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Wear it wild

Here is the current draft of a letter I am considering sending to the head teacher of my son’s school.

I am writing to share some thoughts about the upcoming Wear It Wild day and similar events. There is a good chance that none of this is news to you, but I want to make sure because I do not think that communication to schools from the Worldwide Fund for Nature conveys the whole truth about that organisation.

I am sure that on “Wear it Wild” day the children will have lots of fun at school and learn a lot.

However, while helping animals in need is uncontroversial, the Worldwide Fund for Nature is a political organisation and its ideas and methods are not.

The WWF espouses a particular worldview, philosophy, moral outlook and political agenda. The organisation lobbies governments. As a small example, before the UK general election they published a report entitled “Greening the machinery of government: mainstreaming environmental objectives”, which is currently available from their website under “About WWF” / “News” / “Make the government machine go green“.

This report reads like a party political manifesto. It contains recommendations about the role of the state, the structuring of the economy, the allocation of resources, the redistribution of wealth and the regulation of industry.

All this means that it is reasonable for people to disagree with the objectives and teachings of the WWF.

Wear It Wild is a very clever piece of public relations. Children are encouraged to dress up in return for what a recent text message from the school describes as a “suggested donation”. Since no child wants to be left out, this strategy relies on peer pressure, leaving no real room to opt out.

While I am not suggesting that the school should not participate in such events, I do have some ideas about how they might be treated:

  • I hope that the school treats organisations such as the WWF with due criticism and skepticism, in the same way that, while visits to and from industry are educational, National Coca Cola Day would be treated with criticism and skepticism.
  • I hope that ideas and information from the WWF are filtered before they reach the children by teachers who are aware of the nature of their origin.
  • I hope that primary-school-aged children are not made to worry unduly about how terrible the world is because it is full of evil people who are deliberately destroying nature. I am not intending to exaggerate but rather am predicting how my five-year-old son is likely to interpret simplified explanations of some of the WWF’s communication. For example, without due care, what the WWF calls “habitat destruction” and might be described by others as farmers trying to earn a living and to feed their neighbours, could be described by my son as “baddies hurting tigers”.
  • In future communications to parents about similar events, please stress that donations are voluntary and that participation is not dependent upon them.

Please take my ideas and concerns into consideration in this and future dealings with outside organisations.

22 comments to Wear it wild

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I think these are reasonable concerns to raise, and it is done in a civil way. You may have unexpected allies among the teaching staff, quite a lot of whom are sick of the way that a green agenda has penetrated so many subjects – although expect any support from that quarter to be circumspect, because the damage to a teacher’s career caused by open deviation from the officially approved line can be severe. People are not always brave when their ability to make their mortgage payments is jeopardised.

  • Patrick Crozier

    The most disturbing word in this is “considering” and I can quite understand why you might be doing so.

  • Frank S

    Very well said. If I ran a school, I would not let organisations such as WWF, FoE, Greenpeace, and the like, in the gate. Children need protection from their odious, scaremongering propaganda.

  • Mr Ed

    We had a charity collection for some right-on cause at work, wear a jumper sort of thing. I refused to contribute, but made a point of making a donation to the Lake District Search Dogs Association instead, as (i) they do something useful, (ii) they don’t have massive overheads (hardly any) and (iii) I liked the cause. You might also point out that education should be balanced, and should consider other points of view.

    If you are feeling mischievous:

    Ask if your child may be earmarked as a ‘socially unfriendly element‘ and a possible ‘enemy of Gaia‘, (both badges of honour).

    Surely it would be better to turn up with your child dressed in very obviously real furs from, say, wild Arctic Foxes? They are wild, and you can wear them.

  • Henry Crun

    You do realise that you will be marked down as a trouble causer.

  • People are not always brave when their ability to make their mortgage payments is jeopardised.

    And thus 97% of corporate managerial behaviour is explained in one easy sentence.

  • Matt

    Unquestionably the Right Thing to Do. I grew tired of the mushy greeniness when my kids were at primary school. My own battle was when the school proposed to begin lunchbox inspections in order to ensure that “our” children had a healthy balanced diet. I think I earned my own troublemaker badge over pointing out that it was my decision not theirs what I provided (and that feeding skinny kids an occasional bar of chocolate was not going to poison them!)

    Good luck!

  • Bravo Rob! And I would be VERY interested to see what response you get from the school.

  • Laird

    I very much like Mr Ed’s last suggestion. What could be more “wild” than wearing real fur from real (dead) animals?

  • pete

    Schools are often less than scrupulous with avoiding political influence.

    The EU provides teaching materials to inform teachers and pupils about the EU. EU flags flutter in some schools, often as one of a number of flags in displays designed to promote international understanding.

    In 2010 I saw a poster in a Lancashire school which showed a big picture of President Obama and a quote from one of his speeches.

