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With the presence of the military in public spaces increasing and a high level of popularity for the armed forces, it is not always easy to respond to challenging questions that people pose in when faced with concerns expressed about militarism. Here we explore some responses to questions about how much the armed forces should be involved in our everyday lives, how they relate to young people, and the effectiveness and consequences of military action.
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Science4Society Week is a collection of science education activities, co-ordinated by Scientists for Global Responsibility, and designed to inspire young people. It takes place in March each year.
The activities focus on the contribution that science, design and technology can make to peace, social justice and environmental sustainability. The project was set up to provide an alternative to activities funded by the arms and fossil fuel industries.
The resources include debates and discussions, problem solving and practical activities.
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This article, written by Child Soldiers International and published in the Royal United Service Institute Journal, argues that raising the UK enlistment age from 16 to 18 would bring benefits to young people and the British armed forces. The article explains that the UK’s low enlistment age is counterproductive internationally, as it implies to other countries that it is acceptable to use children under the age of 18 to staff national armed forces.
This paper, published by ForcesWatch in 2016, explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.
It discusses the importance of encouraging emotional engagement in the consequences of war and of avoiding euphemistic language that overly sanitises and simplifies its causes and consequences. The paper looks at educational opportunities in exploring the meaning of the white poppy as an alternative to the red poppy and alternatives to violent responses to conflict.
The paper includes some ideas for how to teach remembrance and provides links to education resources and background reading for use around remembrance and wider education for and about peace.
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Medact’s report on the long-term impacts of the British military’s recruitment of children under the age of 18, presents evidence linking ‘serious health concerns’ with the policy, and calls for a rise in the minimum recruitment age.
The report’s findings include:
The UK is one only a handful of countries worldwide to still allow recruitment from age 16, a policy which has been strongly criticised by multiple UN and UK parliamentary bodies, child rights organisations and human rights groups.
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