The segment started with CBS News correspondent and host of the show Jamie Yuccas describing unsafe living conditions in many cities across the United States.
“What do these cities have in common?” Yuccas asked. “They’re all examples of environmental racism, a form of systemic racism where minority and low-income communities are surrounded by health hazards because they live near sewage, mines, landfills, power stations, [and] major roads.”
The Nick News program deliberately addresses a younger audience and encourages different social or political issues in a way that children can understand them, though critics of the Earth Day special were prompt to describe it as indoctrination.
“Nick News: Kids and the Impact of Climate Change continues the important work of giving kids a platform to tell their stories,” said Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, Vice President of News Programming, Nickelodeon and Executive Producer of Nick News. “As we approach another Earth Day, Nick News delves into incredibly timely topics, including the often not addressed issue of environmental racism, sustainability and the global impact of the Paris Climate Agreement; offering an engaging co-viewing opportunity that will serve as a conversation starter for families across the U.S.”
“The program will further explore ‘environmental racism’ introducing viewers to communities that are being besieged by industries that target underserved areas, typically populated by minorities, bringing employment opportunities that often harm the environment and cause health issues for residents. The segment will include the stories of: Fionia Carlton, a former resident of Duplin County, NC, who had to relocate because she could no longer breathe the contaminated air; Naelyn Pike, an Apache activist from San Carlos, AZ, protecting her tribal land; and Sabirah Mahmud, who lives in a polluted section of Philadelphia, PA.” the company explained.
“Additional segments in the special include: a roundtable where kids educate their parents on environmental issues and ways they can make more eco-friendly choices; a lesson on what the Paris Climate Agreement is and explanation of terms like carbon footprint and greenhouse gases; and the results of a climate quiz about environmental issues conducted on www.nickplay.com, presented by guest kid reporter Rory Hu.”
After backlash, Nickelodeon disabled the ability for Twitter users to leave comments on its post.
Last year, Nickelodeon aired a segment devoted to “Kids, Race, and Unity,” where founders of the Black Lives Matter movement took questions from children and instructed families to have “constructive conversations about race and inclusivity.”
Nickelodeon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.