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There’s nothing new about academics stoking schoolkids’ climate fears and depression. But nothing I’ve previously seen can match the onslaught on those from seven upwards by the University of Tasmania (UTas), which helped it gain World No 1 ranking for climate activism. [1] ABC Radio has assisted by publicising and recruiting kids for the program.[2]

The university’s Curious Climate Schools unit has arranged for teachers of more than 2000 Tassie kids in scores of schools to run class “brainstorms” about the alleged global warming peril. Each class forwards its ten best questions to a pool of 80 activist “experts” mobilised within the university and externally. Strangely they include the Chinese Academy of Sciences — China pumps out 35 per cent of the world’s human-caused CO2 emissions.

More than 600 questions have come in. The “experts” get themselves filmed answering the questions and the entire compendium of climate alarmism is offered to all kids on-line.

The scheme ran from 2020-23 and is underway again in 2024. The executives want it to go national and international. The brainwashing is evident in Tassie kids’ questions like “How long do we have until the earth becomes uninhabitable?” and “How long before climate change will destroy the earth?”

Its agenda, as I see it, is to turn nervous kids into activists, climate-strikers and future Teal and Greens voters. About 40 per cent of classes’ top ten questions have assumed the need for greater climate “action” for “climate social justice”. Teachers are told to encourage kids to join “different groups working to make the climate safer”. I assume they include the likes of Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

Find your tribe and use your voices! Get together with friends and other students who care about climate action. You could join a group like the Australian Youth Climate Coalition [which ran the past years’ school strikes]. Collective events such as the school strikes for climate raise awareness – and they also give climate scientists all around the world hope that the next generation will make changes and vote for the climate policies we urgently need!

Awareness projects in schools – could you and your schoolmates become Climate Warriors together? Could you encourage your school to install solar panels, introduce meat-free Monday, ask for more vego options in the canteen, or go single-use plastic free?

About 16 per cent of questions sought scapegoats for the alleged peril, and the largest single batch of kids’ questions (6 per cent) wanted politicians and governments to crank up climate policies.

Less than one per cent of questions recognised the nub of the problem — that without China’s cooperation, Australia’s efforts and the West’s efforts are pointless. Last year China’s CO2 emissions rose by 5.2 per cent, and by 12 per cent between 2020 and 2023. That lifted China’s share of global emissions to 35 per cent, more than the emissions of the entire developed world combined. Despite trillions wasted annually on renewables, fossil fuels continue to supply 83 per cent of global energy.

Instead, and thanks to greenist “educators”, kids were fixated (27 per cent) on imaginary “existential” climate threats. Study author Dr Chloe Lucas wrote, “Some 5 per cent of questions implied a doomed planet or doomed humanity—e.g., ‘How long will we be able to survive on our planet if we do nothing to try to slow down/reverse climate change’?’’

 In a previous study, ‘Listen to me!’: Young people’s experiences of talking about emotional impacts of climate change‘, Lucas as co-author noted that kids’ climate fears had worsened since 2007, when one in four kids nationally “were so troubled by the state of the world they believed it would come to an end during their lifetime.” For kids who succumb to climate terrors, the authors want “to build pathways for young people to access health professional support where needed” like medicos, psychologists and counsellors. They also link to the loopiest climate cultists in Australia, “Psychologists for a Safe Climate”.

 Curious Climate offers placebos for panic-stricken kids:

Use your talents! Are you a great artist? Draw or paint about climate action! Are you good with social media? Use your influence to get climate action happening! Do you like to cook? Offer to make a delicious vegetarian meal for your family! Ask questions, and seek answers to those questions from reputable sources – like us! Or from other recognised [politicised] scientific organisations – like NASABOM and CSIRO

The Climate Curious academics argue that what they imagine to be “the current silence on climate in schools” (as if!) is itself bad for children’s mental health, and that kids need to ease their “burden” by yakking on about “the need to face the climate crisis.”

Should kids’ get upset as they “listen to experts on climate change”, they should find space to recognise and explore your feelings. This could be through things like journaling, drawing, singing, writing, climbing a tree, going for a walk or talking through your feelings with trusted adults or peers.  If you are feeling really overwhelmed, find an adult you trust to talk to. This could be a parent or guardian, a teacher, social worker, a relative or your doctor. If you need someone to talk to straight away you can go to Kids Helpline

In “A Note for Educators”, Curious Climate continues,

These questions and answers are likely to raise a number of feelings for your students and maybe for you as well … If your school has access to a counsellor or social worker, it would be helpful to liaise with them to offer students a person to talk to if they feel overwhelmed.

