Dept. of ‘Seen and Not Heard’ Affairs

In a story that reminds me of why I’ve never wanted to have children, the Wall Street Journal has a perversely fascinating story (sub. only) on the littlest environmental activists. Yes, it’s a profile of pre-teens greenies and their habit of nagging and hectoring their parents in the name of the earth:

Jim and Robyn Dahlin knew replacing the roof of their home in Greenbrae, Calif., would be expensive. But they hadn’t planned to spend an extra $15,000 on solar panels. For that, they have their 8-year-old son, Luke, to thank.

After Luke acted in a school play about global warming, he went on a campaign to get his parents to install the panels. He routinely lectured his dad from the backseat of the minivan about how reducing their energy consumption could help save the planet.

And the Dahlins aren’t the only family being lectured on major household decisions and expenditures by a strident child who has only recently graduated to wearing big-boy underpants:

Nicole Thomas thought her 4-year-old son’s interest in the environment was cute — until he told her she needed to quit drinking coffee. Ailer said he’s worried that coffee growers in Central America are cutting down forests to grow their crops. “Going to a coffee shop with a kid who’s saying, ‘Mommy, you can’t have a cup of coffee’ isn’t very pleasurable,” says the 35-year-old mom from Boulder, Colo.


Ailer often tells his mom about the wonders of composting and runs around the supermarket parking lot picking up trash. He has pestered her, his grandmother and a Safeway cashier to get rid of plastic bags and use reusable cloth ones instead. In response to his complaint, the cashier fired back that eating fast-food hamburgers is worse than using plastic, referring to the environmental impact of beef production. Now Ailer is bugging his mom to stop buying hamburgers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – any parents who would name their kid “Ailer” pretty much deserve what they get. But certainly we can be more generous that that. If the Laurie Davids of the world are going to go around spreading misinformation and causing otherwise adorable kids to turn into to annoying, sanctimonious jerks, they should certainly be held responsible. I suggest a class-action lawsuit against her and her publisher for all of the aggravation caused by the legions of eco-freak kids she seems to have produced.