Speaking on the fringes of the 2023 World Economic Forum summit in Davos, which she no doubt reached via the environmentally-friendly method of boarding a large aeroplane, Princess Eugenie announced on January 24 that she intended to raise her baby son, August, in an entirely plastic-free household, which should be interesting when he comes to need his potty. According to Eugenie, “My son’s going to be a [climate] activist from two years old, which is in a couple of days.”
But how can a two-year-old ever be expected to be an activist on anything much at all beyond demanding later bedtimes and immediate and unfettered access to his favourite teddy? Princess Eugenie was patiently “trying to teach” her baby about the importance of a plastic-free world, she sighed, “but it’s a battle.” Yes. That will be because poor little August is, as his mother accurately observed, only about two years old.
When Eugenie claims that she wishes her toddler to become a climate ‘activist,’ what she really means is she wishes to use him as a living moral fashion accessory in order to advertise her virtue to the rest of humanity. Everything she is doing is for her children, she protested, but by her ‘children’ here she probably means her ‘ego.’
Yet, presuming Eugenie is indeed sincere in her desire to save her kids from a largely fictional—in the sense of greatly exaggerated for blatant political reasons—global apocalypse, maybe all she needs to do is wait a few years until August starts his time at primary school. In 2022, a new ‘Green Curriculum’ was launched by an organisation bearing the Orwellian name of The Ministry of Eco-Education, with the ambitious aim of getting their programme taught in half of all British primary schools by 2025—some 10,000 places of education in total.
Some of The Ministry’s ideas about reconnecting children to Nature—e.g., by encouraging teachers to teach some lessons outdoors and allowing students to engage with different species of animals and plants—are laudable enough: I fondly recall the occasional infant field-excursion to woods and National Parks to look at the appealing animals, trees, and glacial landscapes myself. Yet The Ministry’s specific desires go rather further than the occasional day-trip to Wales in a mini-bus, and do not appear to be entirely realistic. Some of their ideas for restructuring Britain’s classrooms sound modelled more upon the pagan classroom from The Wicker Man than anything else (child sacrifice to propitiate the angry climate-gods come the end of term is as yet entirely optional). According to one Ministry document:
The curriculum emphasises natural rhythms and looks for opportunities to embed these within the school day and week. An example of this might be shorter days in the winter with activities linked to darker mornings and afternoons. In contrast, the summer offers the opportunity for more daylight and longer days. [Pagan] Festivals such as Beltane and Spring and Summer equinoxes could become particular focuses for the curriculum. Prolonged and structured time in Nature could become normalised with daily opportunities to see, smell and listen to aspects of the natural world. Experiences such as barefoot walks and forest immersion could be timetabled.
But what if said school happens to be located on an inner-city sink-estate? It will be difficult for children to walk barefoot through all those piles of broken glass and discarded syringe-needles. And won’t altering the school day to match the ever-changing cycles of the sun play havoc with childcare arrangements for all those parents not lucky enough to be employed by Lord Summerisle in tending the fields?
Although not actually any kind of genuine government department at all, on their website the Men From The Ministry announce that they have “rearranged the national curriculum” for the entire UK nonetheless, although nobody has ever actually voted for them to do so. Their main stated aim is to embed sustainability and climate-change-related matters into “every lesson for every pupil, supporting every subject” in every school’s timetable, even completely non-related things like PE.
One of The Ministry’s key supporters is Dale Vince, the climate-obsessed founder of the clean energy company Ecotricity, who sensibly left school aged fifteen to become a New Age Traveller, doubtless because there was nothing usefully apocalypse-related his teachers could teach him. The owner of Forest Green Rovers, the eco-friendly EFL League One football team whose players are barred from eating red meat and whose pitch is fertilised by spectators’ urine and kept trimmed by a solar-powered robot lawnmower, Vince is evidently an acknowledged expert on how physical exercise can be transformed into Green propaganda.
Indeed, online lesson-plans from The Ministry asking kids the question “Should We All Go Vegan?” (unspoken answer: ‘yes’) specifically feature video-clips of Forest Green players explaining why they all went vegan, following their own Vince-inspired comprehensive re-education programme themselves. And, once they’ve finished digesting their new heroes’ words, pupils can settle back and listen to their teacher/assigned Party commissar reading them an extract from that evergreen children’s classic Linus the Vegetarian T-Rex by Robert Neubecker. Educators can also “[c]hallenge pupils to eat the rainbow,” which at least sounds admirably LGBT-friendly, if not exactly of profound academic importance.
