A Toronto mother recently slammed her daughter's school for a climate change presentation that reportedly scared the child into thinking that the world was going to end, according to the National Post.
On Oct. 4, Lejla Blazevic's 8-year-old daughter Joylaea, along with other 7 and 8-year-olds, reportedly gathered in the library of Elmbank Junior Middle Academy to watch teenage activist Greta Thunberg's September speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
In an appeal to world leaders, Thunberg had forcefully demanded accountability, accusing them of pleading ignorance to climate change.
"People are suffering. People are dying," the teenager had said in her now-viral speech. "Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"
Following the video of the speech, Joylaea's school then purportedly showed a carbon clock that counted down from eight years — the estimated amount of time it will take to produce enough carbon to warm the Earth by approximately 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
The entire presentation apparently struck a chord with Joylaea and her classmates, according to the girl's mother.
"She's like, 'Mommy, they said that we're going to die in eight years,'" Blazevic recalled. "They were terrified with the information."
Blazevic added that Joylaea also remembered one of her friends yelling, "I don’t wanna die." In an interview with the Post, Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird acknowledged the incident but clarified that a teacher told the unnamed student that it wasn't true. The teacher allegedly followed up with the student and his family to make sure he was okay.
"We were assured from the family that indeed he was just joking," Bird told the newspaper.
Still, Blazevic called the presentation "developmentally inappropriate."
"I understand they're going to be teaching about climate change," she said. "But they have to have some kind of guidelines and some kind of limit as to what they're going to show 7-year-olds."
At least one psychologist interviewed by the paper agreed with the mother's assessment.
"Are they supposed to feel empowered by Greta or are they supposed to feel that she's telling them that their lives are going to be terrible?" asked Elizabeth Allured, co-president of nonprofit organization Climate Psychology Alliance North America. "I think [the ticking clock] just scares children — and understandably."