Brits Go All 1984 On Us

MaxPower July 29th, 2008

British Utility nPower sponsors the “Climate Cops” a cartoon website aimed at children encouraging them to ensure that “climate crimes” such as using the dryer, putting hot food in the fridge and leaving the TV on do not go unpunished. I first read about this on a European blog, followed up here.

The Climate Cops website offers a bundle of downloads, including a pack of climate crime cards, urging its recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, inviting each of them to build up a “climate crime case file” in order to help them ensure their putative criminals do not “commit those crimes again (or else)!”

Or else huh… Or else what?

If you click on the above “climate card” link you’ll find catchy slogans which kids can emulate including “Leaving a mobile phone charger plugged in… come on, we all know that’s a sin” and “Boiling a kettle full of water for one cup of tea… is such a waste of energy I most certainly agree”.

The Climate Cops website also has a couple of games which encourage kids to “stop the waster, an energy wasting criminal. He knows you’re after him and he’s throwing all his energy wasting junk onto the road to try to stop you”.

I don’t think I need to juxtapose this concept with this quote, but I will, just to beat the concept over the head a bit.

“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible… All [the children’s] ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed by in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak – ‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used – had overheard some compromsing remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.” George Orwell, 1984

Obviously this “Climate Cops” advertising campaign is just an extremely poorly thought out piece of green PR, but given the facts that 1) nPower uses the words criminal and crime too many times for my liking for activities which are not crimes in any rational understanding of the word and 2) actively encourages children to “spy” on family and friends is a bit much for me.

Plus everyone knows the best reason to shut off lights and go without aircon during the summer is to save money, not to avoid being sent to the nPower Gulag (which in this universe is actually the “Climate Cop Teachers Zone” which tells us that “The programme aims to engage and excite children and show them how they can be heroes in tackling the causes of climate change” which is of course, dad falling asleep watching TV).