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christine215's avatar

Teaching children to 'be green'... how far is too far?

Asked by christine215 (3163points) July 8th, 2009

http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23765244-5014239,00.html
A article about a website which tells children when they “should die” based on their carbon footprint. Do you think that this is going TOO FAR? (or can you NOT go too far in your efforts to “save the planet” ?)

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12 Answers

Les's avatar

Fear mongering in general is not something I tolerate. I think there are much better ways (and usually more accurate ways) to get a message across than to tell someone they are a terrible human being for doing “x”. Far, too far.

Rsam's avatar

extremism is extremism. i dont know why people care about things like this. its silly. stop giving it attention.

christine215's avatar

But if we’re not paying attention to the extremists… who will?

Rsam's avatar

nobody. and then they die out because nobody cared about the unreasonable things they had to say. extremists rely at least by half simply by having people paying attention to them. this principle is obviously not universal, but it works fine in things like this.

benjaminlevi's avatar

It is pretty stupid. We should try to convince people to have fewer children (like 1 or 0) instead of murdering people. The way they presented it is more likely to backfire and provoke opposition to their cause than to get people to support it.

christine215's avatar

rsam, this is coming from a “news” site, which is the most disturbing part to me. It’s not as if this were a part of some extremist group it’s mainstream media (Australia)
(edited to redirect this to the proper persons response)

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t think it’s right to “scare” people into doing anything…whether it be going to church, being green, eating your veggies, etc. It’s never right.

Teach kids about the benefits of taking care of the earth and some consequences that will happen if they don’t (ie garbage, dirty lakes, etc.) and praise them for doing green things. They’ll be empowered to do what’s right and WANT to participate, not just doing it out of fear.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know that it teaches children to be green. I think it is extreme, and extremists often see themselves as a kind of vanguard that might help move society a bit in their direction. I don’t know if they see themselves that strategically.

However there is always a danger that your extremeness does the opposite of what you want. It turns people away, because you just look crazy, and they don’t want to be associated with that.

So there’s a delicate balance where you want to push people further in a direction—say being green (whatever that is)—without losing your credibility. In this case, the idea of a maximum carbon footprint might make people think about their carbon footprint, even if no on signs on to a commitment to use only a certain amount of carbon in their lives.

The problem is so much more complicated, though. How do you decide how much carbon you should consume in a life? What is your fare share? Exactly how bad is carbon? How bad is global warming? We know it will bring changes, but will they be all bad? What about if you do things to take up carbon as well as freeing it? What if you plant trees? Or find some other kind of carbon sink.

If I were teaching people about being green, those are some of the questions I would ask. I hate teaching based on emotions. My kids sometimes tell me, “you just killed another polar bear” when I leave a light on. Yet they want the air conditioner on all night. Or they’d rather take the car than ride their bike to camp. To me, saving twelve miles worth of gasoline is a lot more effective that saving the amount of electricity it takes to keep a few lights going for an hour or two.

However, much of the world is not interested in complicated problems with sophisticated answers. They want things to be simple. Use up your carbon and then die. Simple as that! It’s wishful, ineffective thinking and tactics, in my mind. I’d prefer that everyone understood that things are very complex, and that if they want to do something, they need to learn about the complexity. I don’t think the people behind that website understand that.

christine215's avatar

“They want things to be simple. Use up your carbon and then die. Simple as that! It’s wishful, ineffective thinking and tactics, in my mind”

like the people who buy carbon credits?

proXXi's avatar

Insist they drive a car with a working catalytic converter. Anything more is excessive.

proXXi's avatar

So this is coming from a news site.

The news is no different than any other entertainment. It’s purpose is to give the public what it wants.

In this case that’s feeding the citizens mistaken sense of guilt and panic.

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