Even better, kids can later watch a delightfully meatless clip from BBC cookery contest Ready, Steady, Cook and learn how to identify bees so they can subsist off their honey rather than gravy and dripping, before the whole thing culminates in an extended English exercise in which pupils write a script to persuade others (e.g., their soon-to-be endlessly hectored parents) to go vegan too, just like Forest Green Rovers. And this, of course, is the true point of the entire curriculum: to transform children from learners into activists, like little plastic-free Royal Baby August is going to be.
Ministry of Fear
Mr. Vince appears sincere in his overblown fears about the looming End Times, and probably means well. At least saving the planet is a noble cause for which to be an activist—presuming the planet actually does need saving, of course. But what if The Ministry in a wider sense is actually spoon-feeding kids a much wider diet of far-left propaganda too, besides reasonably advising them to always rinse and recycle their yoghurt pots after dinner-hour? Another co-founder of the group alongside Dale Vince is Paul Turner, who describes himself proudly as a “radical geographer,” and whose personal website currently advertises teaching resources centering upon questions unrelated to CO₂, such as “Who owns England?” “Do workers have power?” “Did colonialism separate us from the land?” and “Should land be returned to the masses?”
If that all sounds less Green, more Red, perhaps this is because these lesson-plans are directly inspired by the work of the Legz Akimbo-style radical theatre collective Three Acres and A Cow, whose touring show apparently “connects the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with climate change and the housing crisis via the Enclosures, English Civil War and Industrial Revolution, drawing a compelling narrative through the people’s history of England in folk song, story and poem.” The show’s cast (or “herd,” as they have it) include the “Kohenet Hebrew Priestess” Rachel Rose Reed, Robin Grey, a “Buddhist, social historian, folk musician and land rights campaigner based in Sheffield,” and Roo Bramley (pronouns: they/them), a “radical queer Christian activist and musician” with much past experience “leading student protests and occupations,” but who these days can mostly be found “gardening with asylum seekers.” Just the kind of ordinary, balanced people you’d want to be placed in charge of your kids’ education, then.
Paul Turner’s website also features downloadable copies of The Radical Geographer’s Handbook, an amateurish fanzine-type propaganda rag with a photo of Greta Thunberg impersonating Lord Kitchener in the classic ‘Your country needs YOU’ pose on the cover, intended to act as “a reclamation of geography from its imperialist past” by showing how the subject, if properly reimagined by quasi-Marxist ideologues, “could play a key role in radical social, political and environmental activism.”
Right from the start, educators are issued with several “Radical Geography Teacher Challenges,” such as selling their car, reducing the gender pay-gap in their school down to “zero,” not buying any new clothes for twelve whole months and, most tellingly, “Teach[ing] what you love and not to the exam”—i.e., making up the curriculum yourself in order to inculcate children with whatever particular brand of crank fringe leftism you yourself happen to personally subscribe to.
“Are you teaching hope?” the document asks. No, most Geography Departments are still teaching children about limestone pavements and the subtle difference between igneous and metamorphic rocks, but several new and hitherto-unknown subject areas should henceforth be made to replace such socially irrelevant knowledge. From now on, woke geography teachers must instead instruct their infant charges about something called “doughnut economics” and begin taking their classes upon “Poverty Safari” outings around local sink-estates, in order to demonstrate to the kids first-hand how capitalism has failed the masses by pointing at poor people and staring.
Another page contains the headline “Kindness: A New Kind of Rigour for British Geography,” which sounds easier for mentally fragile students to cope with than that more old-fashioned classroom rigour previously known by the label ‘academic.’ Happily for Princess Eugenie, meanwhile, kids will be taught to live plastic-free lives by learning that such hideous substances are already present in “the food you eat” and even in “your shit,” at least if you’re too dim to realise you’re not actually supposed to eat the toys inside the Kinder Eggs as well as the actual chocolate. “ACTIVISM IS LEARNING,” says a placard held aloft by a protesting student in one printed photo, which, if The Ministry of Eco-Education ever get their way, will quite literally become true.
In their document “Summary of Current Eco Education Landscape,” The Ministry speak pressingly of the need for so-called “critical pedagogy” to be embedded in our schools, this being a method of teaching inspired ultimately by the Marxist liberation theology fanatic and disturbingly influential Brazilian-born pedagogue, Paulo Freire, which “insists that issues of social justice and democracy are not distinct from acts of teaching and learning”—or, to put it another way, that turning innocent children into political campaigners is far more important than ensuring they actually possess any genuine academic knowledge. By explicitly following Freire’s approach, each child’s time in school becomes transformed by their teachers into “a continuous moral project,” if by ‘moral’ you actually mean ‘left-wing,’ the two being direct inseparable synonyms for such people.
