Remember when astronomical and atmospheric events did not inspire mass hysteria?

Toronto saw its last total eclipse in 1979. Back then, celestial events were a thing to behold, with entire communities mobilized to witness the rare phenomenon jumping at the opportunity to teach some practical science.

This week, I received no fewer than four emails from our local schools announcing that “out of an abundance of caution”, numerous district boards have voted to cancel school entirely, or to shut it down at least 4 hours early, to ensure that children do not “experience the effects of the eclipse”.

The risk is being sold as “we have heard concerns regarding the potential for students being outside and inadvertently looking at the sun”.

This “don’t look up” campaign works out well for me, as the histrionics align perfectly with this week’s issue of the Media Cybersecurity Briefing where I discuss the rampant proliferation of fear-based language in our increasingly risk-averse society.

(by the way, the response to my newsletter has been exceptional, so a big thank you to all subscribers, followers and particularly the journalists who are appreciating the interview best practices I now discuss on a weekly basis at

A family watching a solar eclipse

Despite the abundance of readily accessible kid-friendly safety videos and guidance offered by NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and numerous other science-minded authorities, the public education sector as a whole appears to be gripped by fear, uncertainty and doubt.

To be clear: this FUD influences parents and drives groupthink, misinformation, misdirection, and perhaps most criminal of all, the suppression of curiosity in the youngest members of our society.

Sadly, not all corrosive public education policy is borne of idiocy and willful ignorance. It would be wrong to ignore the chilling effects of collectivist policies designed to silence teachers and intimidate dissenting school administrators: “I am baffled, dismayed, and hugely disappointed by this decision,” says one Toronto-area school administrator, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It is misguided to keep children inside when they could be seeing this event.”

As for me, I will be building pinhole eclipse viewers out of cereal boxes with my kids. If you’re in the area, I ordered two dozen eclipse glasses to share with friends and neighbours, so things are looking up for this April 8th!

Click image to view article.

Claudiu Popa

Claudiu Popa is a public speaker, cybersecurity expert and passionate defender of privacy rights who engages audiences through storytelling and weaponizes academic courses, radio, television, podcasts, social media and the written word to fight for the vulnerable in society and catalyze positive social change in Canada.

If your organization is passionate about this topic or you have a special event coming up, why not book Claudiu Popa for your next professional keynote speech? Book your unique presentation today or review Claudiu’s unique event seminars, ready to be customized for any audience. Click here to browse or here to discuss your plans.