BBC Bitesize released new revision pages on climate change in July this year which seemed to stir up much disapproval amongst the online climate community. This is because the website has a section which highlighted the positives of the climate crisis alongside the negatives. Fortunately following criticism, the BBC made amendments to the page, removing their list of positives from the resources. However, we didn’t want to let this pass without addressing the implications of this as even in schools, our experiences of the little that covers climate change also often includes the positives. Implying that there are positives of the climate crisis fills students with a sense of false hope and doesn’t muster anything within them to create a change. It accentuates climate denial and threatens climate action. If young people believe climate change is a positive thing, they won’t feel called to act upon it.
The environmental writer George Monbiot tweeted his concerns on the matter: “This is what BBC bitesize is teaching our children about climate breakdown. I’m sorry, but it’s an absolute disgrace. You could come away thinking: ‘on balance, it sounds pretty good.’ It could have been written by Exxon”. Similarly Stuart Lock, chief executive of Bedford schools trust Advantage Schools made sure to emphasise that “Climate change isn’t a ‘both sides’ argument,” Also worth highlighting, our parent organization, SOS UK tweeted a screenshot of the website, explaining that, ‘The education system needs to be repurposed around the climate emergency and ecological crisis. This example from @bbcbitesize shows students are being taught dangerous misinformation.’ And finally, our founder, Joe Brindle also commented on the screenshot adding his views, ‘I've been campaigning for climate education for a couple of years now - and this is why. Misinformation like this is regurgitated in classrooms and threatens climate action.’
Students need to be taught the truth about the climate crisis, how to prepare for its inevitable effects and be encouraged to act to create change, teaching them that they have the power to shape the future.
If you’d like to support better #ClimateEducation in schools, follow our campaign online @teachthefuture and sign our petition at www.teachthefuture.uk/petition.
Cover Image: @element5digital via Unsplash