Citing a 2014 article by the self-described “classroom maverick” and “creator of Punk Learning,” Taite Coles, in The Guardian, it is explained that “Educators must be prepared to embrace a radical pedagogy and believe that each school should be one of freedom that provokes students to fight against the corridors of power and enforce equality for themselves and others,” by way of “nurturing a generation with an educated mistrust of everything that has been indoctrinated [into previous generations] before.” An open call, then, to breed an entire new cohort not of Red Guards, but Green Guards.
According to The Ministry’s “Foundations for an Eco Curriculum” policy-paper, “Climate Justice is Social Justice,” and therefore any curriculum which truly seeks to “tackle the climate and ecological emergency must also respond to the structural inequalities inherent in society” and so, together with focusing upon CO₂ reduction, must also require children to start “exploring the intersection of ideas such as gender, race and inequality.” Non-white, non-Western nations pollute less than their occidental counterparts do, you see (apart from China, India, Russia and the oil-producing Arab Gulf States, but ignore them for a moment), the logical conclusion being that Western capitalism itself should therefore be abolished in the name of racial equality.
It is not mere hubris to say that mankind cannot control the planet’s climate, The Ministry assure any educators who happen to be reading. Instead, children must grasp that “To assert that something is ‘natural’ [like, say, Nature itself] is to place it outside society and beyond social influence: an ideological device used by advertisers, politicians and others.” It is thus essential that pupils absorb the message that “[s]ustainable development rests on an ethic of care for all life and requires a global democracy with global citizens who exercise responsibility for others, including others distant in space and time and other species.”
So, let’s establish a One-World Government, and then everything will turn out fine? Such rhetoric goes way beyond promoting the legitimate but limited educational goal of teaching kids how the Greenhouse Effect works, or reconnecting them with flora and fauna by bussing them off into the Great Outdoors every so often, and veers pretty shamelessly down the far more sinister path of indoctrination into an entire artificially manufactured political worldview. Worse, this brainwashing is then systematically misrepresented in the classroom as being ‘neutral knowledge’ of a genuinely scientific or geographical nature, like, say, what the capitals of Spain or Peru are, or what the different parts of a volcano are called, when in fact it is anything but. In their online “Teacher Guide,” under a series of generic lesson-themes with titles like “Energy,” “Transport,” and “Food,” The Ministry provide a list of what might be termed ‘leading questions to which the children should be taught to automatically answer “yes,”’ including, inter alia, “Are we addicted to fossil fuels?” “Should everyone get an electric car?” “Would the world be better without tourists?” and “Is the climate breaking down?” Most disturbing, however, are the series of six questions, followed by suggested topics for teacher-led discussion, listed under the heading of “Society,” which are worth reproducing here in full:
See? Teacher says we all have too much stuff, so the prevailing epistemic hegemony of late capitalism must be dismantled and replaced with a more enlightened regime of intersectional post-colonial discourse, post-haste: otherwise, we’ll all just die. It seems there should even be such a thing as the “commons” of land; the ghosts of Comrades Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Bob Mugabe would surely agree. Most alarmingly, children will learn that the “future of democracy” may not lie in our current quaint system of representative parliamentarianism at all, but something called “direct democracy”—of a fashion perhaps practised today by antinomian protest-groups like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, both of which have received generous financial donations from The Ministry’s own kind supporter, Dale Vince.
Vince, it should be noted, is also a major donor to the Labour Party, who would perhaps not be overly averse to having this kind of propaganda taught in British schools themselves, should they win Britain’s next General Election. As Vince has said, he wants “to help [Labour] win, to help them into government so they have the chance to deliver their agenda, which is my agenda, social justice and a green economy.”
As yet, a mere fifteen pioneer schools are participating in The Ministry’s Year Zero scheme of radical utopian world-transformation. Yet the scope for expansion of this programme of “empowering future generations” to revolt against the vile and outmoded ways of their elders is clear. Perhaps one day soon, Princess Eugenie will get her wish and her lucky little plastic-free princeling baby August will indeed be forcibly transitioned into becoming the next Greta Thunberg in the classroom. But what about all those other parents who don’t want their offspring to be brainwashed—or Greenwashed—in this way?
The greenness of youth used to be viewed as a character defect, to be ironed out over time, on the basic human principle that, with experience, comes wisdom. Our future, it seems, will be governed instead upon precisely the opposite principles, by a perpetual parliament of moral children.