Climate catastrophe: schools to get true picture from RSC


01 October 2008

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) will today send thousands of secondary schools a presentational and narrative summary of energy and environmental issues to correct what it perceives as an alarming lack of understanding of potential climate catastrophe. 

The teaching pack highlights the measurable aspects of the topics, with the standpoint that youngsters are not learning enough science and mathematics to become fully informed.

The material is the most comprehensive, yet succinct, package of information on the issues ever prepared for schools, and goes well beyond current curriculum requirements, supported by relevant data and simple mathematics.

Dr Richard Pike, RSC chief executive, has proposed that the UK educational system covers these subjects in much more detail, and particularly with a numerical appreciation of the issues. Without this, youngsters are debating issues in a vacuum, with no quantitative understanding of the causes or consequences of what is going on.

He said: "Slow changes in the curriculum and assessment processes are still resulting in even the bright pupils leaving school ill-equipped for some of the most important tasks they face in their future."

The electronic material, with easily-grasped designs, draws on public and university lectures given by Richard Pike in China, India, mainland Europe, and more recently in a large magazine article entitled Averting Climate Catastrophe? 

The feature was written for the New Shetlander magazine following a public lecture he was invited to deliver in the islands, which now represent the most progressive administrative area in the UK in terms of developing wind-sourced hydrogen projects, and the use of refuse for town heating systems.

In a drive to get lessons away from 'teaching to the test', Dr Pike is encouraging far-sighted and inspirational secondary school teachers to make the material available to their pupils, to provide a more rounded education.

The slides and text highlight the inconsistencies in current energy and environmental strategies, and challenge misleading information that still finds its way into school textbooks, and other material issued into the public domain.

Dr Pike added: "We owe it to our children to give them reliable facts so that they can participate in the crucial informed debate necessary over the forthcoming years."

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