Environmental protests of an eleven-year-old

The idea of exploiting children for environmental activism has been around long before Greta Thunberg, who, in Sweden at age fifteen, became the face of "climate change."

I first became an environmental activist at the age of eleven, thanks to the encouragement of my sixth-grade teacher.  Our class indoctrination began with the fabricated crisis of the day, the "Population Bomb."  The book of the same name was written by Paul Ehrlich.

Back in 1970, Ehrlich was venerated.  His famous book forecasted that the Earth's population would overtake its resources and the '70s and '80s would see worldwide famine and other disasters.  Of course, this terrifying prediction did not come to pass, and his theory was proven incredibly wrong.  In spite of this, Ehrlich is still revered by "enlightened" alarmists, convinced that man's very existence on Earth is the most threatening problem facing us today.

Not only were billions of people going to starve from overpopulating the planet they so unfairly occupied, but the use of certain chemicals that man needed to clean his clothes was going to destroy the very source of food that was increasingly in short supply.  Yes, phosphates added to popular laundry detergents were toxic to the globe.  According to our teacher, phosphates were perhaps an even greater danger to our survival, and we had to do something to stop it! 

How eleven-year-old children could stop the use of phosphates was something our teacher apparently didn't think through; nonetheless, we were given the option one day of leaving school early to attend a demonstration on the matter or staying in class and doing nothing for the cause.  We chose the former.

The class gathered at the site of the insidious origin of the phosphate crisis: our local supermarket.  I had the advantage of living two blocks from the store, a "Waldbaum's" supermarket, where I shopped for the family groceries for my mother as part of my household chores.  The founder of the food chain, Mrs. Waldbaum, was a kind old lady whom I knew quite well.  She greeted every shopper upon entry and exit with her welcoming smile and kind words.  She remained active in the business despite her advanced years, and everyone liked her. 

Our teacher led the demonstration/boycott outside my neighborhood Waldbaum's and handed out signs.  As we marched outside the store, news cameras arrived at the scene.  Our teacher had arranged for a Channel 7 Eyewitness News Team to record the events.  We would all be on the six o'clock news!  How exciting!

My fellow students and I were also fairly vocal, having been given catchy slogans to scream out in our youthful, earsplitting voices!  Mrs. Waldbaum abandoned her perch at the storefront and approached our teacher.  "Why are you doing this to my store?!" she asked, adding, "I have no control of what the manufacturer puts in their products!  Why don't you protest outside their plant?!"

To this, our teacher calmly replied that it was much easier to protest here rather than having to take the class to New Jersey.  Mrs. Waldbaum was livid.  "What?  You are punishing me because it's convenient?!"

The cops soon arrived and agreed with the wise old Mrs. Waldbaum.  Our class demonstration was indeed illegal, the policeman admonished.  We were ordered to leave immediately.  Mrs. Waldbaum kindly said goodbye to all the children as we quietly left the premises.

Phosphates were eventually removed from detergents by most manufacturers in the U.S., although the benefit to the environment is debatable.  This is because phosphates make cleaning products more efficient, and they are not directly toxic to the environment.  It has been alleged that they cause an overgrowth of algae in rivers and lakes.  Without their use, our clothes and laundry wastewater are dirtier.

Unfortunately, you still get a large amount of phosphates in commercial food products, which are directly toxic to your body.  No protest or movement has been started calling for their removal from what we eat.

Image: Xomiele.

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