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In the shade

John Shade has a guest post up at the Schools Improvement Net website:

So, gentle readers of this blog, do you think eco-activism should be given a free rein within schools? Do you think you should participate in raising fears, followed by giving detailed guidance on how your pupils should live, as well as on what they should think? Do you think it is part of your job to burden your pupils with ‘saving the planet’ and putting pressure on their parents?

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Reader Comments (36)

what good all the windmills when one of the OTHER calamities strike us ?

bio terrror, e-coli, Volcanoes, tsunamis, comet impact, nuclear war, worldwarIII , more froth from the bbc(at their grotesque selfset pay), global cooling, ice age, economy collapse, super novae, increased galactic cosmic rays, solar dimming, terrorist attacks..

May 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

My son is doing his GCSEs right now. Climatology seems to appear under Geography more than Science, but he knows what answers are expected, even though he also knows most of it is bollocks. I'm not sure that improves the status of education, though...

May 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Love the comments about religion!

May 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

My children like Chris Packham but I am concerned by this rant from him:

Chris Packham Says 'Put Wildlife Before Humans And Stop Chasing Cures For Cancer'

I do worry that this where eco-activism is going, where some loathe themselves for being born.

May 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

jamesp - even though he also knows most of it is bollocks.

You've got yourself a genius kid! Didn't know GCSE level education was so good these days!

May 20, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard


May 20, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

John Shade, you are a very erudite and persuasive fellow, glad that I am - you don't work for the 'other' side but then, how could you?

Jack Cowper,

Chris Packham, is a ladder climber and ambitious to the nth degree. A hollow man, who has an eye for what he believes are popularist causes and the misanthropy of green religion is just perfect for him but he is not the cuddly 'Mr. Nicey' bloke some think him to be - you should try to explain to your children but very gently - that not everything which meets the eye, is all it seems.

May 20, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Jack Cowper, May 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Thanks (I think) for the link to Packham.

Environmentalism is a political/religious ideology that specifically privileges non-human life over human life (apart from the priesthood, obviously), that despises human freedom & potential, and that implicitly rejects the whole idea of human advancement in any form. It is ironic, to say the least, that this noxious creed is strongest in academic circles.

Disgusting as his remarks are, Packham is expressing the standard position - albeit more frankly than is usual.

May 20, 2014 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHamish McCallum

When I was at school we were forced to sing "All things bright and beautiful" in school assembly. It was harmless (and tedious) enough as far as religious rituals go, and appeals to the "caring" emotion which most will wish their children to learn.

But at least parents were given the choice as to whether their children were forced to attend, and a few of them took the option not to.

Or should we have separate schools for those who wish to promulgate this particular religion within the state education system?

May 20, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The Early Bird once said she didn't know if she were writing an expose or an autopsy. My suggestion was to read Arthur C. Clarke's 'Childhood's End'.

May 20, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

If their parents wanted to save the planet why did they have the kids in the first place.

May 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Talking of which BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham says we should spend more money on saving the planet than treating people with cancer.

Wonder if he was sad when he heard of the loss of that other BBC wildlife presenter Terry Nutkins who tragically died of Cancer.

May 20, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

So Chris who was Nick Carter

May 20, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Packham exposed the hateful misanthropy of the Greenshirts in his appearance on the (alleged) BBC comedy Room 101 - his most hated animal - humans.

May 20, 2014 at 5:40 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

I read the story in total disgust in today's Sun next to their Breast Cancer Self Examination Awareness promotion by a brave lady survivor running a Cancer Charity the Editor and a couple of Page 3 girls ,its called rather tastefully "Check em out Tuesday"

Big clamour to sack Clarkson from the BBC recently .Perhaps someone should check out Chris Packham a man who puts Cutesy Animals above Human Suffering ,Eco Fascist ___t ,Sorry Bish you dont like the use of that term.

May 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Such is Packham's grasp of his subject that he thinks that the badger's ability to fit perfectly into its own sett is remarkable.

May 20, 2014 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

Twich-Hunt Chris Packham .So what exactly did you say then Chris.

Last week it was Clarkson facing the Chop now its Chris.

Fighting for your BBC salary now Chris "Mr Cancer Research Funding Hater"

May 20, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

There is a parallel here with previous activities of the clod-hopping University of Delaware which a few years ago instituted an ideological reeducation program which the university described as “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The aim was for all the students in residence halls to be forced to adopt views which had been approved by the university on politics, race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) "informed the school that forcing university views on students through this comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment was morally repugnant as well as unconstitutional, a clear assault on individuals’ freedom of conscience. With the assistance of the Delaware Association of Scholars, FIRE quickly persuaded former President Harker to eliminate the program.

"Since that initial victory, however, there have been continued attempts to reinstate the coercive elements of the ResLife program."

May 20, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered Commenter52

Thanks be to the Bish for the plug!

I think that will have made a big surge in visits to the site, where I have been a bit dismayed to see so few responses from teachers, especially responses directly on-topic. I see just now that Mike Haseler has put a couple of feisty comments there. Well done Mike! I hope they might stir some responses.

But how do you reach teachers? Does anyone have any tips? I had once had hopes that my own wee blog would attract lively debates with teachers, but that has not happened. I'd be happy to go where the teachers go, but where is that? The Guardian would be no good as I think I would be censored-for-life within 24 hours. Such is the awfulness of that site, I think I would be offended were I not to be so treated ...

May 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

So Chris ask for the transcript of the interview and post it online.Dont forget you read the final draft you approved it.

