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« Stewart on geologists | Main | Best keep quiet »

School brainwashing works

The BBC has just published the results of an opinion poll of schoolchildren. Asked to rank the biggest risks facing the world today, children seemed impressed by arguments for catastrophic global warming, placing it second behind terrorism, with 49% suitably scared.

I guess the relentless propaganda pumped out by schools and the BBC has had some effect.

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Reader Comments (75)

Unless we are lucky, they and their children will learn the cold hard facts of life from the climate.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Much to my dismay,
There's a hard rain gonna fall.
Rock On, Ma Gaia.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

It's interesting that the children surveyed do not seem to have any awareness of the dangers presented by political responses to the perceived threat from CAGW.

Food supply constraints because of biofuels. Energy gaps because of renewables. Anti-nuclear sentiment and anti-GM sentiment fostered by a fuzzy 'environmentalist' 'mindset' universally prevalent amongst the bien pensants.

It's a little like mistaking the fin for the whole shark.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Is there a 'terrorism index' for the UK so that today's situation can be compared to, say the 1980's?

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Drake

Of course brainwashing works -- influential leaders have known this for a long time.

"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

"Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." -- Josef Stalin

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

It would be interesting to see whether opinions are the same in independent schools as in the state sector. I suspect that teachers in the private sector are less susceptible to the guff spewed out by Gore, Curtis, Ward and co.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

A fairly depressing insight into childrens' minds, which says very little for the standard of education.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

That's a pretty poor survey, and technique. Most of the items presented as threats to the world would be mroe or less unintelligible to most kids. The three largest choices are the three they'd likely have come accross. This is definitely one for the round filing cabinet. I wonder how much money the Beeb spent on such a poor piece of work.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Interesting to see that the children rate Climate Change as the second biggest threat to the planet, but only the 6th biggest danger to themselves (behind crime, drugs, terrorism, traffic and the internet), and only 13% see it as one of their top 3 dangers.

I think this is encouraging. The brainwashing hasn't worried them personally so much, though they have accepted in larger numbers that the world has a serious problem

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

And not just in the UK (with our govt. funded ads on drowning puppies and of course the infamous 10:10 video). This attitude is embedded in education elsewhere too as this excellent Mises article describes in detail the use of cartoon quizzes in Australian schools.

"Greena invites children to use the website's Greenhouse Calculator[6] to "find out what age you should die at so you don't use more than your fair share of Earth's resources." This calculator helps children to determine how much of a "greenhouse pig" a person is by answering questions about how much the person spends and consumes. On the basis of these answers the calculator determines the person's CO2 consumption, which is depicted by making the cartoon "greenhouse pig" look bigger, fatter, dirtier and angrier. When the child has answered the questions they are instructed to click on a skull and cross-bones symbol to find out when the person should die, depicted by having the pig explode in a bloody cartoon mess leaving only a pool of blood and a curly tail. For example, according to the calculator, the consumption of an "average Aussie pig" is 24.6 tonnes of CO2 per year. At this level, the calculator states:

Based on the emissions from your greenhouse usage, you used up your share of the planet by the time you were 9.3 years old! … You should die at age 9.3. "

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Terrorism is the no.1 threat, though its well known this is not the reality. The scare factor is a major influence on perception. Those who promote the AGW-scare know too that.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

It doesn't bode well for schools or education (or the Beeb) when the children discover that they've been sold a pup, though. Real Soon Now, one hopes.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

So undue influence of wrong-headed green thinking wasn't on the list then! How did the BBC manage to miss that one: don't they keep up on current affairs?

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth


While I am cynical about anything produced by the BBC, I am strongly inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to this participant:

'The Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education (RSSCSE) at the University of Plymouth has worked on this project with BBC News School Report. The RSSCSE has 10 years experience in running CensusAtSchool ( involving hundreds of primary and secondary schools, and has experts on all aspects of data gathering at schools and on the creation of learning resources associated with this.'

Accordingly, I presume the survey was properly designed, deployed, and analysed.

The c.50% result for seeing 'climate change' as being amongst 'biggest threats' is not surprising, but it is appalling. I hope to post soon on my site an example of pressure to make children alarmed about climate, deliberately aimed at primary school children on their own school premises and elsewhere. I suspect this practice may be widespread. I'd like to see a sample survey conducted to get some numbers on that.

Mar 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Only 329 schools answered.

I think children are not as 'thick' as they are painted, they are let down by a shoddy educational system. They should be stretched intellectually and this doesn't happen, they're spoon fed and it's poor pap. But in the end, indoctrination can produce the opposite of the desired effect.

Agitprop's chiefs in the [N.U.T.] and the Beeb should be reprimanded and illuminated publicly for their propagation of; propaganda and blatant lies fed to our youngsters.

