Federated Farmers launch petition against climate change teaching resource

Federated Farmers has launched a petition calling for a new Ministry of Education teaching resource on climate change to be withdrawn while amendments are made. 

The resource, which is to be introduced this year, presents data and information from scientific bodies including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NIWA and Government departments like Statistics NZ and the Ministry for the Environment.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins launched the optional teaching aid in January, saying it "teaches the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response to it and its impacts - globally, nationally and locally - and explores opportunities to contribute to reducing and adapting to its impact on everyday life".

"Climate Change - prepare today, live well tomorrow", includes video, text and guidance, and was trialed at New Brighton School in Christchurch in 2018.

The Ministry of Education has made the new resource, for students in years 7-10, available to teachers on the Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) website.

However it has come under fire from farming industry groups who are unhappy about aspects of the resource,  in particular its messages about eating less meat and dairy.

The Federated Farmers petition says the resource, in its current form, was not appropriate for use by teachers in classrooms.

It calls on it to be removed and amended.

Federated Farmers' climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said introducing children to the science behind climate change is positive and worthwhile, but it needed to be balanced.
Federated Farmers' climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said introducing children to the science behind climate change is positive and worthwhile, but it needed to be balanced. Photo credit: Supplied

"Sign this petition to demand that then  "Climate Change: Prepare today, live well tomorrow" to be removed from the TKI website (and any other distribution forms) until such as time as it has been reviewed and amended to ensure completeness, accuracy, and relevance to the NZ context," it said.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw earlier said the resource addresses an issue which was a cause of worry for many  New Zealand children.

"They see the simple fact that every year they have been alive has been one of the hottest on record and they expect us to act. 

"Our zero-carbon legislation is an important framework for lasting change, but its success depends on all of us working every single day to take the ambitious action we need. Making this resource available means children will be able to learn about what we have done to the planet, its potential impacts and what they can to help us solve the problem," said Shaw.

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