On April 27, TheOrangeCountyRegisterpublished a letter from Don Hull, who was outraged by a recent article describing the creation of a miniature version of the Bolsa Chica wetlands in the dilapidated atrium of Hope View Elementary School. Hull accused government schools of "brainwashing" students and complained, "First-graders are being taught about 'wetlands,' something they have no concept of nor any use for at the age of 6 or 7." He continued, "First-graders should be learning reading, writing and math, not radical environmentalism and not hatred of people who 'try to build houses.'"
Hull's concern about the elementary school curriculum may be premature. Although developers and environmentalists have fought a lengthy battle over the fate of the real Bolsa Chica wetlands, the Coastal Commission recently approved building 349 homes on the area's upper mesa. With the health of Bolsa Chica's wetlands now threatened by development and urban runoff—and with more than 90 percent of California's other wetlands already destroyed—students may soon onlyget to experience wetlands in dilapidated atriums and history books, leaving more time for the abecedarian topics of reading, writing, math and Marxist theory.
Hull's anxiety over student environmental radicalism may be less exaggerated. A review of topics introduced to students—outlined in a Registersidebar—revealed that "pollution can kill birds," "brown pelicans live by the ocean," and "egrets are pretty and white." Radical notions just as easily espoused by Earth Firsters! This insidious indoctrination of our youth could eventually lead to the decidedly un-American view that wetlands—which are important to water quality, aid groundwater recharge and control erosion and flooding—are good, while people who "try to build houses" on them are bad. Very bad.
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Perhaps the hyperbolic Hull should not be surprised that our children are being introduced to the tenets of radical environmentalism. At a recent Earth Day celebration, our country's most unrepentant environmentalist—President George W. Bush—told small-business owners that Americans "have a duty and obligation to protect our environment," and promoted an initiative to "restore, improve and protect" three million acres of wetlands over a five-year period. Of course, he also once claimed global warming "needs to be taken very seriously," pledged to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and accused those wanting to build in and exploit the Arctic Wildlife Refuge as bad. Very bad.