The books are part of Nickelodeon’s “Big Green Help Series,” a campaign launched by the network in order to teach children to help protect the Earth.
As noted by CNS News, however, one of the books takes a particularly controversial position, purporting not only that global warming exists, but that it is in fact a man-made phenomenon, and can only be solved if humans change their behavior:
SpongeBob Goes Green! An Earth-Friendly Adventure tells the story of SpongeBob’s friend, Krusty Krab, who builds a swimming pool. Mr. Krab is frustrated that it is not hot enough to attract paying customers to his new swimming pool and decides that the exhaust from boats and cars could solve his dilemma.
Mr. Krab says: “I’m just pumpin’ a wee bit of carbon dioxide into the air. It’ll warm up the temperature and bring on an endless summer! People will want to use my new pool all year long.”
To help with his cause, SpongeBob and his friend Patrick set stacks of tires on fire.
When Spongebob’s friend Sandy Cheeks uncovers the pool plot, she informs her friends that they are “messin’ with Mother Nature” and “bringin’ on global warming,” prompting Spongebob to inquire about what global warming is. Sandy responds:
Ya see, Earth has these gases called greenhouse gases. They’re in the atmosphere to keep the temperature of the planet just right. Carbon Dioxide is one of those gases. But when we make more greenhouse gases than the planet needs naturally, like you’ve been burnin’ tires and fuel, it locks the heat in the atmosphere. That makes the planet hotter than it should be. That’s global warming. And that’s not good.
The book concludes with Mr. Krab’s pool water boiling away as a result of global warming. However, residents of Spongebob’s hometown, including Mr. Krab, manage to control the global warming by planting trees, riding bikes (instead of driving cars), and unplugging unused appliances.
The Blaze observes:
This story is not an isolated incident. On Nickelodeon’s “Big Green Help” web site, one can find videos in which the network encourages young people to “stop global warming.” While some will likely support the U.S. Department of Education’s distribution of the book, others will take issue.
CNS News notes the implausibility of the Spongebob Goes Green book, as the author does not “explain how a pool is built underwater, how vehicles submerged in the ocean can produce exhaust, or how tires burn and send smoke into the air from the bottom of the sea.
But many are not as disturbed by the book's unlikely plot as they are by the political agenda it advocates.
Likewise, in another book given to the children, Dora Celebrates Earth Day!, Dora the Explorer informs her readers that they can save the Earth by doing a number of things:
My [Dora's] abuela [grandmother] is careful about saving energy too. When’s she’s cooking or preparing food she always decides what she wants to get before opening the refrigerator door.
We can also turn off lights during the day.
If you have water left in your drinking glass, you can use it to water your house plants.
Other books in the “green series” include Blue’s Clues Watch Me Grow! Blue Plants a Seed, and Wonder Pets! Save the Tree.
“As part of the 'Let’s Read! Let’s Move!' series, the Department of Education has invited Cabinet members, administration officials, and other public figures to join in reading children’s books, promoting healthy lifestyles, and participating in games and fitness activities with children in pre-kindergarten through third grade,” according to a DOE press release.