Meghan Cox Gurdon, who reviews children’s books for The Wall Street Journal, has noticed a startling trend in the environmental messages bombarding America’s children: They’re not just about the environment anymore. “Eco-propaganda” that wallpapers schools in advance of Earth Day has taken a turn toward fear mongering.
No longer are kids taught merely about recycling their yogurt containers, or riding their bikes instead of getting a ride from mom. Instead, they are subject to the notion that they are personally responsible for the fate of the planet.
As Gurdon writes:
Susceptible children are left in no doubt that we’re all headed for a despoiled, immiserated future unless they start planting pansies in their old shoes, using dryer lint as mulch, and practicing periodic vegetarianism. Not surprisingly, many young people are anxious. The more impressionable among them are coming to believe that their smallest decisions could have catastrophic effects on the globe. This, of course, is nonsense, unless their smallest decision involves tipping vats of mercury into forest streams. But they’re children, for goodness’ sake: They tend to believe what adults tell them — minus the nuance.
Groups like PETA and the phony animal-rights Cancer Project are well aware of how vulnerable children are to their messages about vegetarianism, which is the main reason animal rights activists pursue school tie-ins so relentlessly. Why pass up the opportunity to preach to an audience that doesn’t know enough to question the premise?
Moreover, it could be why so many teenagers are developing orthorexia, or the fear of eating foods deemed “bad” by the adults in their lives.
Propagandists should lay off young children and stop making them feel so anxious about their role in saving the world. It’s a weighty burden for such small shoulders — especially when that burden is built on utter nonsense.