Then, it is the adults duty, ie, our job, to firstly point out this egregious behavioural conditioning and next - try to stop it.

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

ABC seems to have pulled the plug on the actual website
Planet Slayer
- I wonder why?

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith MacDonald

There is a big difference between the views of schools and schoolchildren. As such, a school-based survey is not the same as a survey of chldren who attend school. This survey has very little value, since it reflects an agenda. Most children are not interested in global warming as an issue of concern, unless CAGW leads to the direct destruction of the school buildings ..... then the little darlings will be all for it.

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I find it quite encouraging that 51% DON'T think climate change is a threat, despite the relentless propaganda!

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Keith MacDonald --
Apparently, the Planet Slayer game was created in 2003. [E.g. here's a dated link to it.] Rather surprising that I hadn't heard a mention of it ere now, especially since it seems rather 10:10-ish in tone. [The article which Marion cited is dated 2008.]

According to a comment here, the game was pulled in Dec 2009. Which is a very long delay from the May 2008 dateline of the above link, in which ABC promise to review the site's content.

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Last summer I was taking our son around Marwell Zoo in Hampshire and noticed a large sign outside one of the animal shelters. It was clearly intended for use as a teaching aid by the constant stream of teachers taking children round the zoo on school outings.

I can remember school trips to the zoo. We went to look at and learn about the animals.

This is the text:


Environment Agency

Climate change is bad news for animals – but you can HELP!

We should all be worried about how plants and animals all over the world are being harmed by climate change.

What will happen here?

Scientists agree that in the South of England we will have:

- bad storms more often

- long droughts in Summer

- more rain and flooding in winter

- rising sea-levels – half a metre by 2050

- rising temperatures – 2 to 6C by 2050 – 10 times faster than the last ice age.

What causes climate change?


Fossil fuels are used to make electricity and we use petrol made from oil in our cars. As a result, each of us is responsible for producing 1000 times more carbon dioxide than someone in the developing world.

TEN TOP TIPS – to save money and help the world

1. Use low energy light bulbs

2. Don’t leave your TV on standby – it uses 80% of the energy used when watching TV

3. Turn down your heating by 1C – save 10% of your heating bill

4. Use your car less – they are responsible for 20% of our carbon dioxide emissions

5. Use electrical appliances that use less electricity

6. Reduce your waste by buying products with less packaging

7. Reuse packaging such as ice cream tubs as lunch boxes

8. Repair things rather than buying new

9. Recycle paper, glass, plastic, cans and clothing

10.Buy recycled products

Let’s all help – to make a difference!


I have a photo if anyone (eg John Shade) would like to see it.

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Whoops - forgot to say I was commenting on this linked article

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith MacDonald

It's nothing less than an indictment of the indoctrination embedded into the national curriculum. Disgusting.

Mar 24, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

Garbage in garbage out.

Mar 24, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

There must be a suitable name for evil adults who prey on the fears of children, fears those same adults induced. I know a lot of words but I cannot think of one that succinctly labels such monsters.
If history were adequately taught in schools, children would know beyond question that a warm world is safe and that its peoples are productive, industrious, well-fed and relatively peaceful; in a cold world, illness, starvation and war abounds.

Mar 24, 2011 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Just watched the London local news at lunchtime. It may be available on player at some point, I don't know.

They were talking to a school class to promote the survey mentioned above. The young girl they spoke to about climate change said that she was really worried about it because, ‘every geography lesson they tell us about it’.

Mar 24, 2011 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record


“I think children are not as 'thick' as they are painted”

Agreed. They are also very good at supplying the expected answer, irrespective of knowledge or belief. It would be useful to know how the questions were asked and by whom!

Mar 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


“rising temperatures .. 10 times faster than the last ice age.”

I know the warmists have trouble deciding whether AGW makes things hotter or colder, but that’s ridiculous!

Mar 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Of course; that's how Cultural Marxism works. Indoctrinate the next generation of leaders. All according to Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. That's why that hairy, smelly lot of hippies sitting in at campuses in Europe and the USA in the 1960 have foisted us with everything that is destroying Western civilisation today: political correctness, a ridiculous number and variation of "human rights", "health and safety" regulations so restrictive that kids have given up learning hard sciences, socialist principles governing all the major political parties; destruction of the nuclear family by the introduction and encouragement of "alternative lifestyles" and, best of all, multiculturalism. Climate Change/AGW/etc is as important a tool in the next stage of global socialism as political correctness was in destroying nationalism and patriotism in individual states, in that it will suck out the wealth of western democracies and redistribute it to the third world according to Marxist principles (particularly the unwritten ones, in that some pigs are more important than other animals).

