No Regrets Greenery for Kids

In recent days I’ve been heavily exposed to commercials featuring the Nickelodeon network’s teen stars advocating The Big Green Help, including, Lord help us, a game where you can play Spongebob Squarepants combating CO2 monsters (portrayed as anthropomorphic smoking trucks, perhaps a dig at competitor Cartoon Network’s Transformers). The photogenic young stars place their hands over their hearts when they say that they will pledge to reform their behavior and be Green.

However, when you look at the list of “the four elements of the big green help,” it’s less objectionable than the initial impression would suggest. Of the four elements, only one is really bad, including as it does the pernicious ideas that recycling toilet paper is a good thing and that tap water is better than bottled water. There’s also the confused idea that local/organic food might be better than “normal” food.
The rest of it, however, is completely compatible with a no-regrets approach to global warming:

  • Stop the Flow is basic efficiency, avoiding unnecessary waste
  • Grow the Green, with the exception of the aforementioned unwarranted promotion of local/organic food, is unobjectionable promotion of tree planting
  • Curb the Car isn’t anti-car, but promotes exactly the sort of self-sufficiency among children that provided a valuable social function in previous generations. The less children rely on parents for travel, perhaps the more they will realize they are empowered individuals. And perhaps there will be fewer pretexts for an obesity tax if children walk and bike to places.
  • Of course, this doesn’t excuse the preachy, quasi-religious tone of the adverts, but if this is the extent of what children do (and nag their parents about) as a result, then I can live with it.