The media can be a misleading thing for children. I recently had my 6 year old daughter ask me: “Dad, why is carbon bad?” I quizzed her why she thought carbon was bad and she told me that she had seen on the news about the need to reduce carbon emissions.
Carbon emissions is a sound bite that can be misleading. It is a misnomer. It is not carbon per se that is causing the world’s weather to warm up and melt the polar ice caps. Rather it is carbon dioxide that is given off by cars, industry, people breathing etc. that is the problem. It is not only carbon dioxide that is to blame for global warming. Other greenhouse gases such as methane are also contributing to the green house effect.
Carbon is not the enemy. It is the way that we use carbon based products and processes that is causing the problem. Graphite carbon is used to make pencils. Carbon brushes make the commutators for cars. Carbon electrodes are used for electrical discharge machining that makes turbines and aerospace technology. Nanocarbons with their large surface area are revolutionizing engineering and design. Rather than saying carbon is to blame, it should be recognized that carbon based technology may actually help us beat our dependency on fossil fuels (the burning of which releases carbon dioxide).
We cannot innovate and tackle the problems of global warming without using carbon based technology. It is important to make these distinctions clear to children. We should also do more to make the media avoid sound bites that are misleading our children. It is the battle of the teacher, it seems, to correct the erroneous views that children pick up from watching the TV.
Above, is a kids Youtube video that is funny but has the basic facts right. Although the phrase ’global warming’ is said too often and somewhat ominously.Tags: carbon emissions, misnomer, teaching children