15 September 2021

Cristy Clark: “It was reported recently that Coalition MPs have been calling for an expansion of the government’s school chaplaincy program in order to reduce the mental health impacts of climate change ‘activism and alarmism’ on children. Yes, that’s right, they want to address the mental health impact of activism, not the impact of the actual, visible effects of climate change itself, or the very real threat that it poses to children’s futures. Effectively, these Coalition MPs are implying that children’s overactive imaginations — spurred on by so-called ‘climate alarmists’ — are the cause of their anxieties. Liberal MP Andrew Wallace, for example, blamed groups like Extinction Rebellion for ‘robbing children of hope’. Do you know what robs children of hope? Spending an entire summer holiday stuck inside because the air outside is full of toxic smoke and the sky has disappeared. Or worse, evacuating from their home by boat as the local beach is engulfed in flames. Children, world over, are anxious about climate change for one extremely valid reason: it poses an existential threat to their future and governments are failing to take sufficient action. … The reality of the climate crisis is not a pleasant one, but it is both absurd and insulting to think that we can shield children and young people from this reality. They are already living with the effects. So rather than trying to manipulate them into denying their reality, our only viable option is to support them to take action.”