Commentary: Climate Activists Have Exploited Our Children

by Mark Hendrickson


A report published in the Washington Times last week, entitled “Young conservatives take climate activism to GOP presidential debate,” undoubtedly is of grave concern to conservatives and the Republican Party. A group of young Republicans called the American Conservation Coalition is warning GOP presidential candidates that they “need to engage on energy and climate or they’re going to lose young voters.”

The wording employed by the spokeswoman for the group points to where the upcoming difficulty lies: “I think party leaders understand the importance of young people and not alienating an entire generation of voters to appeal to a fringe part of the party that doesn’t want to acknowledge climate change.” It is absolutely true that the Republican Party cannot win national elections without a decent share of votes from younger voters. Alas, the assertion that the danger comes from “a fringe part of the party that doesn’t want to acknowledge climate change” sounds like a Democratic talking point and goes against Republicans’ relatively saner views on climate change.

Conservative Kids Need to Be Unindoctrinated

Personally, I don’t know of anyone arguing that the climate isn’t changing. The questions important for the formulation of public policy are: How much is the climate changing? To what extent are human beings and their emissions of carbon dioxide driving change? At what point do the costs and damages of attempts to mitigate climate change exceed hoped-for benefits?

The fact that even conservative kids believe the climate-alarmism narrative testifies to the success that the government and scientific elite have had in indoctrinating our youth in the belief that there is a bona fide climate crisis. We need to find a way to convince young conservatives that the real goal of the political elite pushing this agenda is an expansion of government powers — a course of action that will be far more detrimental to human well-being than the modest (and mostly positive) changes in Earth’s climate.

These bright, well-meaning, conservative young adults may be too programmed for us to convince them with graphs and studies showing no significant correlation between CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and global temperatures. I wonder if they could draw a logical inference from the fact that most of the learned scientists contradicting the alarmist narrative (including Nobel Prize winners) are generally of emeritus status, meaning they aren’t subject to the pressures of government funding as are their younger colleagues.

After years of being taught in school that human emissions of CO2 are wrecking the climate, these young adults may not be willing to listen to explanations of the multiple benefits of our atmosphere’s CO2 enrichment or be persuaded by the happy news that, in the battle with the ravages of climate (ravages that have always taken place, even before SUVs and the Industrial Revolution), we humans are winning. Would these young people be willing to learn of the multiple ways in which intermittent energy sources are both environmentally and economically destructive?

The Left Has Intentionally Indoctrinated Kids in Climate Alarmism

The Left has been filling our youths’ minds with nonsense for decades. Remember, Karl Marx’s 10th point in his 10-point platform to achieve socialism is for the state to control the schools. Indeed, Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci revealed the game plan when he wrote, “Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches, and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”

The widespread belief in catastrophic human-caused climate change was advanced by UNESCO, the U.N. bureaucracy that focuses on children, as demonstrated in its “Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit.” And who can forget Al Gore? He told children years ago that their parents, while undoubtedly well-meaning, lack access to the latest “scientific” information that the students will be given in school (in other words, listen to what you are taught in school, not to your poor, benighted parents). The British government pushed every secondary school in the U.K. to watch Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truthclaiming that “[c]hildren are the key to changing society’s long-term attitudes to the environment.” 

Sadly, it was a Republican president who enabled our country’s public schools to engage in environmental propaganda. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the National Environmental Education Act, which put the Environmental Protection Agency in charge of our children’s education on environmental issues with the creation of the Office for Environmental Education.

Students in American schools are often explicitly required to master the environmental curriculums of their school systems. Read this Maryland State Board of Education guide to “Environmental Education in Maryland Public Schools” to get the flavor:

The Maryland State Environmental Literacy Curriculum indicators and objectives are drawn from existin courses of study and represent the knowledge, skills, habits of mind, and attitudes that a student will have upon graduating from a Maryland high school.

“Attitudes”? “Habits of mind”? Are you kidding me? The same requirement to be (allegedly) environmentally literate (i.e., fully indoctrinated in the “official science”) is present in the United Kingdom, prompting one U.K. observer to comment:

The fact that children’s ability to pass their exams — and hence their future life prospects — appears to depend on being able to demonstrate their climate change orthodoxy is painfully reminiscent of life in communist-era Eastern Europe or Mao’s China.

The endless drumbeat of climate change alarmism has literally brainwashed the younger generation to think that we are faced with an existential threat. Shamelessly, the alarmists for years have been exploiting young people for their own propaganda campaigns, whether it be young Greta Thunberg or the 10,000 children whom the climate change cabal flew to Egypt last fall for the UN’s annual climate conference. The way the education establishment has deliberately sown anxiety and fear among young people to the extent that anxiety and depression among school-age Americans have reached epidemic proportions is one of the vilest types of educational malpractice ever concocted by unscrupulous adults. This has been an ongoing travesty.

Now, conservatives and Republicans have the unenviable task of trying to deprogram millions of younger Americans from the myths of catastrophic man-made climate change. It will be an uphill, maybe even impossible, task. But the facts (and, yes, the science) are on our side.

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Mark Hendrickson is an economist who retired from the faculty of Grove City College in Pennsylvania, where he remains fellow for economic and social policy at the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He is the author of several books on topics as varied as American economic history, anonymous characters in the Bible, the wealth inequality issue, and climate change.




Appeared at and reprinted from The American Spectator

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