The only hope for western civilisation is that the electorate will metaphorically "grow a pair" and vote for right wing newcomer parties. I only wish the UK had open primaries like the US.

Mar 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian Williams

James P

It is indeed bollocks. However, in many ways, the 'TEN TOP TIPS - to save money and help the world' are even more egregiously stupid and wrong.

Mar 24, 2011 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Sigh! That sign is just so inaccurate:

"Scientists agree that in the South of England we will have:

- bad storms more often

Nope, no link between weather and AGW - try Philip Eden's book on the British weather for examples of how current weather is not "unprecedented"

- long droughts in Summer

See previous answer

- more rain and flooding in winter

See previous answer, oh and the three VERY cold winter since Philip Eden's book was published#

- rising sea-levels – half a metre by 2050

Uh, no. Sea level continues to rise at a very steady 2 mm or so per year, whcih it has done quietly for the last few centuries. So expect 10 cm by 2050,

- rising temperatures – 2 to 6C by 2050 – 10 times faster than the last ice age.

At the end of the Younger Dryas running into the Holocene the ice cores suggest the temperature rose by 10 - 15 degC in just a few decades. Similar changes in Greenland ice cores (perhaps 6 - 10 degC) during dansgaard-oeschger cycles - about every 1500 years or so. See Wiki:

"Dansgaard-Oeschger events are rapid climate fluctuations that occurred 25 times during the last glacial period. Some scientists (see below) claim that the events occur quasi-periodically with a recurrence time being a multiple of 1,470 years, but this is debated.

"In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period. For example, about 11,500 years ago, averaged annual temperatures on the Greenland icepack warmed by around 8°C over 40 years, in three steps of five years (see [2], Stewart, chapter 13) - 5°C change over 30-40 yrs more common."

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Biggest risk facing the world today? Well, ignoring diseases and epidemics, the risk of death or injury from a motor vehicle accident should rate pretty high on the scale. And its a hard one to minimise unless you move to somewhere like Venice or Spiekeroog. Do those schoolkids really think atmospheric carbon dioxide is a bigger danger? I find that hard to believe. But perhaps they do. So who's been teaching them this stuff?
I'd rate ski-ing holidays as a lot more risky than 'terrorism' in the conventional usage. And what about ladders? Garden ponds? Dangerous!

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterColdish

Kids have their whole life ahead of them , so when they hear that the arctic may be ice free by 2030 it resonates much more with them because they intend to live to see that day.

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

No 'kid' thinks of the 'whole life' ahead of them, Mr Hengist Viggen McStone.

Kids think of the moment, their life, their fun and their school, their girls etc.

It is the brainwashers who think of the 'kids whole life'.

What business is the ice-freeness of the Arctic, to a kid?

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

How do we explain this?

British High Commission donates Age of Stupid DVD to schools

The British High Commission in Malta is donating schools’ packs of the documentary-drama The Age of Stupid to all secondary schools, and copies of The Age of Stupid DVD to all tertiary education institutions in Malta and Gozo.
The donation of The Age of Stupid forms part of the British High Commission’s effort to encourage young people’s understanding of climate change and the environment. The British High Commissioner in Malta, Louise Stanton, believes it is imperative for them to be well-informed and conscious of their obligations to the planet and its people:
Malta would be badly affected by an increase in drought in the Mediterranean basin, and a rise in temperature would make summers in often-parched Malta unbearable.

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub


Psychologists have known for many years that one of the keys to stress is being faced by a problem or problems you cannot resolve, directly or indirectly.

The desire to act coupled with the impossibility of action generates damaging psychological conflict.

I cannot think of a better way of stressing (ie frightening) children than bombarding them with climate fear. How are they supposed to do anything about a global problem like fossil fuel dependence?

The smarter ones - who will likely be the most stressed - will sooner or later work out that clap-trap about recycling and renewables is going to have precisely no effect. What then?

Non of your usual soundbites please. This is a deadly serious question and I would appreciate a carefully thought out response.

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

@ Hengist McStone

I see you are back: how did you get on with that email to Donna Laframboise?

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth


Yes. A disgrace even by the abysmal standards of government 'information' on climate change. The Environment Agency really didn't cover itself in glory on this one.

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


“even more egregiously stupid and wrong”

Agreed. It was just difficult to know where to start!

Some small cheer, though, on another topic - a proposed local field of solar panels that has passed through local planning without a scratch, has suddenly been rendered unprofitable by the government’s late realisation that too much FIT subsidy might be getting too expensive/noticeable, so they’ve capped it at 50kW. Ho ho.

Mar 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@BBD 'The smarter ones... will sooner or later work out that clap-trap about recycling and renewables is going to have precisely no effect. What then?'

