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Youth Spying On Parents??


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  • Youth Spying On Parents??

    Folks, can we say, 'this is going too far?'. There, I knew we could; 'Hey, Dad, you're using the wrong briquettes in the charcoal'.......'


    'Greenshirt' youths urged to inform on eco-crimes
    Craig Offman , National Post
    Published: Friday, August 01, 2008

    In a recent series of ads aimed at school children, a leading British energy company has assigned a controversial summer project: police their family's global-warming crimes.

    Launched last week by NPower -- the country's fourth-largest provider -- the campaign is part of a larger program to educate children about global warming and the wasteful habits that might exacerbate it.

    Placed in prominent newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Telegraph, the ads offer giveaway diaries in which kids can note domestic infractions, such as leaving a mobile phone charging for too long or a Nintendo game left flickering in the dark, as well as Post-It notes, which can be left at the crime scene as a warning to the offenders. Equally important, the campaign seeks to attract kids to its controversial Web site, Climate Cops, which encourages children to monitor and report on their domestic energy crimes to their classrooms.

    Some activists and marketers see the site as a clever marketing gimmick to teach children to preserve their planet. Others see excessive indoctrination tactics lifted from the pages of the George Orwell novel 1984, in which children are set against their parents, or worse, the Hitler Youth, who were encouraged to betray their loved ones for the greater glory of the state.

    Last Tuesday, a satirical article on the British Web site Anorak referred to these cadets as "Greenshirts" and compared them to the young Blackshirts of yore. "NPower, the electricity people, want you, the Britisher Jungvolk, to inform on your mums and your dads if they disobey the rules on climate change."

    Despite the mockery and alarm found on some Web sites this week, NPower said that the response has been overwhelming positive, and that the company does not wish to spawn a new generation of eco-narcs. "This is not supposed to be remotely sinister," said spokeswoman Zoe Melarkey.

    Instead, she added that the program gives children a feeling of empowerment they might not otherwise have.

    The company's fetching, kid-friendly Web pages use games, posters and vivid cartoons to draw fresh recruits, who are typically between the ages of seven and eleven.

    Once connected, kids can download "Climate Crime" Cards to monitor their family's misdeeds.

    "Report back to your family to make sure they don't commit those crimes again (or else!)" Instructs the site page, which features a polar giving the thumbs-up and three kids wearing baggy trousers and "Academy Cadet" T-Shirts.

    "You can spread your search even wider by adding even more Case Files to your notes," it suggests. "What about the homes of your uncles, aunts or friends from school?"

    The Web site is part of NPower's Greener Schools Program, which has alloted a budget of £20-million over five years. While it is hoping to reach 150 primary and secondary schools across the U.K. this year, the program eventually seeks to reach 2,500 in total. Last year, 65 schools participated.

    "It's not about reporting on your parents," said Clare McDougall, NPower's education project director. "It's how the accumulation of small differences add up to one big difference."

    Ms. McDougall added that contrary to some critics' impressions, children do not report on the parents to people in position of authority, such as teachers. Instead, she stressed, it is merely a light-hearted awareness exercise, and the information does not go any farther than the child's family.

    When the Climate Cops were introduced last fall, it faced some vocal resistance, especially from Tim Newark, a British historian. "The idea that they are going to use this scheme to inform on their parents is really like something out of 1984," he told the Islington Tribune, adding that education on the topic of global warming should be presented more calmly. "It's a dreadful throwback to fascist times. Schools should be more balanced."

    The idea of home-energy suppliers that encouraged conservation also smacked of Orwellian irony: why would utilities companies deliberately want to lose revenue?

    In part, the answer has to do with the country's deregulation policy. As part of its program to privatize the sector in the 1990s, the British government required energy companies to promote efficiency. The larger the energy provider, the more money it is legally obliged to spend. NPower, which is owned by the German utility giant RWE, claims that it earmarks more than £300-million over three years towards conservation programs.

    Beginning with British Petroleum, there is also a larger trend of energy companies that is trying to green their image at a time of dwindling resources and concern about carbon emissions.

    In Canada, for example, David Suzuki appears in ads promoting Powerwise, a partnership between local Ontario electrical utilities and the Government of Ontario.

    One of his spots takes a similar approach to the Climate Cops.

    It pans to a treehouse sign that prohibits wasteful parents. Inside there is Dr. David Suzuki, talking in a conspiratorial whispers with children as they figure out ways in which to save electricity.

    "I have a friend, and his parents don't believe in conserving," complains one girl.

    "You have the power," Dr. Suzuki replies. "It's up to you to start saying, ‘Hey remember...'" but before he can offer any further advice, the scene fades out.

    "The paradigm has completely shifted because of the climate-change debate," said Don Millar, president of the Element Agency, a Vancouver environmental communications firm.

    NPower's campaign impresses Mr. Millar, who implied that it was about time that the issue of conservation moved from penny-saving to planet-saving. He also liked the playful aspect, which he did not see as being shrill. "You don't have this whiny, hectoring eat-your-peas approach," he observed. "Kids want to be smarter than their parents, and they love catching them doing things they don't want to do."

    When asked about the Climate Cops campaign, another expert in the Green field had a more negative reaction. "Didn't Hitler try to do something like that?" asked Scott McDougall, the president of TerraChoice, an Ottawa-based Canadian environmental marketing firm that represents clients such as Xerox and Oxybrite.

    Mr. McDougall said he preferred what he considers a more positive approach. Plugging his client, Bullfrog Power as an example, he said that the Toronto-based company offers a clubby community for people who buy its renewable resources: stars such as Margaret Atwood and everyday people exchanging tips and anecdotes about their product.

    Susan Bartoletti Campbell, who has written book about the Hitler Youth, said that she feels conflicted about the campaign. While the author and former school teacher says she sympathizes with the cause of stopping global warming, she thinks that harnessing children against adults is excessive. "There is a saying that ‘He who gains Youth gains the future,' " she said. "I think Hitler said that."

    At the same time, she said to stress her Green bona fides. "I want to go on record as saying that it is sunny and warm here, and my linens are outside drying on the line. They are not in a dryer."

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  • #2
    I prefer KISS MY [email protected]@!!!!!
    A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!


    • #3
      When I was a teeenager in the '70s I tried to get corrective toward my parents about phospates in detergents. I wound up with extra laundry duty for awhile.


      • #4
        Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
        I prefer KISS MY [email protected]@!!!!!
        ...followed by a kick in the [email protected]@!!!


        • #5
          Hmmm... remember reading about something very similar in a book... by Orwell IIRC....
          “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

          "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."


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