Support them. This could be by doing an activity as a class, going for a walk together, or having some time to journal or draw in response to listening to the climate change experts. Take time with your class to recognise feelings that you share.

Mercifully for education, and despite the plaudits for the scheme, its online follow-through is a flop. The Curious Climate channel with its 197 videos has attracted a mere //" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(74, 144, 226); text-decoration: none; background-color: transparent; outline: 0px;">25 subscribers (including staffers), and some “answer videos” I checked had fewer than five views. The average is 24 views.

One enrolled expert is University of Adelaide climate law specialist Phillipa McCormack. She replied to kids who asked how to make politicians honour their international climate pledges (which are not legally binding anyway). 

Dr McCormack tells kids “to be really noisy” with politicians who literally depend on keeping voters happy.

We saw that in the recent (2022) election where a bunch of candidates called the Teal candidates have been voted into Parliament to do something different about climate change. If other parties want to win those votes back they’re going to need to show that they can do something about climate change too.” (0.47-1.01mins).

She urges kids too young to vote to pester local candidates with letters saying “I will be voting soon”, and incite others (adults?) to also pester politicians. (1.10-30mins).

This is not a case of an “expert” going rogue. McCormack is on the eight-person executive of Curious Climate, which also brags that every answer is rigorously curated by communication and education specialists.

Here’s another such answer. A kid asks the “experts”, “How do we stop pollution of [by] factories?” UTas professor (environmental law) 

. The discussion is not about factories’ heavy metals or acid waste; by “pollution” the kid and the professor both refer to carbon dioxide emissions, the plant food that enables life on earth and has greened the planet to the area of two and a half Australias. As per the YouTube link above, McDonald replies that, assuming there’s no techno-solution for the factories[3],

the only way we could stop their pollution is to actually shut them down. Society would have to make a decision that we are willing to live without the goods. We may decide these things are so important to us we accept a little bit of pollution, and the factories might have to offset it. Or we decide, ‘Sorry you can no longer operate’. That is a very difficult decision to make. We should encourage or require industry to shift towards clean energies — subsidies, new equipment, tax breaks, labelling. If we really want to require immediate transition, there is some fairness questions but it can be done and has been done in the past. It is usually done over time, like by 2027…

…Earlier this year (2023) a NSW community group took the Environmental Protection Agency to court [to force them to be tougher] on setting standards for climate change, for carbon pollution, as CO2 is actually a polluting problem in NSW. There needs to be some enforcement mechanism [of factories], such as regulators inspecting them. They might issue on the spot fines, prosecute them as liable for a criminal offence. In the most serious situations with repeated failure by a factory or industry to meet new [CO2] compliance standards, they may have their licence to operate suspended or cancelled. Some people refer to that as ‘a factory death sentence.'”

As background, Tasmania is said to be the most over-governed democracy on earth (close to one federal, state and local politician per 1500 people) and lacking industry, it relies to an extreme extent on largesse from mainland taxpayers. What industries the island still has, like forestry, minerals and fish-farming, are under blistering attack from green lawfare experts. As the Curious Climate study put it,

This [blaming by kids] extended to the responsibility of workers—’If factory workers and other people who work in industries are aware that they pollute the air and water, then why do they keep producing the products?’

The authors complained that kids almost never (0.2%) blamed high-emitting corporations — these being the greenies’ prime targets.

Kids asked Curious Climate’s leader Dr Lucas, “Do you believe that we as future leaders are being heard enough?” She replied that for researchers like her it could be controversial teaching children about climate change.

I get quite a lot of comments online from people who actually think we are doing more harm than good. Some people think children don’t have the capacity to understand problems as complex as climate change, or that teaching them about climate change really just makes them worry. These people certainly don’t think that children should use their voices politically as activists.

During the school strikes for climate, Prime Minister Morrison said,

‘We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments. What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”

She flashes pictures of kids satirising ex-PM Morrison and holding placards reading, ‘Wind + Storage = Cheap Power’, and ‘Renewables + Storage = 24/7 Power’, and continues:

Personally I feel many young people are very legitimately concerned about what climate change will mean for their own lives and for the world they live in. Learning about it is one way students like you can voice your concern and find out why they are living in a climate-changed world and what it means for their future. And how to be part of the solution — children definitely need to be seen and heard more on climate change.

Children under 18 don’t have a vote but have the right to demand politicians take action on climate change. School strikes are one very effective way to express this. Among other ways are emailing or calling MPs, using social media or writing letters to newspapers…Young people are a really important part of the groundswell of Australians demanding climate action now. Please keep asking questions and using your voices not only as future leaders but leaders right now representing your generation.

