Kill Your Television

As I write this I can just hear them now…

“Oh no, here he goes again… another environmental-political-opinionated post!”

The truth is, Stevie and I are becoming increasingly concerned with the state of the world and the seemingly insurmountable problems we face, for example, climate change. There is also a nagging frustration that it seems as if a lot of people are in denial about what’s going on. I asked myself, “Why is this?”

I’m sure we could all come up with many reasons, and below are two which I consider highly probable.

1) People are distracted by the western culture of consumerism, driven through media, which is primarily spoon fed through television.

2) The critical thinking skills of a large portion of the population are being retarded by ideology, religion, lack of education, and the sensationalized soundbites and fact-free opinions proliferated in the mainstream media.

A prime example of these two things coming together is the belief that climate change isn’t real, or isn’t a real threat. I’ve had several social media debates on this topic recently, and, frankly, it’s mind boggling to witness the level of ignorance, and, worse yet, apathy on this topic. Furthermore, I find it appalling that climate change isn’t part of the national conversation this election season.

Having said that, I want to be constructive. I really do believe that our populace is being dumbed down by the media. And so, here is a blog post that encourages a path to awareness by following two simple steps. If you want to debate this topic on facebook or in any other medium, I’m more than happy to do so, but please complete these two steps first.

 

1) Turn off your TV for 30 days

Make the commitment to go 1 full month without watching any television. I promise it won’t kill you.

Why would you do this? Because TV is crap. There are only 3 things you get from television:

1) You get Lies – I don’t care whether you’re watching FOX News or MSNBC, at best it’s sensationalized entertainment and at worst it’s flat out lies.

2) You get Dumb – By tuning in to your favorite TV shows every week, you’re simply being dumbed down. It’s a way to control you, and it moves you into a state of retardation and desensitization.

3) You get Sold Shit – Every message on TV is designed to sell you something, whether it’s the American Dream of debt and consumerism or some bullshit ideology designed to keep you in line and keep you stupid.

If these 3 reasons don’t compel you, read the facts about TV at the bottom of this post.

In a nutshell, the reason you should do this is because it may well be the most powerful thing you CAN do to build awareness. And let’s face it, the world really needs a lot more of that right now.

“As you become able to pull back out of the immersion in the TV set, you can widen your perceptual environment to again include the room you are in.

Your feelings and personal awareness are rekindled. With self-awareness emerging you can perceive the quality of sensory deadness television induces, the one-dimensionality of its narrowed information field…”  — Jerry Mander

 

So, without TV you’ll probably have a lot of extra time. Try this…

2) Watch this FREE 3 hour video on Global Warming

Yes, I understand it’s ironic that I’m asking you to give up TV, then turning around and asking you to watch a video. Please bear with me. It’s free on youtube. Click here…

Note:  This program is broken into 23 videos, each a little over 10 minutes long. This makes it easy to watch short sections at a time. You can do it! Invite your kids to watch it. And your spouse or significant other. The more the better.

If you’re thinking this is a really long and boring video on science, keep in mind that the average American spends around 112 hours a month watching crap on TV. And before you say one of the following…

I already believe in climate change, I don’t need to be convinced’

or

I don’t believe in climate change, I don’t need to be convinced’

…let me tell you this. Whether you believe it or not, you should watch this video. This informative video debunks BOTH sides of the issue and boils it down to pure science. All facts and sources are transparent and checked. Whether you believe or not, we have to reach a point where we can discuss this issue based on REAL FACTS, not the propaganda and lies that we hear from both sides of the debate in the mainstream media. And. most importantly, we need to understand the urgency of this issue.

So please, kill your television and watch the video.  🙂

-TREE

“American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV.”    — The Kaiser Family Foundation

 

“You watch television to turn your brain off…”   — Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar, in Macworld Magazine, February 2004

 

“Everybody’s got values . . . The thing that frightens me is the way that an eroding public school system . . . and television on all over the place is leading to a steady dumbing down of the American public and a corrosion of basic critical thinking in the population.”  — Jamie Raskin, American University law professor

 

Television Facts:

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year).

