Good green teaching creates understanding

12th October 2007 at 01:00
Stuart Walton's suggestion last week that, in engaging with "green issues", schools are fomenting moral panic in the young, while also participating in a Government-inspired Orwellian plot against parents so they visit their local recycling facility more often, is a fantastic suggestion.

He amuses us with a yarn from his own naive school days, when writing on both sides of the page in his jotter was seen as helping to save the rainforests. While at best he might have spared a few Scandinavian evergreens from the pulp mill, the rainforests ("although they appear still to be with us", as he says) have continued to be depleted through illegal logging, mining and clearance on a vast scale.

This is not about chopping down a few too many trees and needing to offset that by saving a bit of paper here and there. The consequent loss of bio diversity resulting from the destruction of the rainforest has been described by some commentators as an ecological catastrophe.

When teachers and other educators address the questions raised by issues such as loss of rainforest and the environmental consequences of other human activity on the planet, they are not indulging in some form of "correctness". They are doing what teachers and educators should be doing in complex, contemporary, democratic society: engaging young people, through good teaching and learning, in important issues so they might understand these, perhaps seek to change them and even provoke their parents with their questions.

Graeme Finnie

Bank Avenue, Milngavie, Glasgow

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