ON AIR: Saturday Morning with Jack Tame

9a.m. - 12p.m.

Kate Hawkesby: Kids need to care about our climate but don't need to protest

Author
Kate Hawkesby ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 14 March 2019, 7:08a.m.

What do you want if you have an issue that needs attention? A spotlight on it. And this climate change protest tomorrow's got it.

It doesn't matter which way your argument falls on climate change, the fact is we're all talking about it. In fact, my daughter, who's not even at secondary school yet, is talking about it.

She's worried about global warming and climate change, she said this randomly after school the other day. That can be sheeted back to the kind of education kids are getting these days - highlighting issues facing future generations is no bad thing. As long as it's balanced.

A school teacher emailed me the other day saying he makes sure he teaches his students both sides of the climate change debate. Some teachers say they won't teach it at all, others preach it as gospel.
What we need is balance.

Schools and even pre-schools are adept at educating about the environment these days: we have garden-to-table programmes, litter-less lunches, no-plastic policies. Our kids since primary school have had to take their lunches in non-plastic wrap, and bring home their rubbish.

They're talked to about the impact of their actions, and the state of the earth they're inheriting. Most of the teaching fraternity our kids have encountered have taught the realities of climate change, hence we do have kids as young as primary school age worrying about it.

One of my daughter's teachers said he wanted to take the class to tomorrow's march – he thought it'd be educational. That's not really a teacher's decision to make, and despite her enthusiasm for his idea, the school overruled it.

A couple of the schools we know of have said no way, no one is leaving for a day to march.

I remember my Mum taking me on a protest march against the Springbok tour, I was just 8 or 9 years old.

It was rowdy and feisty and probably a lot more intense than a school march against climate change may be - but it was certainly an eye opener.

I got to witness first-hand the depth of passion and fervent belief adults had in things they cared deeply about. I got to witness people using their voices, en mass, for change.

It was certainly an education.

Is it good for kids to care about stuff? I think so - if it's moderated and not anxiety-promoting. God knows they already have enough to be anxious about.

I don't think it's our job as parents to actively encourage our kids to leave school to protest - but we should be encouraging them to think, and work out for themselves what they care enough about to go and protest for.

But let's be honest, half the thrill is that it's on a school day.

Had this been a weekend event, you'd get nowhere near the amount of people who'll turn out tomorrow.

ON AIR: Saturday Morning with Jack Tame

9a.m. - 12p.m.