Environmental guide is geared to young ears


December 11, 1990|By Steve McKerrow

Leave it to kids to articulate concepts simply. It would be hard to disagree with the sentiment of a little girl who says, "I had this dream that I was cleaning up the environment -- and everybody was helping me."

The girl is one of a number of youngsters who speak clearly as part of "Earth to Kids: A Guide for a Healthy Planet," a documentary which premieres at 8 tonight on HBO's premium cable service. And like a previous HBO show last year which tipped children off to some deceptive advertising techniques, this show (produced with Consumer Reports Television) is another good basic guide to sensitive shopping.

In this case, the principal message is to pay attention to packaging. As host Jim Fyfe urges, "By making good choices every day we can make less of a mess."

He starts with breakfast buying. Do you get one big box of cereal or one of those 10-selection packs with small boxes? How about pancake batter dispensed from plastic jars or old-fashioned powder mixes in boxes? The obvious answer is to choose products with the least packaging.

A mix of techniques includes skits, such as the talking sandwich that decries plastic wrap and foam boxes or the careless One Timers (they use disposable pens, razors and the like), an informative lecture on landfills by Erika, age 8, and even some song-and-dance (as two teens illustrate the evils of non-rechargeable batteries).

While the content is in simple language for young ears, adults may find a pretty straightforward presentation of easy, useful things we all can do to minimize waste.

* tTC

MARYLAND IN PROFILE -- Imagine that! A documentary about Maryland's Eastern Shore which doesn't wax overly lyrical about billowing skipjack sails and the rugged traditions of the weather-blown waterman. Instead, "The Lower Shore -- A Fight for the Future," at 10:30 tonight on Maryland Public Television, reported by Sue Kopen, provides a thorough examination of the changing economies of Worcester and Somerset counties.

The Chesapeake Bay harvesting past is here but in the context of an industry that has seen better times and can no longer support the area's economy. The departure of industries such as Campbell Soup have reduced job opportunities, too, and many young people do not see themselves staying in the area.

Among the solutions explored are increasing tourism, including a proposal to make the scenic Pocomoke River a national park, and the further development of aquaculture.

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