    Not all teachers are lefties, but the prevailing public sector mentality is leftish, so staff who dissent usually keep quiet for career reasons.

  • Thailover

    In my opinion, the suggested letter is far too tame. I suggest that you let them know in no uncertain terms that you are aware and fully intend to spread the message that the touchy-feely kid indoctrination by this organization is a FRONT for their neo-marxist political movement/measures and that by bringing their methods to public schools, it is nothing short of a shot across the bow.

    “Watermelon” (green on the outside, red on the inside) organizational inculcation of children held as a captive audience in public institutions will not be tolerated, and if the school continues unabated, expect a large brouhaha that will play out in the local media…and not too well for those elected to the school board.
    (The only thing these bureaucrats care about is potential political risk to their jobs and public embarrassment).

  • It is often interesting to challenge WWF-like people on whether they find natural, the evolution of species by extinction of the unsuccessful ones.

    Best regards

  • CaptDMO

    “Children are encouraged to dress up in return for what a recent text message from the school describes as a “suggested donation”.”
    Those special UNICEF collection boxes, distributed by elementary schools, for “canvasing” during Halloween door to door Trick-or-Treating by cute little children, never came with a disclaimer on “This is the ACTUAL breakdown of how this cash will be disbursed”.
    Can kids wear their Panda skin hats, festooned with narwhale ivory and condor feathers, in exchange for the suggested donation? How about ocelot thong bikinis/mankinis?
    Is that tax deductible?

  • jay


    Do they even read things parents send them?

  • Veryretired

    When our second oldest was in grade school at our local parish school, 2nd or3rd grade I think, SWMBO went over a little early one day to walk him home, and talk to the other moms, and found his class rehearsing a skit for an upcoming pageant of some kind. The kids were out on the playground with the skits’ creators and directors, whom she learned were from a “puppet theater” group, mostly students from the nearby university.

    She was stunned to find the skit was, in fact, entirely political, centering around some slapstick satire regarding the President and his policies, and very leftist, as some quick research revealed was true for the group as a whole.

    A few days later, she went to the school and spoke to the teacher about the skit, and ended up pulling our son out of the pageant when her questions about the propriety of using young children in a pointedly partisan political satire were not answered to her satisfaction. I’m proud to say she made quite a fuss with the other parents and the school, and our son wasn’t the only one who sat out the skit.

    Far too many parents are totally clueless when it comes to the things that are being taught to their children. We were involved in our kids’ education,( I used to read and critique some of their textbooks and assigned readings), and only ran across this deal by accident.

    I admire teachers, wanted to be one when I was younger, and the son involved in this incident later became a high school math teacher, but the education of our children is much too important to be left to the educational establishment, especially when ideology has become so intrusive in all the educational fads that sweep through the schools every few years.

    There is a vast amount of remedial work to be done, and some of it might be as basic as disrupting an ideologically skewed pageant at your kid’s school.

  • Paul Marks

    It is horrible Rob – the left take over what seem to be worthy charities, and they do not even leave the children alone (in fact they target the children).

  • Thailover, I agree. But I tried out that line of argument on my wife and she grilled my on it and it’s *really hard* to present that kind of case because there is no concrete evidence. They’re just too good at looking like they really care about the animals.

    Also, I couldn’t really write the letter that way because I need to have ongoing contact with these people. And I don’t feel like getting into high publicity media campaigns. It’s not just me who would be affected.

    Mr Ed wins the thread for the real fur suggestion. That would be hilarious.

  • Phil B

    But what is wrong with wearing real fur? After all it is a naturally renewable resource.

    Consider rabbit fur. Rabbits breed like … errr, well … rabbits and as the American Indians allegedly said, as long as the wind blows and the grass grows, rabbits can reproduce in a sustainable way, supplying meat and fur indefinitely.

    Arctic foxes can eat the rabbits and provide a better grade of fur while reproducing in an approved, sustainable manner too.

    What’s not to like?

  • Andrew Duffin

    Nice letter, well-phrased, polite, and in our terms here unobjectionable.

    But (I’m assuming this is a state-run UK primary school you’re addressing) you do realise it will get you labelled as a troublemaking extreme right-wing nutjob?

    I would go so far as to say that you can probably expect a visit from Social Services quite soon.

    In which case, a word of advice – don’t smoke in your house for a couple of days beforehand, or let anyone do so.

    Just saying!

  • Laird

    So did you send the letter? Get a response? A follow-up article would seem to be in order.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Nothing to report yet, Laird. I will follow up as and when I can. 🙂

  • Mr Ed

    Stretching ‘wear it wild’ on this one, but this is too good not to share and enjoy. Two brothers in Pakistan, both suicide bombers, appear to have blown themselves up after arguing whilst wearing suicide vests. What’s Punjabi for ‘Calm Down, Calm Down!‘?