When she came over to the United Nations in New York, teen global warming sensation Greta Thunberg took a carbon-neutral boat because she has issues flying due to the pollution.
The long voyage got plenty of coverage, but there was one issue: Thanks to the fact that it was arranged on short notice, a crew had to be flown across the ocean in order to get the ship back. Carbon offsets were bought in order to neutralize the pollution that taking the jet caused, but that’s the thing: They could have just bought the offsets in the first place and had Thunberg travel by plane.
In short, by trying to protect the environment, they made little practical difference and ended up looking like hypocrites.
I’m not sure whether or not Jonathan Mason is a fan of Greta’s. He conceivably seems the type. Mason is headteacher at a primary school in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in the United Kingdom. (To translate that into American, that means he’s principal of an elementary school.)
Apparently, there are a few Greta-ites who attend Mason’s place of employ, the Belton Lane Primary School. (Or more likely, there are a few children whose parents are Greta-ites.)
According to Sky News, some children told Mason they were worried about the impact that Christmas cards might have on the environment.
Well, Mason is nothing less than receptive to saving the environment. He decided that Christmas cards were canceled — and he made sure that the parents at his school were informed in all due haste. However, if he’s a fan of conspicuous environmentalism, self-awareness isn’t quite his bag.
When it came to a medium to inform parents of his decision, he chose a letter — as in, the old-fashioned type, printed on paper.
“I have been approached by a number of children recently who are concerned about the impact of sending Christmas cards on the environment,” he wrote in the missive.
“Throughout the world we send enough Christmas cards that if we placed them alongside each other, they’d cover the world’s circumference 500 times.
“The manufacture of Christmas cards is contributing to our ever-growing carbon emissions,” he continued.
“So in order to be environmentally friendly in school we will not be having a post box for Christmas cards from this year onwards.”
But there’s a way for the kids to live out the holiday spirit: “Instead, can we encourage you to save money and the environment by not sending cards to all of the children in a class individually but instead, if you want to send a card please send one card to the whole class,” the letter read.
“Teachers can then display the cards in the classroom for everyone to see.”
This letter went out to the parents of 275 kids. It’s almost as if the tone-deafness here was intentional, as if this were a deliberate attempt to quash a holiday tradition and the Christmas spirit while also helping to obviate any benefits.
Parents were unimpressed, accusing Mason of “rank hypocrisy” for canceling an age-old tradition.
”I know quite a few parents who are upset about this,” one parent told the U.K. Daily Mail.
“Why should children have the joy of taken out of Christmas? Why can’t all these cards be recycled anyway? And I buy a lot of Christmas cards for charity.
“Where is all the Christmas spirit in this?” the parent added. “It’s great to see them come out of school with their cards and a smile on their faces. It’s a Christmas tradition they have had for a long time and now they are taking it away.
“I know we have to protect the environment, but these are a few Christmas cards once a year and to be told about this on a piece of paper seems contradictory.“
“Telling people to stop sending cards in a letter sent out to hundreds of kids stinks of rank hypocrisy,” another said
“I hope parents boycott these Grinch-like plans and keep this tradition alive by sending lots of cards to their little pals.
“They are mostly recyclable anyway. I agree that environmental issues are important but I don’t see recyclable Christmas cards as a massive contributor to these problems.”
Mason didn’t issue a comment to either the Daily Mail or Sky News, presumably because he was having it printed out in triplicate for every member of the newsrooms there.
If this was just about killing Christmas spirit, that would be bad enough. That wasn’t all, though. Mason decided to do this through the one medium it ought to have been clear he shouldn’t have used.
Christmas cards are beyond negligible when it comes to their environmental impact. Mason apparently hasn’t been granted the common sense to know this — or to figure out how he could have saved paper on his own.
It’s just like the parable of Greta and the boat.
While Mason may not have gotten the same kind of attention that a hypocritical, pig-tailed former Nobel Peace Prize frontrunner received, he got enough of it that, one hopes, he’ll reconsider the Grinch-like ban.
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