Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Climate change crusaders are concerned that at 16 years old, the age Climate is officially introduced to the Australian school curriculum, too many kids are proving intractable, holding onto skeptical views about climate change. Their solution – start applying pressure when the kids are younger and less able to resist authority.
Why we’re building a climate change game for 12-year-olds
October 30, 2017 6.10am AEDT
PhD candidate, Australian National University
Senior Lecturer, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University
There is no doubt that we need to teach kids about climate change.
But although the Australian Curriculum embeds climate change into its senior high school program, children are typically aged around 16 before they receive any formal teaching on the topic. We argue that this is too late.
Here’s a possible solution: “CO2peration” is an interactive, online game we developed for children aged 12-14. It teaches climate science in a politics- and emotion-free zone.
In most countries, the topic of climate change is usually introduced at around the age of 16. Unfortunately, students at this age have largely made up their minds about climate change. Any efforts to teach them about the science may cement those opinions (both for and against) – particularly if it threatens their existing opinion.
This “made up their mind” phenomenon is known as a worldview – and it is the single biggest predictor of an individual’s opinion related to climate change.
Working with 12-year-olds
At the age of around 12, children undergo a rapid developmental change that, over the next 12 years, will take them fully into adulthood.
This change preempts some exciting intellectual developments. It prepares the child for some of the challenges of adulthood – such as building social networks, finding work or becoming financially responsible. It also allows them to start processing complex issues like nuclear energy or social justice.
So around age 12, children’s worldview is still open to change and they can take on board new information in a way that their older selves may not.
I guess the idea that school is there to teach kids how to read and write and reason is way too old fashioned for modern educationalists, who now appear to consider school a means of indoctrinating kids with their worldview.
They don’t appear to have considered, or maybe don’t care that deliberately bringing many of the kids into conflict with their parents by force feeding the kids social justice and climate action dogma from a young age might disrupt their home life, which could have all manner of detrimental knock on effects.
When it comes to green policy, the end always seems to justify the means.