Manipulating Kids (and adults!)

There are some things that really drive me up the wall.  One of them is the incessant attempts (mostly successful I daresay) by companies to manipulate us and especially our kids.  Here is a primo example: Coal Propaganda in the Schools This really hits home for me because right now there is a coal company trying to build what would be the biggest coal terminal in the world right next to Bellingham, my hometown!! Yes, you read that right.  In  The  World.

Bellingham has about 80,000 residents.  But, since it has a nice deep water port, all that lovely coal mined in Montana and Wyoming could be transported by train across the west into Washington State.  It would pass through our agricultural county (we produce 65% of the raspberries in the U.S. as well as lots of strawberries and blueberries) and on to Bellingham where it would be loaded up onto ships and transported to China where they are building a new coal-fired power plant every week.  Cause we really want all that acid rain coming our way, right?  Cause we really want more of our manufacturing jobs to go overseas right?  But many of us are still leery.

However, the coal industry is savvy and they know it is never too early to start to brainwash people.  So, a few years ago, the coal industry partnered with Scholastic (which, in addition to publishing inexpensive reading materials for elementary kids sold primarily through the schools, also creates teaching materials for educators) to create an energy curriculum promoting the wonders of coal.  Luckily, someone caught it, wrote about it, and the coal propaganda was withdrawn.  But how often is such material not noticed and withdrawn?  Isn’t Scholastic kind of like Mr. Rogers who never sold out.  Except, Scholastic did.  Even now, every month when I pull out those order forms from my son’s backpack, so many of the books in the Scholastic flyer are product tie-ins.  It’s another book about Star Wars or Legos.  It is exhausting having to fight back against the blatant commercialism all the time.

And, just if there is any doubt, my objection to the coal terminal is not a NIMBY thing.  Of course I don’t want all that coal rattling through my town.  But even more, I don’t want that coal to ever get taken out of the ground.  This climate crisis thing is not going away and we have to do something to mitigate it as much as we can.


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