Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Conditioning kids to make meaningless sacrifices for Mother Earth isn’t the purpose of public education.
Wasn’t I just saying yesterday that, everywhere we turn, someone nags us about the environment? That it’s inescapable? That you can’t spend a single day without being beaten over the head by greens?
One of the reasons green nags are so irritating is that a large percentage of what they say is unadulterated nonsense. It’s based on shoddy analysis. Appearing to do something for the planet, feeling pious seems to be more important than actually accomplishing something meaningful.
Far too many green ideas appear to have been dreamed up by people sitting around singing Kumbaya. The same individuals who claim to care so deeply about the environment apparently can’t be bothered to invest a few hours researching the implications of what they’re proposing before foisting their latest green idea on the rest of us.
As if to demonstrate my point, there’s a story in today’s Calgary Herald about elementary schools banning kids from exchanging Valentine’s cards. According to the school’s newsletter, if every child gives 30 cards to their classmates why, that would be just horrible:
it adds up to 3,000 cards! Imagine the trees we are saving by not exchanging cards in our school. [backup link]
I’m not sure what happens in other parts of the world, but here in Canada it has long been a tradition that parents purchase a package of small, inexpensive cards decorated with hearts and puppy dogs, that children address them to their classmates, and then exchange them at school on February 14th.
As far as traditions go, this is not an overly important one. It could disappear tomorrow and little harm would be done.
But it’s the principle of the matter. If people are prepared to ban innocent childish pastimes on the flimsiest of environmental excuses, what else are they prepared to ban? What other aspects of our public and private lives will the green police intrude on?
Of course it’s dumb to outright waste anything. But trees are a renewable resource – a crop much like any other. Once we’ve ensured that foresters are following sensible practices, saving trees makes no more sense than saving turnips or cabbages.
(If the real objection is that Valentine’s cards are frivolous, so are a lot of other things. It is not the business of schools to cleanse the world of frivolity.)
There’s no sound environmental reasoning behind this decision. This is about people abusing their power.
This is about little kids being conditioned to make meaningless sacrifices for Mother Earth.