Our local library, small though it may be, does a great job of promoting literature and a general love of learning. This is due mostly to the herculean efforts of our head librarian who is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. This summer, she has organized a “Be Creative” time for younger kids in the community—crafts, story time and whatnot. As part of the program, yesterday some of the kids and I headed to the library for a reader’s theater type production. The kids were in awe of the costumes, simple though they were, and loved the story. The tale involved a “maintenance sprite” who had to battle Captain Hook in order to save the natural resources of Indiana. I too was enjoying the performance until the “story” began to smell more like propaganda (which smells a bit like something else we have a great deal of Indiana due to a large population of farm animals, but I digress). Of course, the program was meant to be educational, and it is certainly important to teach kids about the responsible use of water, energy, etc., but as they stood up and recited the “Defenders of the Planet” pledge, a cold chill ran down my spine and it wasn’t visions of sugar plums but Nazi Youth Organizations that were dancing in my head.
Let me first make it clear that I too would like to preserve and defend our local and national resources. Nor am I accusing our beloved Miss Linda or the organization that produced the play of being Nazis or anything of the sort. Taken on its own, this incident would quickly have been lost on me in the rush to make lunch and get everyone down for a nap. But the accumulation of “Go Green” messages constantly hurdled at my doorstep has begun to resemble a landfill of impressive proportions.
I hate to be so cynical but as I sat in my library chair, watching my kids soaking in anything and everything the “maintenance sprite” had to offer, the question that kept running through my mind was “Why are they so desperate to teach our kids this stuff?” Why, indeed. Why not do a program teaching the history of Indiana? Why not simply celebrate the natural wonders of our state and their many uses? Why are people so insistent on teaching children about global warming? As we walked home, the answer became as clear as a Colorado mountain spring. If we can’t be religious anymore—and anyone who is not out of their enlightened mind knows that religion is so last century—then we have to come up with a reason to act responsibly. Sure, they could have told kids that wasting water is wrong but that would be inconsiderate and, well, wrong. But something being wrong would imply that there are universal standards for behavior that apply to us all. They could have talked about stewardship and the resources that we have been entrusted with but that would imply that someone or some Being is the owner and creator of all these resources over which we have been given dominion.
That is where global warming comes into play. If you can’t stop kids from wasting electricity because it is bad then you have to have some other end to justify their means. I guess it is so much a part of our make-up, or design if you will, to require a “why” when we are called to self-sacrifice that the God “why” has been replaced with the Melting-Ice-Caps “why.”
I have to question either the sincerity or the informedness of those who are so fanatical about turning off the light switch when they choose to ignore some of the more simple but less glamorous ways we can all truly make a difference. I laugh every time I see someone wearing a “Go Green” t-shirt and ponder the environmental price tag of the production of that shirt when shopping at Goodwill saves you money and is the ultimate recycling experience. Eating less meat and demanding fewer “exotic” foods out of season and location, too, are ways to save on land use and fuel costs. Certainly, teaching our kids to be grateful stewards of God’s creation is a start, not only to saving the planet but redeeming mankind. Or perhaps, at the very least, those towing the “Go Green” party line could save a little of that propaganda for the compost heap instead of trying to feed it to our kids.