May 20, 2014 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

John, I think the most visited place is the Times Educational Supplement. It's a free sign-up too. I used it to find sample papers for my son's GCSEs (much good that it did him, the lazy tyke) and it appears to be well attended by the teaching profession (!).

May 20, 2014 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

Teachers, simple don't have time to play around on blogs, especially those with families!

May 20, 2014 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

John Shade deeply sorry to ruin your thread with this Chris Packham nonsense.Respects John

Non Academic media stuff us Non Scientific Skeptic Trolly types can really rip the arse out of.
But if we can get Packham on the spot the BBC get him sacked or resign reprimanded or to grovellingly apologize it throws him into the public spotlight and the whole idea of Eco Fascism which is a bit of a myth really but its just Eco Arrogance or Eco Smugness or plain Eco lack of Human Compassion.

They wanted Clarkson,s head last week. After Yewtree Savile Rolf Harris Stuart Hall Max Clifford TV Personalities they,re all fair game now .
Maybe this actual Packham business does relate to your story ,teach school children to be skeptical of not just Politicians and Scientists but Moralizing Media Personalities too.

Lateset news Chris Packham is running scared on Twitter and is obviously blaming a Media Whitch Hunt with The Sun and the Daily Mail and importantly The Radio Times the original interviewer misquoting him yeah yeah blah blah.
But on Saturday Chris will be at a Pet Show at Earl Court London if hes got the balls to turn up might have to face a few Cancer survivors or Cancer patient relatives.I might even drop by

May 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

May 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

John, I was once a school liaison person for a very large research organisation. I had 4 local schools under my wing. I found reaching teachers to be a lost cause. I offered free courses in tme management, financial management, people skills and science all free all refused.

May 20, 2014 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

But on Saturday Chris will be at a Pet Show at Earl Court London if hes got the balls to turn up might have to face a few Cancer survivors or Cancer patient relatives.I might even drop by

The BBC will provide the usual answers and protective media consultant. No worries.

May 20, 2014 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

My apologies to John Shade for originally putting up the Chris Packham headline, thought it was kind off on topic - as my kids like him. I also do worry that this is where eco-activism is going.

Thanks Hamish, good advice - had not thought about it like that.

May 20, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

@John Shade

"But how do you reach teachers?"

From hard experience, you cannot if your message is unwanted

You will simply be ignored - the death of silence

May 20, 2014 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Three things:

Back in the 80s I watched a documentary about Disneyland's newly-built Environment Centre. The kiddies entered to be greeted by a gooey, recorded, Disneyfied voice informing them that "You are living on a dying planet." Bear in mind that this was the early eighties, global warming had hardly been heard of, and it was still being assumed in Green circles that we would destroy the biosphere (within ten years) purely by dumping toxic waste into it. Bear in mind also that nobody, nobody at all with any scientific credentials, had said that the planet was actually dying.

No-one but me understood why I thought this was appalling.

Secondly, consider teachers. Most of them believe in CAGW. Most of them want to save the planet. Almost none of them are climate-change fanatics. Not fanatical enough, at any rate, to want to distort the whole of their pupil's education to that end. Yet it still happens. Why?

Thirdly, jamesp - Your son is fed a diet of unrelieved warmist propaganda, and yet he "knows most of it is bollocks." How? Not because you tell him so, I bet.

What is really going on? It's not really about facts, let alone scientific facts, at all, is it?

May 21, 2014 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Gus


I find that 'unfossilized coprolite' is useful, re the unmetionable term.

May 21, 2014 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

When my educator confidently informed my class back in 1982 that all known oil reserves at current rates of usage would be completely exhausted by the year 2000, I looked at my class mate and my class mate looked at me, and I'm fairly certain we both had the same expression on our faces, which roughly translated, came out as "bullshit."

Although I guess our educator is laughing at us now ...

May 21, 2014 at 3:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

in 1982 that all known oil reserves at current rates of usage would be completely exhausted by the year 2000

Could have been right, based on known, as in proven, reserves, in 1982.
But the mistake it's extrapolating one trend while assuming the other will remain static. "The doom mongers' fallacy", you might call it.

May 21, 2014 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

I was an undergrad in the early '80s

When I reflect upon the hysteria a bunch of my profs poured forth, including worshipping Rachel Carson as God(dess), expecting imminent exhaustion of resources and utter doom, I think it's inoculated me fairly well against most intellectual fads.

So perhaps more people can struggle free of school and university propaganda....mwho knows?

May 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

I am a secondary school physics teacher and have been for the past 12 years and I disapprove of greenwash in schools as much as anybody else. For the sake of balance I have always presented skeptical arguments alongside what is required by the syllabus/national curriculum, and I have colleagues who do the same. It is my opinion that the green agenda is largely pushed by teachers of other subjects such as geography, a subject I describe as 'science for people who can't do it'.

May 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commentersst

Rather than the continuous moaning about the BBC here, why don't those who moan, just not get a licence. There is plenty of playback options out there, so you'd still get a wide range of things to view.

May 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

I wonder if whomsoever came up with the name Schools Improvement Net thought about the acronym?

May 22, 2014 at 2:43 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

jam and Jack, you are too kind. The thread does not seem to have been derailed, and nor is discussion of Packham irrelevant. I suppose that many schools would not hesitate for second about having him visit to talk to the pupils. But the notion that 'caring for the environment' means you are suitable to guide the young needs to be dropped asap. Environmental groups, or should I say corporations, and individual eco-zealots ought not to get a free pass into our schools. They deserve to be carefully vetted.

May 22, 2014 at 4:52 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

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