When my 11-year-old son confessed the other day that he’d blurted out to his teacher in a typically eco-minded geography class ‘My dad says –manmade global warming is rubbish!’, I couldn’t have been more proud.
In my schooldays, geography used to be about unarguable facts such as the shape of an Oxbow lake or the capital of Australia. Now the subject has been so corrupted by the pious sermons of the green lobby that it ought really to be rechristened ‘The-planet-is-doomed-and-it’s-all-our-fault’ studies.
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Imagine my dismay a few weeks ago when I had an email from one of Ivo’s teachers.
‘I want to tell you how pleased I am with your son,’ it read.
‘Ivo has just taken part in an interschools Eco Conference in Oxford, and performed brilliantly. At the end, unexpectedly, the boys were asked to make speeches and field questions from the floor, and though some boys chickened out, your son rose to the occasion and spoke fluently and confidently.’
Well, what could I do? Cancel his pocket money? Confiscate his iPod? Of course, I’m joking – well, half-joking. Part of me felt a huge surge of paternal pride. But another part was absolutely horrified.
Who had got to my boy? How had he been turned? It reminded me of that awful moment in The Stepford Wives when you discover that even free-thinking Katharine Ross has been transformed into a supine robot creature parroting the same predictable lines.
I’m not the only parent to feel this way. All over Britain, mums and dads are asking themselves the same thing: ‘Since when did my children turn into such rabid eco-fascists?’
In the old days, children were content to satisfy their inner bossy prig by simply pinching your cigarettes and chucking them in the bin ‘for your own good’. Now, they seem determined to police every aspect of our lives.
Our homes have been transformed into mini police states where our children monitor our eco correctness like tinpot Al Gores.
‘Dad,’ says Ivo, surveying my Ford Mondeo, ‘why can’t we have an electric car like the Bielies?’ (Our insanely eco German friends.)
Or my daughter Poppy will turn to her mother and say: ‘Mum, why are you buying Fairy Liquid, not Ecover?’
Then there are the lectures we get from our children on the size of our carbon footprint. And our home is now perpetually suffused in a morguelike gloom as our young ones keep busily turning off any light we’re not actually using.
They won’t even let us leave the TV on standby (‘Dad, if everyone turned their TV off we’d save an annual 480,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions’).
But should we be surprised when they’re fed such a concentrated diet of green propaganda?
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