On July 20, 2011, kids in the Washington, D.C. area were treated to free books during a special U.S. Department of Education event. Two of the books that were offered featured popular Nickelodeon characters as part of the network's "Big Green Help Series," a campaign encouraging children to help protect the Earth.
But one of these publications takes an overtly controversial stance, as it promotes the idea that global warming is a man-made problem that requires human intervention in order to be stemmed. CNS News has more:
SpongeBob Goes Green! An Earth-Friendly Adventure! tells the story of SpongeBob’s friend, Krusty Krab, who builds a swimming pool. Mr. Krab is frustrated that it is not hot enough to attract paying customers to his new swimming pool and decides that the exhaust from boats and cars could solve his dilemma.
Mr. Krab says: “I’m just pumpin’ a wee bit of carbon dioxide into the air. It’ll warm up the temperature and bring on an endless summer! People will want to use my new pool all year long.”
To help with his cause, SpongeBob and his friend Patrick set stacks of tires on fire.
As the story unfolds, Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel and a good friend of SpongeBob's, discovers the pool plot and educates her friends about the dangerous plan that they're undertaking. She explains that they are "messin’ with Mother Nature" and "bringin’ on global warming." Like many of the children attending the department's reading event, the impressionable SpongeBob asks, “What’s global warming?” Sandy Cheeks explains:
“Ya see, Earth has these gases called greenhouse gases. They’re in the atmosphere to keep the temperature of the planet just right. Carbon Dioxide is one of those gases. But when we make more greenhouse gases than the planet needs naturally, like you’ve been burnin’ tires and fuel, it locks the heat in the atmosphere. That makes the planet hotter than it should be. That’s global warming. And that’s not good.”
You can watch the SpongeBob global warming story unfold on video, below:
In the end, because of global warming, Mr. Krab's pool water boils away. But, don't dispair. Once everyone in SpongeBob's hometown (remember, this all exists underwater, which makes the entire premise of the story implausible) starts planting trees, riding bikes and unplugging appliances, the community is restored. And, Mr. Krab even decides to give people a discount for coming to the pool if they walk or ride their bikes. Problem solved!
This story is not an isolated incident. On Nickelodeon's "Big Green Help" web site, one can find videos in which the network encourages young people to "stop global warming." While some will likely support the U.S. Department of Education's distribution of the book, others will take issue.
What do you think -- was it appropriate for the nation's top education agency to embrace the controversial idea that humans are responsible for the global climate?
(h/t CNS News)