The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico is calling for a new tax on televisions and videogames, which will be used to fund outdoor education programs.
The group is seeking the implementation of a 1 percent levy on game consoles and televisions, which it says will raise $4 million per year that could go toward the "Leave No Child Inside" initiative. Studies have linked videogames and television with poor academic performance and increased rates of obesity and attention-deficit disorder, according to a report in the Huffington Post, while a study funded by the Sierra Club, which also initiated the tax plan, determined that one week of outdoor education offered the same "beneficial impact" as six weeks of classroom time.
Michael Casaus, the New Mexico youth representative of the Sierra Club, said, "We believe it is such a nominal tax that consumers won't feel it too much, especially if they are educated about where that money goes." According to the State Parks agency, 80 percent of students in New Mexico live within a half-hour of a state park, but less than 10 percent have ever actually visited one. Health and education reports indicate that students in the state lag behind others in most academic areas, while obesity is an increasing problem.
More than 40 organizations in the state have asked for increased outdoor education, according to Casaus, including Santa Fe and Beranlillo counties, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the New Mexico Science Teachers Association.