Perhaps frustrated with a public that is lacks burning enthusiasm for environmental causes, the Obama administration is turning to a new strategy: Get them on board while they’re in preschool, with coloring books.
Buried within an Obama administration announcement of a major effort to increase anti-global warming education in American schools is a peculiar notice: The Department of Energy has produced a new Spanish edition of a coloring book, “Get Current,” that encourages children to “be part of the new generation of clean energy!”
The book is a scant nine pages, but contains everything a youngster may need to begin agitating against fossil fuels, before they necessarily know what either fossils or fuels are. One page each is dedicated to illustrating solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal energy. Biofuels such as corn ethanol are featured as well, although such fuels have earned the ire of climate activists for being inefficient and doing little to reduce the carbon emissions believed to cause global climate change.
At several points the coloring book appears to make references that would be well beyond the understanding of the typical child who may be coloring it in. One page displays pictures of incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs, and encourages the child to “haz el cambio” (make the change), referring to the ongoing federal phaseout . Whether a kindergartner can even pronounce the word “incandescent,” let alone comprehend the debate about phasing older light bulbs out for newer, more efficient ones, is unclear.
Another page, labeled simply “enchúfalo” (plug it in), encourages the use of electric cars (at a house with solar panels, no less), a product the target audience won’t be using for a decade or more.
That the Department of Energy invested time in creating such a book may seem odd, but both federal and local governments actually have a history of producing such items for children. In 1996, for instance, the Department of Justice crafted the activity book “I’m Going to Federal Court with Mark and Julie” in order to explain to young children how the federal court system worked. The EPA, similarly, has created a short coloring activity about the Superfund program.
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