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CBC Kids News has published an article in favour of Canadian teens embarking on a hunger strike. The hunger strike was scheduled to start on Sunday; its purpose is to protest the now-cancelled Teck mine project in Alberta. The article details famous, historical hunger strikers, their achievements, and what happens to the body when it is denied food.
The fact that CBC decided to cover a hunger strike involving the participation of children is irresponsible to say the least. That this was promoted on their children’s news platform makes it even worse. Teens are already at higher risk than adults for eating disorders, which are typically about a person wanting to take control over their bodies when they feel they have no control over anything else. This hunger strike is in service to something teens absolutely have no control over, energy policy.
It’s absolutely unconscionable to advocate for children to starve themselves to get the government to change its energy policy. And it is absurd to expect the government to change its energy agenda based on this kind of advocacy. The teens are basically taking themselves hostage, holding their breath until they get their way.
Twitter users were quick to point out how irresponsible and dangerous this article is.
It’s been a few years now that people are so freaked out by climate change that they’re willing to sacrifice their children. But while pundits and armchair climate activists may advocate for the Greta Thunbergs of the world to give up their futures in service to environmental activism, parents are not so sure.
In fact, the article on CBC Kids News had to be amended to account for a parent’s concern. One of the students who intends to participate in the hunger strike was noted to have the support of his mom. However, after the article was published, his mother wrote to say that “she is extremely worried about her son going on a hunger strike and, ‘even more disappointed that young adults feel they need to engage in self harm to be heard by the media and government on this issue.’”
She’s right to be concerned. As a matter of fact, all Canadian parents should be concerned. CBC has crossed a line by promoting unhealthy behaviour directly to young people. They should be ashamed of themselves.