W.C. Fields was right about kids and puppies: they will always upstage any adults in the room. We saw this recently with Greta Thunberg's emotional speech at the UN's Climate Action Summit. Her fellow students around the world are sharing the limelight with their weekly school "strikes." Their passion is understandable, but it is not based on a correct understanding of the science of climate change, and we owe these children the facts that will allow them to make rational decisions and choices now and in their future. We owe them the guidance of adults who have their interests at heart, but who employ rational thought rather than impassioned exhortations and demonstrations to achieve non-sensible goals. We need to effectively and continually counter the man-made climate catastrophe screamers.
We do not want to lose a generation to a faulty crusade that is based on the memetic predictions of self-serving and false climate prophets. We would be no better than the parents of the 13th century who sent 20,000 children to the Holy Land to regain Jerusalem for Christendom -- a task that four "professional" armies had failed to accomplish in the previous two centuries. If we don't take the passion of these children seriously by arming them with valid, correctly interpreted data, and sound strategies based on this science they will continue to shout simply ignorant memes of their own.
Kids are savvy, but they can be more gullible than adults when it comes to manipulation. Featuring them in marketing to impress consumers with a company's stance on climate change is pandering at best and, at worst, a shameless misuse of the passion and good intentions of our children. These kids being used in advertising or faux media events end up as unwitting cogs in an economic engine they scarcely understand. For that matter, most adults have little or no understanding of how the world economy functions, let alone how the proposed extreme, but false "solutions" to counteract climate change would affect it. Even if the political "world stage" has no overt marketing aim (but it does to the rent seekers who plan silly man-made solutions to natural phenomenon while manipulating both children and adults), using children in political action still amounts to exploitation of honest, youthful passion when we allow them to spread misinformation about the causes and solutions of climate change.
Extensive, credible, and unbiased scientific research* has found that human activities have little effect on the global climate. This doesn't mean that we do not have a responsibility to examine how we live and to explore the changes we can make to mitigate our impact on the climate. More importantly, however, we have a moral duty to use the science -- not our children -- to develop strategies that will benefit all of us on this planet in the long run. This is the least we owe our children and their own progeny.
What happened to the 20,000 children who marched off to Jerusalem? They never made it to the Holy Land. The current crop of children will not reach any holy land either. Two-thirds of the ancient child-crusaders were sold into slavery when they couldn't pay their way to Jerusalem and the rest settled where they ended up along the way, or died trying to return home. The child crusaders of 2019 will not face such harsh consequences, but we should nonetheless stand up and act like adults to prevent further manipulation of both the facts and our children in a cause that matters to all of us.
*See Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick, "Taken by Storm" (2002); Don Easterbrook, ed., "Evidence Based Climate Science" (2011); Patrick Michaels, "Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything " (2015); Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), "Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science" (2013)