Successive governments here in the UK have been banging on about pollution, climate change, global warming, damage to the the ozone layer and greenhouse gases for at least as long as I have been teaching (and probably longer) to the extent that these topics appear with monotonous regularity on the school curriculum, particularly in Science. Rather in the way that the History curriculum seems to revolve around the trenches in World War I and the Nazis in World War II, this constant rehashing of the topics means that students “know” about it all, but they promptly switch off when they hear the key phrases.
This was demonstrated in answers to a test question I have been marking. The question was about the decline of a deer population over time. Suggestions for the cause of this decline were solicited…
In addition to the expected answers of “increased predation by wolves,” “hunting” and “disease” I noted several mentions of “global warming” and “climate change.” Not surprising, when these are such favourite buzzwords. But the answer which had me howling with laughter demonstrated the typical teenager’s muddled thinking:
“The hole in the ozone layer is melting.”
I would just like to add a disclaimer – I haven’t mentioned any of these topics to the class in question!