Questionable ways that environmental concerns and SDGs are being taught to young children

By Michael Hoffman

“Humans are evil, humans destroyed the planet, humans deserve to die.”

Certainly the human race has much on its conscience. Judge and jury in the present instance is a 9-year-old boy. His father worries about him, says Shukan Shincho (July 21). Aren’t his thoughts too somber, too soon?

High on a list of favorite initials nowadays is SDGs – sustainable development goals, 17 in number, adopted in 2015 by all 193 countries of the U.N. General Assembly as a means of saving, if salvation is possible, a planet deeply endangered by the excesses of its most intelligent species. The goals are ambitious and laudable: no poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality, reduced income inequality, clean water and sanitation, action against climate degradation and so on. Another name for SDGs is Agenda 2030 – the target year. We’re halfway there.

If attained – expert opinion is increasingly skeptical – the goals would provide the best living environment the human species has ever enjoyed. It seems a choice between the very best and the very worst. The worst threatens because humans frittered away the best in pursuit of unsustainable development goals. Their sins have come home to roost. No wonder the children are angry. Innocent themselves, they’ll suffer the consequences. “I wonder if I’ll even be alive in 50 years,” frets the 9-year-old introduced above.

“Of course,” says Shukan Shincho, “it’s good that children are being taught about climate change from an early age.” But it has reservations. They boil down to this: Should small children be brooding so darkly on “the evil of the human race”? To the point of mentally sentencing it to death?

The boy’s second grade homeroom teacher is described as a very earnest middle-aged woman whose sense of mission carries her to the point of forgetting, perhaps, how very young her charges are. Whether she means to or not, she seems to be turning them into little avenging angels. “He comes home from school,” says the boy’s father, “demanding, ‘Papa! What’s your company doing for SDGs?”

What papa says in reply we’re not told; perhaps, “I don’t run the company, I just work there.” Would the child be satisfied with that?

As with school, so with business. Here, says Shukan Shincho, the zealous teacher’s role is played by the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which advocates renewable energy and tars enterprises hooked on carbon. One executive grumbles, “Nikkei writes what it writes but takes no responsibility if businesses and society suffer in consequence.” Another addresses the dilemma faced most acutely by developing nations: Must they sacrifice cheap dirty coal and rapid catch-up development for expensive clean renewable energy that may retard economic growth?

New concepts are arising, expressed by terminology like “the global commons,” “planetary justice” and the like. They reflect expanded human horizons traditionally bounded by self, community, nation. We’ll get there, Shukan Shincho suggests, but not immediately.

Other issues aside – chief among them being humankind’s centuries-long fixation on economic growth above all other concerns – Covid-19 has had a disastrous impact. The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals Report for 2021, a year into the epidemic, makes grim reading. It speaks of more than 100 million people worldwide pushed back into extreme poverty, of an additional 100 million children denied access to education; of women suffering increased domestic violence and various other evils of human relations that fall disproportionately on them – child marriage, for example, and underpaid labor.

The report is ultimately hopeful; Agenda 2030 is not out of reach. But time is short and challenges mount. In 2030 the nine-year-old boy will be 17. What will he be saying then?

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Agree these lofty SDGs must be done well and not just churn out an army of out of touch and angry ‘Greta’s’ who only serve more division and uniformed judgement and scorn unto the world. The SDGs goal isn’t to create ‘activists’ who only focus on problems, it’s to create a generation focused on ‘solutions’. I guess the hope is that the seed is planted early, and that discussions and understanding regarding the many global challenges we face will inevitably become more sophisticated and focused on solid, pragmatic progress and solutions. Unfortunately the SDG goals are not something fluffy characters singing songs can solve, nor can it be simplified to things like ‘turn your lights off’ to help the environment which is pretty much the current level of understanding here. Japan is a culture notoriously bad a facing the big challenges head on, so at least the SDGs is a framework wide reaching enough to make people at least start to think critically about the problems of the day, and more importantly what can be done.

Just have to be careful that the left doesn’t hijack the process with their “ Humans are evil, humans destroyed the planet, humans deserve to die.” mindsets. The anti-humanist crowd aren’t gunna solve anything, they are just notoriously good at making things worse. The father of the 9 year son in the article should just see it as the start of a long, healthy and fruitful conversation. Launch from there into real-world solutions and high resolution thinking.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It's down the line from Agenda 21... essentially 'green' communism:

It will have the same results...

2 ( +8 / -6 )

The goal of STGs is to re-distribute wealth from rich countries to poor countries.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

In the US, about half of school age children are required to use Texas approved text books, which largely deny and downplay global warming.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The SDGs sound nice and fluffy on the surface, but the devil is in the details and how they are communicated, especially through schools and corporations. Kids are now being indoctrinated to hate the free market and embrace socialism without calling it as such. Through my work I see loads of motherhood statements in corporate materials about going carbon-neutral and so forth with renewable energy and embracing EVs for their vehicle fleets, plus all the other buzzwords like ESG thrown into the mix. The costs of these cuddly-sounding exercises are things that only huge corporations can afford, and with governments gradually tightening regulations, smaller companies will struggle to afford all the compliance costs while the biggies will just pass on the costs to consumers, with an erosion of our standard of living as such costs rise.

We're seeing this right now, with the insane rescrewable energy policies that have seen a large number of countries abandon or ban safe, reliable and affordable energy sources in favour of unreliable and expensive wind, solar, etc. These are the direct result of Agendas 21 and 2030, but are being blamed on Russia. Likewise with Sri Lanka being used as a test case for enforcing organic farming too hard too fast. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with renewable energy and organic farming, but their benefits are being pushed while their drawbacks are being hidden, with alternatives being demonised to make them look better. Of course, there's plenty of scope for improving existing power generation and farming methods, but we must be wary of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

And follow the money trail of people who push the SDGs.

blue in greenToday  08:56 pm JST

Climate change is a money laundering scheme.

Does anyone need to ask all the millionaires and billionaires living on coastal estates, how scared they are of rising sea levels?

Yep, these folks. The same ones who lecture us about global warming and the like from the recliners on their private jets. Maurice Strong was one of the first and one of the worst, but there's no shortage of people who are carrying the baton since he fell off the perch.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

By the time students get to my class, they’ve had many years of SDG indoctrination. Guess what? They all give me the correct answers. When I stop the class and ask them to write on a piece of paper how much they honestly care- I check them at the front of the class- the average is usually around 2 out of 10. Indoctrination makes the teachers and administrators feel good- perhaps focusing on what successes we’ve had and how we can develop new tech and entrepreneurial ideas might be more effective.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The future Gretas whose kids will also blame them for the inadequate future they provided from Greta's gerenation of privileges and entitlements.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The moment we teach any scientific idea as "unquestionable" then it is no longer science.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I agree that the SDGs themselves are highly problematic and can be used to glorify actions which have very little real-world effect. Token efforts at reducing energy consumption, for example. However, this is not "socialism" in any correct meaning of that word.

If we are doing things we are frightened to discuss with nine-year-olds for fear of traumatizing them. what is important is to stop doing the things, not the discussion with the nine-year-olds.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Indoctrination at the hands of the enviro-wackos.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites