In the latest episode of Great Green Questions, host Juliet Davenport asks do we need to be frank when talking to our children about climate change?
Juliet is joined by one of the UK’s youngest and highly accoladed activists, birdwatcher, and writer, Dr. Mya-Rose Craig (Birdgirl), maths teacher, writer, and BBC presenter Bobby Seagull, and comedian, writer, and Radio 1 show host, Andy Field to explore the question.
“I spoke with a woman who studies eco-anxiety in children, and she shared that it’s really important that eco-anxiety isn’t classed as another mental illness. Having eco-anxiety is just a cultural anxiety from existing in a world that’s experiencing climate change. It acknowledges that there’s something external going on, and something really major that has to be dealt with,” says Dr. Mya-Rose Craig when describing the eco-anxiety that many children and teenagers experience.
“Whilst the people that are pushing for eco-anxiety to be registered as another anxiety that teenagers are experiencing, are basically taking away that external feature, and it could have really negative knock-on effects,” she adds.
The panel discusses whether teachers should be expected to teach students about climate change and the environment, Bobby says: “I do find that there’s an increased burden on what teachers are expected to do. I take on a lot of work about mental health, ethics, and bullying – all of these issues which, when you become a teacher you simply take the job because you want to convey your knowledge or passion for a particular topic.
“At the same time, we do have to acknowledge that as teachers we see children from the ages of 5-18, and you’ve got this responsibility, not just to the students, but to society as a whole to educate young people.”
When asked by Juliet what role parents have to play in educating their children about the environment, Bobby says: “I would say parents actually are the single biggest influence on children in their young lives. As a teacher, we see them Monday to Friday, but at home, kids are influenced by what their parents watch, what they eat, and what they discuss at the dinner table. I think parental engagement is really key in enabling young people to be more aware of things.”
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