My 6 year old daughter came home with a book from Enviro Kids, "Working Together for a Better Future". I've seen these booklets before, the kids come home with them pretty much every year. Fun colouring, activities, etc. This year the cover features a polar bear standing on a barely-there chunk of ice and large lettering above it says "Climate Change Explained"... so as you can imagine it caught my eye and my bf and I decided to read it.... to see what our very young lower elementary school aged children are being taught. I hoped to find lots of info on recycling, tidying up, keeping our parks and streets clear of rubbish - but I found so much more and am VERY angry about it.
Here are some samples: (bold words are my doing)
page 7 - The Greenhouse Effect: Scientists are sure about the greenhouse effect. They know that greenhouses gases make the Earth warmer by trapping energy in the atmosphere. [me: funny, no mention of how many scientists DO NOT KNOW, and in fact refute these claims]
page 17 - Scientists are not fortune-tellers. They don't know exactly what will happen in the future. But they can use special computer programs to find out how the climate may change in the years ahead. And the computer programs tell us that the Earth may continue to get warmer..... as long as we continue increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
[me: what? I thought you said on page seven that they are SURE about it and THEY KNOW it... I'm confused].
But my most shocking and surprising find started on page 63: 'Eat Your Vegetables'. The article begins with the line "Eating less meat and more fruits, grains and vegetables can help the enviroment more than you may realize." Excuse f-ing me??? You are really going to send a book out to 6 year old children and tell them to eat less MEAT?
The article goes on to say other things such as: "Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants."
"A 2006 report by the University of Chicago found that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car." UNFRICKEN REAL. I cannot believe I found this stuff in my 6 yr old's backpack.
"Making a salad doesn't take any more time than cooking a hamburger and it's better for you - and the environment." So what, are all our kids supposed to go around eating only salad? Even a vegan will tell you that is not enough. There is no protein in a regular salad, you have to find other things to add (perhaps tofu cubes, etc). But this book, peddled to children, is actually telling them that it is better for them to be a Vegan, not eat DAIRY EGGS OR MEAT (Milk doesn't do a body good???), in order to save the planet.
It then goes on to say that "Raising animals for food also uses enormous amounts of land, water, grain and fuel." Oh really? Well how about ETHANOL production using corn, wheat, and other food crops that environmentalists are pushing for? How many grain crops will go to that instead of to animal feed? Hmmm? Anyone have a guess for me or are you strangely silent. Could THAT be the ulterior motive of this publication? Free up more land and grain for this wonderful fuel replacement for the end days of gasoline? Just something to think about in your spare time...
That's as far as I have made it through this 144 page EnviroKids.ca booklet. If I can stomach reading the rest, I will be back to update this with my finds.
Update: some more honorable mentions are of course the energy efficient light bulbs, which came at excellent timing since last night another of our bulbs burnt out in less than 16 months. I think there are only 4 left in the whole house and we only just put them in Feb/Mar 2008.
And then at the end of the book is a curious thing -- a science experiment for kids to try that uses baking soda, water, vinegar, and cooking oil. The bubbles will appear when mixing with vinegar but it tells the children it's okay because the bubbles are only carbon dioxide, which is perfectly safe, we breathe it every day, and it's a normal part of the air. This after several pages talking of how we should not be putting CO2 into the skies. Also curious was that several of the advertisers in the booklet, who make it's production possible, are oil and lumber companies lol.
What upset me most was the backhanded way our children are being told to give up foods that the health unit just put out booklets for a month or so ago - like milk! There are always campaigns and milk programs going on at schools to get children to drink more milk, and yet this booklet appears telling children not to drink it because it is contributing to the destruction of our environment! Wow. That totally astonished me and I am not impressed.