Climate Activists Tout Effectiveness Of School Brainwashing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cli­mate change activists are tout­ing new evi­dence demon­strat­ing the effec­tive­ness of edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams that seek to trans­form Amer­i­can school­child­ren into anti-car­bon activists through the pow­er of ani­ma­tion and freestyle rapping.

The Alliance for Cli­mate Edu­ca­tion (ACE) is a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that seeks to edu­cate stu­dents on cli­mate sci­ence and inspire them to take col­lec­tive action to fight glob­al cli­mate change.

One of the major ways it does so is by orga­niz­ing school assem­blies in which it uses car­toons, music, and even rap­ping to moti­vate chil­dren to stop liv­ing large and join cli­mate activist groups. The assem­bly has been per­formed at over 2,300 schools and has reached over 1.7 mil­lion stu­dents. The long-term goal is to boost cli­mate engage­ment among young peo­ple and minori­ties, mobi­lize some of them to become activists for the cause, and in turn coun­ter­act recent evi­dence that rel­a­tive­ly few Amer­i­cans are wor­ried about cli­mate change as an issue.

Now, a new study released in the lat­est edi­tion of the jour­nal Cli­mat­ic Change indi­cates that this school pro­pa­gan­diz­ing may be work­ing. Researchers from Yale, Stan­ford, and George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty sur­veyed a total of 1,241 high school stu­dents at 49 schools that host­ed the assem­blies to gauge their opin­ions and actions regard­ing cli­mate change both before and after the presentations.

When researchers checked up on them sev­er­al days after the assem­blies, stu­dents were sig­nif­i­cant­ly more like­ly to express agree­ment with ACE’s ide­ol­o­gy. “Recog­ni­tion of sci­en­tif­ic agree­ment that cli­mate change is hap­pen­ing” soared by 15 per­cent, while 38 per­cent of chil­dren rose to a high­er lev­el of cli­mate con­cern on a six-point spec­trum that ranges from “dis­mis­sive” to “alarmed.”

They were more like­ly to take action as well: the pro­por­tion of stu­dents talk­ing to their friends or par­ents about cli­mate change more than dou­bled from 9 and 6 per­cent, respec­tive­ly, to 21 and 15 percent.

We find this encour­ag­ing,” researchers said, “as it sug­gests that stu­dents car­ry the Cli­mat­ic Change infor­ma­tion and enthu­si­asm they gained from the edu­tain­ment pre­sen­ta­tion into their fam­i­lies and social circles.”

The sur­vey also found that high school­ers were more like­ly to per­form a host of minor cli­mate-sav­ing behav­iors, includ­ing tak­ing short­er show­ers, unplug­ging elec­tron­ic devices when not in use, and shut­ting off the lights more frequently.

The authors, hard­ly neu­tral on the top­ic them­selves, con­clude that more effort is need­ed, how­ev­er, and that “fur­ther inter­ven­tion will like­ly be nec­es­sary to cul­ti­vate deep­er engage­ment in the cli­mate change issue among youth.” That fur­ther inter­ven­tion is close at hand, as researchers note that ACE’s long-term strat­e­gy is to col­lab­o­rate with will­ing school staff to present updat­ed and mod­i­fied assem­blies to the same stu­dents for sev­er­al years in a row.

Giv­en the changes result­ing from a sin­gle pre­sen­ta­tion, the net impact of all these inter­ven­tion efforts could be a pop­u­la­tion shift in cli­mate sci­ence knowl­edge and pos­i­tive engage­ment in the issue of cli­mate change.”