Children can start to do their bit without striking

Date: Monday 4th March 2019

THE media gave extensive coverage to school pupils “striking” on Fridays against climate change. Pupils who I saw or heard interviewed on television and radio were most indignant that humanity should have let matters get this far and insistent that “they” should “do something about it”.

Well, bad news, kids; the “they” will soon be you. What I didn’t see in any of the media reports was any concrete advice to help guide these striking pupils. May I offer them the wisdom of my years?

Firstly, “strike” on Saturdays, Sundays and during school holidays. Use your “Strike Fridays” to study science, technology, engineering and maths so you can, when grown up, better contribute, through research and work, solutions to the world’s many ills.

Study especially statistics, so you can understand the true metrics of problems and not be hoodwinked by “greenwash” non-solutions.

Secondly, why not start now to do your bit? The single biggest cause of climate change within all of our control is CO2 from all forms of domestic heating, so simply turn off the heating in your bedroom and wherever else your “responsible adult” will allow. Turn down those lifts to school and walk or cycle. Of course, that second family car, mother’s taxi, is out, along with a family holiday by air and any thoughts of global backpacking for that gap year.

Give up all consumption of bovine products, meat and dairy and especially that double-whammy of a cheeseburger. Don’t buy anything inessential which is manufactured in distant lands and exploitative of rare world resources and of low paid workers, e.g. fashion clothing, electronic devices, etc.

Get outside like your great-grandparents did during the Second World War and dig over the family garden and plant vegetables.

Finally, do remember that to reuse is much better than to recycle. Unfortunately “Elf ‘n’ Safety” now forbids one traditional reuse of newspapers to wrap takeaway food but, again taking a lead from days gone by, you could still cut them into 4in (10cm) squares (ask your grandad!).

The perceptive reader who has read thus far may think that I am making light of the climate concern of our young people. Nothing could be further from my true intention, which is simply to accentuate the seriousness of our predicament, stress the difficulty of making a difference while living a “modern” life and warn against the widespread, lazy, hysterical charlatanry of greenwash political and media coverage.

A better writer than I am recently described this as: “ … an expensively choreographed display of virtue-signalling by the perpetually outraged, well-heeled and intellectually challenged liberal middle class … a big potpourri of ignorance garnished with a lot of what ifs.”

Don’t fall for this as serious science; plastic isn’t intrinsically evil, nuclear energy and medicine are a force for good, fracked gas could replace dirty coal and expensive imported gas. Get the balanced facts and do your bit for a better world.

If our kids don’t simply “trip out” on an overload of green doom and gloom and do realise that the road to hell is paved with good intentions unfulfilled then they may make a difference and the globe may have a chance.

IAN KELL

Mealbank, Kendal.