Some teachers “have dedicated whole lessons in class” to the program. They clamour for more — “It’s so amazing to see all those levels of university thinking, science thinking…” — and, indeed, some are themselves succumbing to eco-anxieties, freaking out over their postulated climate doom. They are told to reach out to “specific professional learning” for “grappling with the emotions that can surface when learning about climate change.”

Dr Lucas took on another question, 

 An honest answer would go something like this: Because the orthodox science has been politicised and corrupted and all its predictions of doom to date have flopped. The scare is based on climate modelling that doesn’t capture vital factors like clouds and solar variability, and exaggerates CO2 impacts and likely future warming. More CO2 is beneficial to the crop yields needed to feed the globe’s population. Check out the sceptic material herehere and here and the 
">new sceptic movie, and then see which side of the debate you find more convincing.

Instead Lucas gives kids these three ad hominems

♦ Sceptics find the climate change idea “just too scary to think about so they tell themselves it is not really happening”.

♦ They are more worried about necessary societal changes to deal with warming. They deny climate change to protect things they care about.

♦ They have friends who are climate deniers: “Sometimes this kind of [sceptic] story can be catchy within the group”. Being social creatures, they agree with these others in their tribe.

Dr Lucas is a UTas geography research fellow. Last year the university gave her “huge congratulations on receiving the ‘Tasmanian Young Tall Poppy of the Year’ — notwithstanding that with her greying hair and UK work on BBC science documentaries in the 1990s, I’d put her at 40-plus.[4] [5] (I should apply for one of those Young Tall Poppy awards myself.) Incidentally, it’s odd about her dread that Tasmania might warm. When she first came in 2006 to what some people today call lutruwita, the sleet almost sent her fleeing back to Townsville, as she admitted later.

One Tassie kid asked Curious Climate’s  PhD candidate Charlotte Jones, “How will our generation live a full life as it is supposed to get unbearably hot by something like 2033?” Her expert reply included, “While by 2033 it will not be unbearably hot in Tasmania very often, there will still places in the world where this temperature change has a really big impact”.

Neither Dr Lucas nor Ms Jones referred kids to actual BOM temperature data for Hobart, which show no perceptible rise in hottest days per year, and an actual fall in temperatures for annual five-day heatwaves (editor: see the charts at the foot of this page). As for the sea rise which generates such fear among the academics, the rate at Port Arthur since 1841 has been 10cm per century, the length of my middle finger.

The Curious Climate schools’ study includes socio-babble for the in-crowd about how the kids’ questions can “disrupt dominant social hierarchies of adult power and legitimize the active and collective role of children in seeking transformative socioecological change.” The professed need is to “empower young voices in public climate discourse.” The authors quote approvingly  the overseas kids “demanding policy solutions including a shift away from capitalist norms.”[6]

Curious Climate instructs teachers to tell kids warming is making extreme weather more common and worse – fires, heatwaves, storms, floods, droughts, that sort of thing — and advises “You can find lots of information on these inquiry topics in our Experts’ answers.” Kids would do better to look up the IPCC Reports’ contrary findings, set out here. When Curious Climate “experts” hype that the Barrier Reef is in peril, kids should look up the data showing record coral extent for the past two years.

The kids are washed with lavish misinformation about warming disrupting Australian farms and food production[7], and causing an upsurge in heat deaths. Oh, really? The federal Agriculture Department had this to say in its Snapshot of Australian Agriculture 2024:

The breaking of a 3-year east-coast drought in 2020 has been followed by successive years of record-breaking production. Many agricultural regions transitioned from very poor to very good conditions within the span of a single season … The gross value of agricultural, fisheries and forestry production has increased by 51% in the past 20 years in real terms (adjusted for consumer price inflation), from approximately $62.2 billion in 2003–04 to $94.3 billion in 2022–23. When including fisheries and forestry, the total value of agricultural, fisheries and forestry production has increased by 46% in real terms in the [past] 20 year period from approximately $68.5 billion in 2003–04 to $100.1 billion in 2022–23.

As for Curious Climate’s “heat death” canard, Australian heat deaths have been vastly outnumbered by the reduction of deaths from cold weather, similarly to Europe where the winter deaths are ten-fold the heat deaths.

