NEW YORK—Under heavy pressure from safety-conscious parents groups around the world, the U.N. General Assembly approved a plan yesterday to make the earth child-safe by the year 2000.
Renamed the Sportin' Kids Family Fun Play Globe, the planet will be biologically and topographically overhauled to provide youngsters worldwide with a safe, unimposing, family-oriented environment full of colorful, round-edged objects and plush items.
"This," said U.N. spokesperson Mayta Ghalili, "is the start of a newer, softer planet."
The U.N. resolution was the result of thousands of phone calls from worried parents concerned about child safety hazards lurking in the earth's widely varying terrain and ecosystems.
"I've been complaining about Nepal for years," said Sandy Haberman, president of the Arlington Heights, IL, Fearful Parents Association. "Have you seen that country? Those mountains there are just an accident waiting to happen."
To help increase kids' awareness of the potential dangers of mountains like Nepal's Everest, James Brown recently recorded a new promotional safety song, "Get Down Offa That Thing! (You Could Fall and Hurt Yourself)."
The massive overhaul of the earth's surface involves several major steps: First, all topography will be evened out to a height of two feet above sea level. Lakes and rivers, long known for their fast currents and dangerous bacteria, will be drained, paved and covered in shag carpeting. Hazardous animals like alligators and tigers will have their sharp teeth replaced with soft, non-toxic, extra-large "fun foam" cushions.
"Whoever made those tigers sure wasn't a parent, that's for sure," said Laurie Tollner, 35, a St. Louis-area tollbooth operator and concerned mother of three. "Why, I'd hate to see what Prevention magazine would give them."
All cavernous terrain that is impossible to level, such as canyons and gulches, will be filled in with an enormous mass of multi-colored soft plastic balls into which children may wriggle and frolic.
"Children who have previously run in terror from the Grand Canyon's dizzying chasm can now embrace its new family fun atmosphere, and perhaps even enjoy a pizza party," said Frank Geerske, a high-ranking U.S. Parks Department official. "We're fully confident that with the changes we've made, when it comes to fun for kids, the Grand Canyon will never again be the Bland Canyon."
Oceans will be drained, with approximately one foot of water left for a wading pool. "Sonar reveals that there are great chasms in the ocean floor too," Geerske said. "We will fill these holes with countries that children find boring, like Greenland and Belgium."
Beyond the replacement of claws and teeth with foam appendages, the question of what to do with predatory animals remains in question. The U.N. General Assembly agreed that sharks and wolves are "scary" and could be made extinct and replaced with Beanie Babies. But diplomats disagreed over the fate of animals classified as both dangerous and cute, such as lions and black bears.
"We'll most likely use genetic engineering techniques to keep these animals in their early or "cub/puppy/kitten" stages of development," Ghalili said. "That way they will retain their cuteness quotient without any possibility of mauling anyone."