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Oz broadcaster goes the whole hog on eco guilt-tripping

For years, Australian intransigence towards the Kyoto Protocol and its foot-dragging on domestic greenhouse gas reduction commitments has been the subject of derision by the international community. But the drought and flood-ravaged country may now be working too hard to be deep green and shed its dirty image with a snazzy new carbon footprint calculator aimed at kids.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) new Planet Slayer website invites young children to take a greenhouse gas quiz in order for them to learn ‘how big a pig’ they are. At the end of the quiz, a cartoon pig explodes in a bloody mess and children are told what age they should die so that they ‘don’t use more than their fair share of Earth’s resources’. Accepting the default choices in the quiz results in a message that tells kids they should die when they are nine years old – allegedly the target age group for the website.

The Planet Slayer website also includes other animated features including a cartoon series featuring ‘Greena the Worrier Princess’ – a clichéd, humourless, vegan, eco-chic activist fighting the evil forces of loggers, the meat industry and farmers who use GM crops.

Another cartoon feature, ‘This Is Your Lifestyle’, offers lifestyle assessments for kids to find out ‘how much you suck’ and ‘what a drain you are on the planet’. Senator Fifield in the Herald Sun criticized the site: ‘I know there's a little bit of goth in all of us, but this might be taking it just a little too far.’ Er, d’ya think?

Take the quiz yourselves before it gets pulled down, and let us know ‘how much you suck’.


New Internationalist issue 413 magazine cover This article is from the July 2008 issue of New Internationalist.
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