I. FAMILY LIFE

Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99

Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24

Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66

Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes

Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66

Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion

Value of that time assuming an average wage of S5/hour: S1.25 trillion

Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56

Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million

Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million

Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49

II CHILDREN

Approximate number of studies examining TV’s effects on children: 4,000

Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5

Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680

Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70

Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73

Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54

Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours

Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500

III. VIOLENCE

Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000

Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000

Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79

IV. COMMERCIALISM

Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000

Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million

Percentage of survey participants who said that TV commercials aimed at children make them too materialistic: 92

Rank of food products/fast-food restaurants among TV advertisements to kids: 1

Total spending by 100 leading TV advertisers: $15 billion

V. GENERAL

Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30

Percentage devoted to stories about crime, disaster and war: 53.8

Percentage devoted to public service announcements: 0.7

Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59

Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: 17

-Compiled by TV-Free America

 

 

Comments

  1. Wow….. the tv facts are shocking. Haven’t owned one in years. Like 20! FYI, I get my news through internet media sites, so regularly click through CNN, Guardian, BBC etc. Fascinating how on UK news, global warming/environmental issues are covered on a DAILY basis. Rarely in the US… I’ll watch the vids, thanks!

    • Hi Lorraine,
      Yeah, it’s crazy how climate change isn’t even being discussed this election season. What’s it gonna take?
      Enjoy the video.

  2. Yeah- splurged for cable- first time in ten years.. Still pretty much dvr specific sporting events to watch at a later date.. plus it is cool to fast forward through all the crap they are trying to sell you lol. Yeah.. will be ditching it again soon. Nothing on.. lol

    • Hey bud,
      DVR is great. Allows you to skip all the advertisements! I actually do believe there are good things on TV, but most people don’t watch them. The TV stats pretty much say it all. We’re a lost society.

  3. Thx for the links; I’ll check them out. We had a HUGE TV gifted to us that’s never been hooked up. I HATE TV and I try not to hate, but I hate it. I think it’s the bane of our society. Global warming aside it’s certainly a contributing factor to the decline in our nations health, mental and physical. Imagine if every parent spent 1,680 minutes each week cooking with their child? Or if every family spent 6 hours and 47 minutes a day planting their own garden, reading together or learning a new skill? Imagine if every family had someone who knew how to cook and spent time preparing wholesome meals to be eaten together? Imagine the conversations that would ensue.

    Global warming is a huge issue that effects everyone, but equally tragic is the massive and rapid erosion of topsoil around the world, the demise of biodiversity and the dessimation of our bee colonies. The unfortunate reality is that there are solutions, but we’re seemingly more interested in Top Chef than actually engaging in reality.
    Yay to you two for taking a stand. TV is robbing us of our sense of humanity.

  4. I love this post! Sprinter Life’s blogs are always very informative and helpful. We’ve been turned into mind-controlled slaves, though this is what we’ve chosen. But….if we kill our T.V. shouldn’t we kill our computers?

    I always love your posts on environmental issues and humanity; what are your views on vegetarianism? Because for me, eating meat and caring for the environment or humanity is an oxymoron, especially in these times when we have so much information about why eating meat not only destroys the environment and resources but also contributes HUGELY to the hunger problem in the world. Maybe “They” have been expert at keeping us unaware of the harm we are causing by seeking a little taste of meat on our tongue.

    • >>>what are your views on vegetarianism?

      Hey Timothy,
      We have developing, strong views about it and completely agree with you. We’ve add several pieces of content pertaining to the topic to our awareness page over the last several months. We’re eating about 70-80% vegan now and working our way to 100%.

