Hunger Games and Climate Games

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640px-HenleyMiddleSchoolsignby Charles Battig, MD

The school lunch program is a resounding success here in Albemarle County, Virginia.  School kids are awash in food; no child is left behind in the new standards-of-lunch excesses.

As reported in Charlottesville-Tomorrow, December 5, 2013:

“Albemarle County Public Schools is conserving energy and teaching students green lessons while doing so. At its annual conference in Williamsburg, the Virginia School Boards Association honored Albemarle with the top environmental prize in the “Green Schools Challenge,” which encourages divisions to implement practices and policies to reduce their carbon footprints.”

“Nowhere are the efficiencies more apparent than at Henley Middle School’s Renewable Energy Resource Center, which features solar photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal system that heats water, and a wind turbine. The Center, which was funded in large part by a grant from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, has produced 120,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and prevented 88 tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 2012.”

The article concludes with:

“In addition to harnessing the wind and sun, Crozet and Meriwether Lewis elementary schools, and Jack Jouett and Sutherland middle schools have developed composting programs. These schools kept more than 126 tons of food from landfills and reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 900 metric tons.”

The standards of environmentalism see success through a different set of creeds than do ordinary folks. What was the taxpayer cost for the Henley Middle School Renewable Energy Resource Center?  A savings of 120,000 kilowatt hours of electricity over two years represents an approximate saving of $6,000 per year. The human body produces approximately 2.3 pounds (1.0 kg) of carbon dioxide per day per person just in its basic biological metabolic processes.  Over 365 days, the averaged production of carbon dioxide by these bodily processes adds up to about 840 pounds, or 0.4 ton per person.  The 88 tons of carbon dioxide prevented over two years by this project is therefore the approximate amount of carbon dioxide generated by 110 adults breathing over the two years.

Wow, that is a science lesson; was that what the students were taught?  What were the students told would be the impact on the climate, or of any other environmental system, of their saving these 88 tons of carbon dioxide? The impact on global temperature would be unmeasurable…a grain of sand on the world of beaches.

Were they told that carbon dioxide is absolutely necessary to plant physiology and our survival?  Their carbon dioxide saving deprived some plants of this atmospheric plant food.

The children are being   indoctrinated in a scientifically meaningless ritual of minding their tiny carbon footprints. It does establish the State as the source of authority at a young age.

Rather than the sensible question as to why schools were generating 126 tons of food waste and at what taxpayer cost, school kids are being taught “green lessons.” Waste-not, want-not is replaced with composting programs and environmentally meaningless carbon footprint reductions.  (See Virginia Tech Report)

Carbon dioxide reduction bragging rights become the reward.  They are now praised for seeing their food waste become high-priced compost, rather than seeking solutions to reduce the initial food becoming waste.

This all brings to mind the recent movie hit The Hunger Games and its sequels. The recent Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a box-office hit with audiences young and old. The story’s theme dramatizes an inspirational saga of individual courage in the face of centralized authoritarianism, and cult-media exploitation of a subjugated populous.   Why do the movies and the original books of the trilogy find such an enthusiastic audience with the youth?  The central theme of the story must resonate with the youthful quest for adventure, and an idealistic yearning for a super-hero to follow.

The youth of today are awash in multi-media driven news and news masquerading as entertainment. They can recognize the hypocrisy in the real world around them which abounds in movie-personality worship, sport-event analogues of the ancient Roman Coliseum arena, and central-government propaganda masquerading as fact. At their youthful age they can already sense the underlying shallowness in a life dominated by these substitutes for inner virtue, self-sacrifice, and un-politicized learning.  A victorious warrior comes forth and challenges the system, and survives…that image is part of our cultural heritage spanning Homer’s Odyssey, David and Goliath, Washington at Valley Forge, our “Greatest Generation” of WWll, and many others.

It is somewhat ironic that District 12 in the “Hunger Games” book is set in the coal-rich region that “was formerly known as Appalachia” where today hunger is no game, and a place not so far away from present-day Albemarle County. Rather than our schools so boastfully wasting food and redeeming themselves by making compost out of it, why not garner some real honor and send it, or its dollar equivalent, to current-day Appalachia?

The fictional country “Panem” of Hunger Games is mirrored by a governmental educational system in which our school children are indoctrinated with “green environmentalism” and a morbid preoccupation with meaningless carbon dioxide emissions. They are taught that in order for them and the environment to survive, they must monitor the carbon footprints of themselves and family, and perhaps that of their neighbors as well.  Neither harmful climate change nor global temperature extremes have been factually linked to man-made carbon dioxide, even after Federal Government expenditures of over $100 billion.   During their lifetimes, none of these children have experienced increased global temperature, which has remained flat for seventeen years, yet they are being taught mandated ritualistic behavior to solve a non-problem.

It is not surprising to see these innocent participants in the “climate games” cheer on a mythical hero in The Hunger Games.  Let a new hero step forward.

Dr. Charles Battig, (online here)  is a retired physician and electrical engineer. In the 1960s he served as “principal scientist in bio-medical monitoring systems” at North American Aviation Los Angeles in support of the Apollo Moon Mission. Later he served in the U.S. Public Health Service at NIH, Bethesda MD, in the biomedical engineering branch. Following teaching appointments in anesthesiology at UCLA and Mt. Sinai, NYC, he entered the private practice of anesthesiology until retirement.

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