As green maintains its march into the mainstream, CBS News brings us a news package about the up-and-coming green generation educating their parents about eco-practice. We likey: keeping coats on to keep down the thermostat, reusable lunch-sandwich containers, turning off lights, buying second-hand clothes, washing said clothes in cold water, the tandem bike commute to school, and last but not least the recycling bin halloween costume. We likey not so much: framing the teaching of environmental responsibility as "green gospel." For the choice of words we prefer, click to jump to the front of the class.Ushered in by a clip from Disney movie Wall-E, the voice-over narration states:
The green gospel is now being preached in kids movies and even on their Girl Scout patches. Three years ago, one environmental education group was working with 150 teachers nationwide. Now they're training 1000. And their curriculum is in close to 10,000 schools.
The group mentioned is The Cloud Institute, the mission statement for which includes the following:
We believe that K-12 education can substantially influence beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors related to sustainability. This is the most fertile ground for helping to shape a society committed to sustainable development. The goal of sustainability education is to develop in young people and their teachers new knowledge and new ways of thinking needed to achieve economic prosperity, participate democratically, secure justice and equity, and all the while regenerate the health of the ecosystems, the gift upon which all life and all production depend.
Given this, the religious overtones of the video segment are at best unfounded, understandable as an error in judgement made out of ignorance, and at worst undermining of science and the natural world themselves. Apparently Bush-era projections of religiosity into the secular sphere is a habit hard to break along with American ruling culture's unflinching tremulations before the Profit-Gods of Oil. We forgive the good people at CBS their choice of words, but must say that although the alliteration is tempting, we suggest rather than "green gospel," a term like "green civics" or "eco civics" would best serve to appropriately convey with integrity the nature of educational initiatives of this kind.