When the Prime Minister told the United Nations (UN) she was determined for New Zealand to be the most sustainable food producer in the world, she should have realised that we already are, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“The Prime Minister told the UN Climate Summit that ‘We are determined to show that New Zealand can and will be the most sustainable food producer in the world.’ When really she should have been promoting the fact that our primary sector is already the most sustainable food producer by some margin.
“New Zealand farmers have made massive gains over recent decades and continue to stay ahead of the pack in terms of efficiency and sustainability. In the last 30 years we’ve managed to produce more sheep meat from 32 per cent fewer sheep due to improvements with enhanced breeding mixes and enhanced lambing percentages.
“Our dairy products are so much more sustainable that a litre of New Zealand milk shipped to Ireland, the next most efficient producer, would still have a lower emissions profile than Irish milk produced locally.
“If the Prime Minister supported lowering emissions she would be promoting our primary sector on the world stage, and encouraging people to eat New Zealand produced food.” . . .
Playing our part in the global effort would be encouraging more food production here, not decreasing it by encouraging forestry on land best suited to pasture and other policies which would decimate farming at a high environmental, economic and social cost.
Playing our part would be following the Paris Accord’s stipulation that climate change mitigation would not come at the expense of food production.
Playing our part would be backing science not exacerbating ‘eco-anxiety’ with words and policies based on emotion not facts.