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FUREY: Climate alarmism – will kids be able to step away from it?

Children shouldn’t be exposed to this rhetoric. And yet it’s everywhere.

BY: ANTHONY FUREY

I heard from a number of parents last week that they were concerned about what their kids were going to be learning at the Global Climate Strike on Friday.

For those kids old enough, school boards sent home permission forms to take them to the rally. For younger kids, schools across the country held assemblies or rallies in the yard.

It seems that middle-of-the-road, non-partisan parents are fine with a bit of talk about protecting the environment but had their concerns about the alarmism that would crop up.

One parent apparently told the principal that when her young child had been taught about Canada’s residential schools system, she became fearful at night that bad men would come and take her away from her parents.

That’s probably not what the teachers told her, but that’s the thing with children: they contextualize information in ways that make sense to their limited worldview and then they let their imaginations run wild.

There is, though, a good reason to believe kids would be told some truly alarming statements at school on the day of the climate strike. Like how “people are dying”, as Greta Thunberg says. Or that we have a decade to save the planet. Or that the earth is literally on fire. All of these statements are false and yet they’re all being recited like mantras by people who should know better.

Children shouldn’t be exposed to this rhetoric. And yet it’s everywhere.

It’s hard to imagine things getting more extreme. Climate alarmists are really standing on the ledge now, calling this a full-blown emergency.

There’s a lot to be said about this phenomenon, but one thing I keep coming back to is how this is just one more form of extremism that children are being tempted to join up with.

It’s only natural for teenagers to have a rebellious phase and take up some sort of cause or subculture. But decades ago it was more likely to be muted and subdued. The James Dean stereotype saw kids taking up smoking, driving too fast and talking back to adults. Then around the 80s and 90s, when I was a kid, it was about becoming a skater or rocker or goth etc.

For those who undertook them, they were embarrassing phrases to go through but for the most part, they’re in the past – really only to be brought back up as pictures to chuckle about at a wedding reception. Some people took their subcultures a step too far and could never turn back, but for most people, they were a passing fancy that only lasted a short time.

Can the same be said now? Now young people are more likely to adopt hard-edged personas and take them to extremes. There’s a whole variety of crazy offerings out there. You can sign up with Antifa, travel abroad to join up with ISIS, march alongside neo-Nazis and – now – you can shriek about how the world is going to end in 12 years. 

One climate zealot got so excited on Friday that he tried to attack Justin Trudeau at a rally. That sort of “activism” comes with a criminal record and marks you for life.

Let’s hope that, like young rebels decades ago, most people joining the more extreme climate alarmist protests are just doing it to get things out of their system for a bit and that they don’t become lifers.

But looking at how frenzied all of these new “causes” have become, how close to the ledge they all are, it looks like once you’re in them they’re harder to walk back.

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