'Should climate change be on the primary school curriculum in Sheffield?' This is what you said...

The name Greta Thunberg is trending once again.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 11:01 am
Thousands of young people across the globe took part in a day of protest calling for urgent action to fight climate change - photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The 16-year-old Swedish activist visited New York last month to continue her international youth movement against climate change, joining millions at Global Climate Strike. Along with 15 other young people, aged 8-17, she stood up at the United Nations to file a legal complaint against five countries currently not on track to meet the emissions goals agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Which raises an interesting question, as we watch babies stand where adults should, what part should our children have in the fight against climate change? How much should we be teaching them in schools?

When it comes to our own children, the people of Sheffield have some strong opinions, which they shared with us on The Star’s Facebook page this week as we asked: ‘should we be making room in the primary school curriculum for climate change?’

David French said: ‘Of course! We're a species where most of us don't properly understand our relationship with our own habitat. We should be taught from an early age how our actions have consequences and how we can live in balance and harmony with our planet rather than just taking from it.’

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Kelsie Davies agreed: ‘Absolutely. My daughter runs an eco club after school. Start them young to protect and respect the planet.’

Michael Short added: ‘Of course. There's no point learning about anything else if we can't live on the planet.’

‘Why is this even a question?’ demanded Matthew Parker. ‘It's the same as asking if we should be including primary school children in the fight against illiteracy, by making room in the curriculum for reading.’

Colin Shotter said: ‘100 per cent, after all it's their planet, and they have a right to live a hopefully long natural life as previous generations have.’

Many had concerns about children dealing with such serious issues at such a young age, stipulating that care must be taken not to cause anxiety.

David Chinchen said: ‘Yes, but please don’t give them nightmares.’

Rebecca Louise Malkin agreed: ‘Teach but don't preach. Allow them a childhood, they have enough worries without extra problems over which they have no control.’

Ian Durnan said: ‘Certainly not. There is too much non-essential information being forced onto children which is causing them to be overloaded with basically adult information.’

Nigel Hodkin said: ‘Let them have a childlike childhood’ and Pete Tait agreed: ‘Let them be children first!’

And a number of parents commented that their children are already learning about climate change in schools:

Rebecca Crossland said: ‘My daughter has been learning about the environment and pollution and that's great and appreciated.’

Jennifer Mohammed Jones said: ‘My child is already taught about climate change in primary school. He's 8.’

Kerry Luisa Ogman added: ‘My 9YO daughter is doing climate change this term as the classes special subject.’

Mark Jeffries said: ‘You can start by walking the kids to school, turn off the heating in winter and turn off the air-con in summer, explain why by teaching them about the amount of pollution created to run these devices.’