On 26 November, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families received the Children's Statement on Climate Change from children at St Luke's primary school in Newham and promised to send it to UK delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The Statement is available to download as a PDF and is certainly worth a read if only to glimpse some of the thoughts of some of our children (it's hard to know anything about representativeness, of course).
Commendably, little attempt seems to have been made to eliminate muddled conceptual thinking:
If we don’t reduce global warming we’ll see more ﬂoods, droughts, food shortages, and endangered animals because the hole in the ozone layer will get even bigger.
Concern about the extinction of polar bears continues (I hear this wherever I go and have to admire the animals' PR machine):
The ice caps melting and polar bears and penguins becoming extinct from it.
Meanwhile, Thomas says:
I am most worried about the severe effects of climate change, like the increase in ﬂooding in the UK and the very hot summers which we would get; this would cause crops to fail. The animals would not be able to adapt quickly enough to the rapid change ... so they would die.
I wonder whether Thomas would be just as worried were the summers to be cold and the winters dry. I suppose he would be as he'd likely be told that this, also, was evidence of climate change – as it may well be (or not) – how can he know?
I read the children's piece at the same time as the article in this week's THE: Beyond Debate? by Martin Cohen. I think that this is something which the children's teachers might usefully read – as well as some of the comment that goes alongside it on the THE's website – if only to help them see that this debate is not settled, and therefore help them to be as open and honest as possible with the young people whom they teach.