|National Geographic teaches American children to hate America|
|Written by Ann McElhinney|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011 18:31|
Parents need to get angry and need to get active.
Here are a few reasons why.
In schools all over the US children are now being forced to watch The Human Footprint in science class. The film produced by the National Geographic tells the story of how humans impact the "natural" world. The subtext, and its not at all subtle, is that the impact (footprint) is bad and the worst offenders are of course Americans.
The film contains the following statement.
By their first birthday, the average American will be responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than a person in Tanzania generates in a lifetime.
This creates a clear impression that Americans are doing something bad. Children have been weaned on an unproven theory that man-made CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are warming the planet at an alarming rate which will bring about an apocalypse. The implication from The Human Footprint is that the US more than any other country is responsible for this catastrophe.
A number of troubling facts get in the way of this horrific scenario, many scientists believe heightened CO2 emissions follow a rise in temperature not the other way around and the warming of the past decades is minuscule when looked at over millennia.
Then there is the inconvenient fact that the temperature changes we are seeing have been seen before. They did occur prior to the Industrial Revolution, when they could not be related to any CO2 emissions from SUVs and coal fired power plants.
Despite this The Human Footprint goes on to point out, in all kinds of clever and emotionally charged ways, how awful Americans are for consuming and simply for being here and breeding. It also challenges children to come up with ways to counter all that bad behavior including references to population control and cutting consumption.
But lets travel back to Tanzania and examine what it means to have a small human footprint that is so praised by the National Geographic. I think it is not only disingenuous, is it also simply shabby education, not to point out that in the US people get to live average 78.4 years (and rising), while that number is as low as 48 years in Tanzania (source: World Health Organization).
It is unconscionable for anyone to fail to point out also that in Tanzania more than one in ten children die before their 5th birthday. Luckily for the carbon dioxide spewing Americans that number is less than one child per hundred. Pity too, that the National Geographic teachers notes which would leave any decent US child feeling guilty for simply being alive, fails to point out that the children of Tanzania die not from CO2 emissions or climate change but mostly from preventable condition that don't even exist here in the US. Those unfortunate Tanzanian children die of diarrhea 17%, Malaria 23%, Pneumonia 21%. I think any self respecting educator ought to point that out.
But most of all, the teachers ought to point out that the reason Americans live so long and so healthily is because of those very CO2 emissions and because of their large human footprint. Energy is life, it is as simple as that and the abundant and low-cost energy enjoyed in the US allows people to live long and healthy lives.
Isn't this a human footprint worth pursuing?
All over the US schools are teaching programs just like this one. These films are produced by the WWF, the Sierra Club and the Tides Foundation and all tell essentially the same story: American is bad, consumerism is bad, capitalism bad and the human footprint is bad. They produce these educational programs whilst ignoring the wonders all around them that contradict their thesis. Human achievements fueled by coal, gas and oil have made our lives splendid, magnificent and free from the fear and drudgery that is such a part of everyday life in places like Tanzania.
I make speeches warning about films like this all the time. Just last week I spoke at the Tea Party Summit in Phoenix about The Story of Stuff and An Inconvenient Truth, both of which demonize America.
Another odious film shown to school children is The Age Of Stupid, a docu-drama in which an actor looks back in sadness from 2030 at a post apocalyptic wasteland created by global warming. Its an awful film, which has no right to call itself a documentary, relying as it does on science-fiction to terrorize its audience. However there is one moment in the film that I loved. A young woman in Africa is interviewed and says, and I am paraphrasing, it must be terrible for Americans to die, because their lives are so great. How wise.
I think it is time for teachers to tell the children of America how marvelous it is to live in this country, to point out to them the advancements created in this free, rich and healthy country that have not only benefited generations of Americans but have brought great innovations to the whole world. It is time for teachers to point out that it is a noble and worthy cause to fight for the right of all peoples to know that kind of life, to live to enjoy their grandchildren and for those children to live into their 70s, 80s and beyond and that human ingenuity can make that real.
Now children open up your science books and lets all get clever, we still need one of you to find a cure for cancer.
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david jones said: