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Another children's crusade

18 Sep 2019 | OP ED Watch

David Suzuki, not content with scaring kids by melting Santa’s Workshop, has a new project called 18to8 to give the vote (and coffee) to 8-year-olds and enlist them as climate campaigners, organizers and… shameless props. It may be tongue-in-cheek. But it’s not brain-in-head.

On Mercatornet Veronika Winkels denounces the Suzuki Foundation for this latest attempt to instill fear in children. We’re not sure if you’re allowed to criticize old people for fear of seeming ageist, since apparently we’re not meant to insult Greta Thunberg for fear of seeming anti-youth, anti-this or anti-that. But in fact Winkels gets to the point about what Suzuki or those acting in his name are doing, asking “is instilling this kind of panic healthy and right for our children? Do we want them all to be like the young crusader Greta Thunberg, who first heard about climate change when she was eight, and literally worried herself sick about it by the time she was 11?” Well, do we?

Also, do we want adults hiding behind children? Winkels says ostensibly “the foundation’s 18to8 gig simply uses children in order to shame their parents into voting for green policies”. But, she says, “At the same time, the campaign really is aimed at kids. Probably there are teachers using it in their classrooms already. And although it is presented in a playful, upbeat style, it would work well as a recruiting tool for the panic troops.”

At this point she has the temerity to suggest that there might be other problems requiring more urgent attention. And here she includes a typical Mercatornet issue, family breakdown. It’s not an entirely fatuous concern, since “Ahead of climate change and even job and home security, according to the 2016 VICELAND UK Census, loneliness is the number one fear of Millennials. Some 42% of Millennial women are more afraid of it than a cancer diagnosis. Former Prime Minister Teresa May even chose to install a minister for loneliness in January 2018.” But even if you think it’s not an issue on its merits, indeed especially if you don’t, consider her point that people would be filled with outrage if someone went around frightening youngsters, and using them on camera, to denounce abortion. Or no-fault divorce.

It's time climate crusaders stopped using kids as puppets and as shields, including ones with disabilities, and had an adult conversation. As for kids, Winkels writes, “Love, not fear, is what they need.”

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