BBC Using Proms to Frighten Children About Climate Change

  • Date: 27/08/19
  • Hannah Furness, The Telegraph

BBC’s nature Prom tells children they are in the midst of mass extinction to ‘amplify discussion’

When buying tickets for a classical music concert based on the lost words of nature, parents may have expected a simple, poetic celebration of bluebells, conkers and otters. 

Families who attended the BBC Proms this weekend were instead confronted with catastrophic warnings from climate change campaigners.

BBC Proms, a celebration of classical music intended to be non-political, opened its 49th Prom of the season with a new composition based on the words of Greta Thunberg warning: “We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.”

Intended as a “unique event for all the family” and including painting, poetry, dancing and birdsong, the concert was based on illustrated book The Lost Words, which aims to revive little-used or disappearing words that describe the natural world.

A spokesman for the BBC said the Proms team believed music should “amplify discussion”, saying it should “react to the times in which we live”, so that it is “not divorced from reality”.

Ivan Hewett, Telegraph reviewer, said the concert was instead a“statement of the most extreme form of eco-catastrophism, designed to terrify and intimidate the mostly young audience, who clearly lacked the maturity to challenge it”.  

“It’s unfortunate that the supposedly impartial BBC turned a promising event into an opportunity for eco-propaganda,” he said, in a two-star review, accusing the BBC of the “blatant politicising of an event aimed at children”.

The BBC's Lost Words prom
The BBC’s Lost Words prom CREDIT: CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU

The concert opened with the voice of Miss Thunberg, who has become the face of youth climate change activism, on a loop with excerpts from her speech to the EU Parliament in Strasbourg declaring: “You need to listen to us, we who cannot vote. What we are doing now can soon no longer be undone.”

Robert Macfarlane, author of The Lost Words, said he was “so thrilled” when he heard Miss Thunberg’s words would be used in the Prom, praising her “voice ringing with force and need and urgency but also breaking” and calling her a “figurehead” for the young. 

One of Jackie Morris's illustrations for The Lost Words
One of Jackie Morris’s illustrations for The Lost Words CREDIT: JACKIE MORRIS

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