Martin Hodson reviews “Changing the Climate” by Adrian Brown (Grove Booklet eD24, 2015)


Grove Books have produced their helpful booklets on a variety of topics for many years. More recently there have been an encouraging number of booklets looking at the interface between environmental issues and the Christian faith. Most of these have been produced in the Ethics series, but a few years ago Hilary Marlow wrote “The Earth is the Lord’s: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues” in the Biblical series. Until this year there had been no booklets specifically looking at climate change, but now there are two! I wrote “The Ethics of Climatic Scepticism” with my wife, Margot, which came out in February, and in September, Adrian Brown’s “Changing the Climate” was published. The latter is the first booklet on environmental issues in the Education series.

So now to “Changing the Climate”. Adrian Brown describes himself as “almost retired from a life in secondary school teaching”, and has many years of experience in teaching environmental issues in schools. He sees the need for a paradigm shift in our society as we face a dangerous future with climate change. Obviously education, at all levels, is a key to tackling the problem. But Brown sees there are a number of issues that make this difficult in schools today. One of these is the exam-driven, assessment, testing and success culture that pervades schools. This makes learning outside the curriculum difficult. Moreover, the tendency to compartmentalise knowledge into distinct subjects is not helpful in dealing with a multidisciplinary area like climate change. But overriding all this is the prevailing free market economic model which sets the tone for our society. We have created a very unequal system, and that system is very good at maintaining itself.

Adrian Brown’s booklet comes from a distinct social science, education slant. It would be fair to say that it also comes from a left wing, green perspective. But “Changing the Climate” is well worth a read for all those interested in how we might educate people about climate change. It is not so much a booklet to provide practical tips on how to do this, but it does give a useful theoretical framework on which to build. As Brown says, “Climate jeopardy is not the work of the uneducated, but it may be the result of inadequate education.” I am sure that many in JRI would agree with that.

Dr Martin J. Hodson
JRI Operations Manager