20/09/2011 06:01 BST | Updated 19/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Students Want Lessons On Saving The Planet Instead Of Science And History, Survey Shows

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Children are so concerned about the environment they would rather learn about it than traditional subjects such as science and history, a survey has found.

And while parents struggle to answer their children's questions on environmental problems, they are bending to pester power to be more green, the research from the Co-operative showed.

The survey of 1,027 youngsters aged seven to 14 revealed that 82% of children rated learning about green issues as important, putting it ahead of science, history, IT and art, and only slightly behind English and maths.

Two-thirds want to learn more about wildlife and nature, almost as many (62%) want to learn about green issues and helping to save the planet, and almost half (47%) want to learn more about where food comes from. This compares with just 37% who want to learn more about art, 36% for IT and 35% for science, the survey found.

Almost all the children (96%) were either very or a little bit worried about people damaging the planet, and almost as many (93%) said they recycled, while 85% turn off the tap when they brush their teeth and three-quarters (77%) turn off lights and appliances.

Almost two-thirds (64%) say they have an influence on their parents' green behaviour and a poll of 1,002 adults who have children aged seven to 14 suggests the children are right.

Six out of 10 parents say their children persuade them to be greener. But with 41% of parents saying they did not learn about the environment at all when at school, half of those quizzed struggle to answer their children's queries on the subject. And they are confused about what causes climate change, with two-thirds thinking it is the result of the hole in the ozone layer, more than half (55%) think carbon monoxide is involved and 34% think acid rain has a role.

The Co-operative released the findings to mark the official launch of its Green Schools Revolution education programme which will give signed-up schools access to a wide range of classroom resources and activities. Classes will also have the opportunity to visit a Co-operative wind farm to see renewable energy in action, and seven Co-operative farms to see first-hand how food grows and how to cook it.

Paul Monaghan, head of ethics at the Co-operative, said: "We are lucky that our youngsters have such a tremendous appetite to learn more about green issues and make a difference.

"Through our Green Schools Revolution programme, we hope to do our bit to help the thousands of switched-on teachers who want to ensure the next generation are better equipped for the challenge of building a more sustainable world. However, parents aren't off the hook - clearly they need extra homework and the programme will put children in a good position to engage them further."