  5. Love following your blog-you both inspire me. We just disconnected the TV yesterday and took back the equipment to Comcast-couldn’t believe they were willing to reduce our bill to 1/3 of what it was to keep us on board-thanks but no thanks..I’m with you and turning my brain back on !

  6. Tree,
    I agree, TV is eroding the whole family dynamic and I HATE It.
    Whatever happened to talking to your kids about how their day went and reading together? Sitting down to a meal together ??
    I really try to read at least one book a week myself and two–four books with my nieces every week .
    There are many weeks I fall short of this but. the weeks I fall short I feel as if they have been “dumbed down” not only by TV but all the misinformation they are spoon fed. as Tree puts it .
    The statistic that really blows me away is the amount of meaningful conversation that parents spent with their kids how sad. It’s no wonder our society is imploding!!
    Where is a kid supposed to get quality, thought provoking information if not from their parents?
    Thats one of the biggest problems …Too many sprem/egg donors and not enough parents!!

  7. Excellent.

  8. Ignorance is the main reason people do not believe the facts about global warming. And….Republicans contribute to that body of stupidity by constantly rejecting the scientific evidence that supports this facts.

    ben

  9. Seems that Fox News and the current Republican Party have a problem with reality and truth. I feel a bit sorry for them as they stagger confused through life.

    • Did you see the latest? Now they are denying the validity of polls just because Mitt is losing. The can spin anything. It’s mind boggling!

  10. Terry Buchanan says:

    Just turned my cable off last month for the first time in my life!! I was thinking about it for a year solid before I pulled the trigger. Soooo hard at first, totally out of my routine and didn’t know what to do with myself. BUT now I don’t even miss it! Funny how my thinking has changed since it’s not polluted with all the b.s. on t.v. Seriously.

  11. Television? What’s that?

  12. I agree. TV is a black hole of time. Life does not give refunds on the time lost. I can appreciate the mindless time in front of the tube, but without it as a distraction the mind can reactivate and the time can be spent being productive. Productive can even just be time to have meditative thoughts and introspection. Keep up the mindful posts and hopefully I’ll see you on the road soon:)

  13. Roseann Hanson says:

    We killed ours a long time ago and never missed it. Haven’t owned one for over 16 years . . . when we go somewhere with a TV it’s like watching an accident scene.

  14. Good post Tree. Thank you.

  15. Right on Tree, I couldn’t agree with you more.To deny global warming IS like believing the world is flat. Kill Fox News then your TV.
    Jim in Oregon

  16. Awesome post guys. Thanks for writing. Promise to watch the video as soon as the internet is fast enough 🙂

  17. Hey Tree….Catching up on the blog here. Stellar post. I’m going to take your invitation to watch the video. As for tv, left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have one. Hadn’t had one in years until I moved home to Maine….and while livin’ at my pops, the tv was upstairs and I was down, so I probably watched a total of 15 hours in a year. It just.plain.bores.me. Now I live with someone who has always lived with the tv on. It’s taken some serious getting used to. I thought I could watch it “objectively,” but the truth is that the messages crawl under my skin each time I sit before the glowing talky box. The ultra omnipresent violence f’s with my head- causing irrational nightmares and stranger fear in a tiny town where people actually sleep with their doors open and leave their keys in the ignition of their cars. TV begets FEAR, fear of violence, fear of not having or not being enough- engendered by the ads that promise fulfillment and contentment and “wholeness,” if you would just purchase this one thing. I hate it. But I’m caught in a difficult situation, so I doubt the death of our television will happen anytime soon. :I

  18. Anonymous says:

    Catching up on some historical posts… Love this one about time wasted on TV. When the time comes, check out Waldorf schools for Sol. They have a no-media policy for elementary students. Instead kids paint, read, knit, go on nature hikes, climb trees, play music, run round, swing, dig, explore, discover, THINK. What a difference we’ve found in the whole school experience when all the homes commit to being screen-free. The parents are all pretty cool too…;)

    Swimming upstream in Nashville, TN

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