Another of Dr Lucas’s co-leaders is Dr Gabi Mocatta, who also wants any science take on climate for kids to be downplayed in favour of “thoughtful and credible” non-sciency answers, like “social or political aspects… about how this problem can be solved for the future of the whole planet.” Mocatta is convinced we have “less than a decade” to save the planet from CO2. “The decades-long science on climate is richly detailed and increasingly certain, so it is now our social responses to climate change that have become crucial.” She says she brought to this work “a background as a journalist and travel book author.” Despite her aversion to CO2, her emissions footprint has been huge, judging by her books authored or assisted, including Epic Runs of the World, South America, Russia Belarus & Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, Food Lovers’ Guide to the World, Great Adventures, Best Travel 2009, World Guide and Room for Romance (Australia).

The “interdisciplinary” tag for the Centre for Marine Socioecology that hosts Climate Curious is an understatement: Psychologist Clare Pitt there is doing a PhD thesis ” exploring interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of individuals with climate change anxiety“. Her supervisors include Professor of Journalism Elizabeth Lester, whose own co-published research includes “Envisioning a green modernity? The future of cricket in an age of climate crisis.”

Drawing on the concept of social futures, we argue that cricket is a significant site for the staging and perception of climate risks for worldwide audiences, and that a constellation of sporting, political, media and environmental actors are working to establish and communicate a new normative consensus about the game’s role in averting the worst impacts of climate change.

The world has 2.5 billion cricket fans. Of these 2.5 billion, seven (including one scientist or academic) shared her insights. Of the seven, three were Britons, one curiously was Japanese and three were resident in regions unknown. I intend to read before bedtime another of her papers, “Make love, not war?” about “Radical environmental activism’s reconfigurative potential and pitfalls” and “the planet experiencing an unprecedented anthropogenic moment of reckoning.” 

Don’t imagine that Tasmania University’s activism is just some outlier for fanaticism. The developed world’s OECD runs the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests for international benchmarking of kids’ schooling. It’s been pushing climate onto schools since 2006 under its plan, “Green at 15”. PISA’s German boss Andreas Schleicher says in Teacher Magazine, Australia, that in 2018 more than half of its schools in 66 countries had global warming on the curriculum. Kids were becoming activists for the environment (39 per cent), boycotting products and companies for political, ethical or environmental reasons (27 per cent), and signing petitions (25 per cent). (The smartest kids by PISA results were from Singapore and South Korea, and they showed the greatest awareness that nothing they could do would make any impact on warming). In Australia, about 80 per cent of PISA kids wanted to help the global environment but only 60 per cent thought they could make any difference. Schleicher said,

Climate change is likely the biggest test facing humanity… I know, some will say the climate challenge is far too urgent to place all our hopes in the next generation. And yes, that is true. But the sluggish progress we are seeing with changes in public awareness and behaviour show how much harder it is to unlearn comfortable beliefs and habits than to get it right from the start. That’s why it is important to be green at 15… The coming PISA science assessment in 2025 will take these issues up again.

Researching Curious Climate Schools is much like lifting a damp rock and finding many-legged insects everywhere snapping their nippers.

Tony Thomas’s latest book from Connor Court is Anthem of the Unwoke – Yep! The other lot’s gone bonkers. $34.95 from Connor Court here

[1] The program is “a key contributor” to UTas position as No.1 for Climate Action globally, in the Times Higher Education rankings.

[2] Curious Climate Schools is funded by the Tasmanian Climate Change Office, the Centre for Marine Socioecology and the University of Tasmania’s College of Science and Engineering. Others involved are the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), the loopy Doctors for the Environment and the CSIRO. The Tasmanian Education Department is on board, and Curious Climate is trying to get it to integrate the so-called “climate resources” into the Tasmanian curricula

[3] My transcribing condenses a few lines

[4] At the BBC she worked on documentaries ranging from space tourism to artificial hearts and re-designing the bra. It’s not gallant to query a lady’s age but Dr Lucas’s university and the Australian Institute of Policy & Science have both celebrated her youthfulness. They do seem confused whether she is their 2023 “Young Tall Poppy” or just their 2023 “Tall Poppy.” William Schwenck Gilbert in Trial by Jury wrote of a judge’s daughter, “She may very well pass for forty-three, in the dusk with the light behind her!”

[5] In 2022 Lucas also won from the US an Eric & Wendy Schmidt Award for Excellence in Science Communication, for her Curious Climate activity. The program was nominated for an Australasian Green Gown Award, and won the International Association of Media and Communication Research Climate Communication Award in 2022.

[6] From the same study, other kids went in for ‘‘’a discourse of doom’ reflecting a loss of hope and anxiety about the impacts of climate change.”

[7] “Disruption of farms and food production and increased stress in rural communities in southern and eastern Australia due to hotter and drier conditions.”

republished with permission.from Tony Thomas. 

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