The boy has drawn, in his third-grade class, a global warming timeline that is his equivalent of the mushroom cloud.And continues with:
"That's the Earth now," the 9-year-old says, pointing to a dark shape at the bottom. "And then," he says, tracing the progressively lighter stripes across the page, "it's just starting to fade away."
Alex Hendel of Arlington County is talking about the end of life on our beleaguered planet. Looking up to make sure his mother is following along, he taps the final stripe, which is so sparsely dotted it is almost invisible. "In 20 years," he pronounces, "there's no oxygen." Then, to dramatize the point, he collapses, "dead," to the floor.Although the article talks about college age kids, which is where I think subjects like nature and environment can be introduced to students, it goes on about the very young:
For many children and young adults, global warming is the atomic bomb of today. Fears of an environmental crisis are defining their generation in ways that the Depression, World War II, Vietnam and the Cold War's lingering "War Games" etched souls in the 20th century.
Parents say they're searching for "productive" outlets for their 8-year-olds' obsessions with dying polar bears. Teachers say enrollment in high school and college environmental studies classes is doubling year after year. And psychologists say they're seeing an increasing number of young patients preoccupied by a climactic ArmageddonThese kids are way too young to be introduced to such complex subjects as planetary climate systems not to mention all the political and ethical and social issues involved. Young minds like this cannot cope with the higher level abstractions required to make any kind of rational judgement. The only way a child can respond to this kind of indoctrination is emotionally. And that's exactly whats happening with "...an increasing number of young patients preoccupied by a climactic Armageddon." And if any parent has a child obsessing about anything, it is the parent's job to be that "productive" outlet. What kind of parenting is going on today?
Sadly, there's more:
There was also last spring's effort by David Bronstein -- before he graduated and enrolled at St. John's -- to do 20-minute PowerPoint presentations on "the problem of global warming and how it's the challenge of our generation and what we need to do about it" to about 20 of Sherwood's government, English, social studies and philosophy classes.But is it just the teachers who are destroying the kids minds? The article ends with:
"This message about global warming is so powerful," Bronstein says. "It gives me hope for the human race because people are responsive to it." He also encourages anxiety about the planet's future, comparing enviro-fears to "any suffering in your life: The first step is denial, and then there's a sense of doom, and then you have to get up and shake it off and change something."
Which is exactly what happened when 9-year-old Alyssa Luz-Ricca's mother returned from a business trip to Costa Rica with a T-shirt of a colorful frog and the words "Extinction is forever." Alyssa looked at the T-shirt and, she says, "I cried."What kind of words can I use to describe the evil of scaring kids to death with a virtual non-problem? Unspeakable? Unthinkable? Even if GW were a problem, it would be the responsibility of adults to address it, not kids.
"She cried very hard," clarifies her mother, Karen Luz of Arlington.
"I don't like global warming," Alyssa continues, her eyes huge and serious behind her glasses, a stardust of freckles across her nose, "because it kills animals, and I like animals."
She dreams of solar-powered cars and has put a recycling basket for mail, office and school paper in the corner of her family's dining room. She made another recycling box for her third-grade English teacher's classroom at Key Elementary School and has persuaded her mother to start composting. At Key, she also organized an effort among her classmates to pick up playground trash at recess.
Marvel at any of her efforts, though, and she looks confused: Everyone should be doing all this -- and more -- to save the environment.
"I worry about it," says this girl who has yet to lose all her baby teeth, "because I don't want to die."
In the Jonestown mass sucide a mother was taped pouring poison down her child's throat. That mother was the naked essence of evil, the desire to destroy life. But destroying the minds of kids to form concepts and integrate them in an hierarchy, to know instead of believe, is to leave the kid's body alive while destroying the body's means of survival.
In closing I wonder if any of these teachers or parents know that the concepts nature and environment have two different meanings. I'll bet none. I hate to say this but I'm beginning to sympathize with those who are pessimistic of America's future.