Indeed. Im not able to predict the future so I don't know. I guess they will feel pretty aggrieved that the AGW signal was distinguished from noise and presented to congress as early as 1988 but was ignored because of corruption. And that corruption is still visible in the writing of many commentators today. Future generations will have to live with the consequences of our collective behaviour. I'm sorry I can't really give you 'a solution' to the question you raise.

@ Hi simpleseekeraftertruth

Donna's replied, and my current thinking is here : :-)

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone


Have a look at this.

Then this.

And when you were at school?

P.S. Would check your link but you telegraph your punch in the title.

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth


Your mention of the 'abysmal standards of government 'information' ' brought to mind that disgraceful booklet published by the Met Office in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks with its usual 'hockey-stick' type graph showing temperatures to be within about 1 degree centigrade over the last 1300 years and then the steep blade with an increase of approx 3 degrees in the next 100 years. I see they've now updated it from "The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997" (my hard copy) to "The 17 warmest years have all occurred in the last 20 years" now currently on line.

What really irritates is that our taxes go to fund this nonsense.

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Alfred in Tasmania has a new blog for his climate change indoctrination articles. His first posting starts:

"Students in a Society and History (SAH) class on “the Impact of Climate Change” at a Tasmanian high school, must donate to a Canadian environmental organization in order to be awarded points in a “scavenger hunt” and to gain marks."

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

So Hengist,
You 'demanded' from Donna to demonstrate to you why the IPCC has failed to set any minimum standards for its own authors.
You 'demanded' from Donna to demonstrate to you who can actually be considered experts, as opposed to Sari Kovats

She gave you her answers. You don't agree with her answers.

And that makes you right? and her 'case' a 'canard'?

In other words, you are another Jo Abbess, zedbed, who demands those who criticize the IPCC to adhere to some standard (when the criticism itself is that the IPCC adhere to some standard), and yet you will not stick to any standard yourself?

How is it, that you have no better business than do defend the IPCC to the death, even in the clearest of cases where it has faltered or revealed its bias? If you love the IPCC so much, shouldn't you be more strident in you cries to demand of it, a better standard?

Than to dismiss as 'opinion', an *informed judgement* that the IPCC has followed no standard?

It is your partisan bullshitting that more damaging to the IPCC and its authority, weakened as it were already by the assignment of tyros and students as experts and lead authors, than any questions that skeptics can bring to bear, that you so desist. Wake up.

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub


Re.your comment -
"Future generations will have to live with the consequences of our collective behaviour".
Indeed the 'brainwashing' type propaganda that govts have so far indulged in has already had serious consequences.
It can indeed do serious psychological damage.

"A lengthy posting on Lee's website said Discovery and its affiliates should stop "encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants ...Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," reads the site. "Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!" it says.

"he said he became committed to that cause after being laid off from his job in San Diego. He said he had been inspired by “Ishmael,” a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn and by former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. "

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

As to brainwashing, the trick cyclists are on the case - ably assisted by our good friend Bob Ward

Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

If you don't believe in the "consensus on climate" you's mad , bonkers - deranged even......

Mar 24, 2011 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom


I'm sorry you find yourself unable to address my original question. I will accept you total future silence on the subject of climate education in UK schools in lieu of a substantive response.

Your attempt instead to apportion blame is unsurprising given your typically simplistic analysis. You imply several things, none of which are true:

1). That Hansen made his case incontrovertibly in 1988

2). That there was then, or is now, any realistic method for drastically decarbonising the global economy

3). That the major fossil fuel consuming nations could, in 1988, or now, or in the future, act in concert to reduce global emissions sufficiently to mitigate significant climate change

4). That the science reviewed in IPCC AR4 WG1 is conclusive and essentially correct, particularly with relevance to the model and paleoclimate-derived estimates for equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2

5). Your misrepresentation of (1), (2) and (3) leads you to characterise every non-aligned response to climate alarmism as 'corruption' - a polarising and absolutely incorrect statement

Mar 24, 2011 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


She's doing a book - look out Bish!

Mar 24, 2011 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom


What an APPALLING bunch of charlatans !

Mar 24, 2011 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

Shub, I did not demand from Donna what you say I did. You are welcome to read what I write but if you are going to rewrite it, credit it to yourself not me. Your commentary above is what is called a strawman argument. It is simply dishonest of you to misrepresent me, to then pose questions to me on the basis of your misrepresentations isn't debate it's just objectionable.

Mar 24, 2011 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

@ BBD I have addressed your original question, I just don't feel I can present a satisfactory solution. Perhaps the answer is that our generation should be doing a little more to anticipate future problems and a little less pretending those problems will not come to pass.

I don't recall mentioning decarbonising the global economy above, nor a load of other things you attribute to me.

Mar 24, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

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