I’m all for saving the environment and forestalling global warming, and if appealing to people’s fuzzy feelings for animals can help raise money for such causes, well, I suppose that’s all right. But World Wildlife Fund’s TV campaign reeks of so much treacle it makes me want to club a polar bear cub to death.
The tone is borrowed from those mawkish ads urging us to save unwanted pets from the shelter knife (thank you, Alyssa Milano), which in turn descend from Sally Struthers imploring us back in the ’80s to Feed the Children. So there’s nothing new about this kind of appeal.
But there is something bothersome about such excessive mushiness marshaled for a cause that concerns saving civilization from real threats. Without meaning to, it gives science a bad name. More precisely, it demeans humanity’s capability for rational thought and scientific progress, in favor of blowsy sentiment and whiny emotionalism.
Could it be that WWF is right? That that’s all we deserve? That there’s no other way to make us sit up and notice what’s going on?