America Needs Movement Toward the Metric System and You Can Help

October 6, 2013 begins Nation Metric Week as recognized by the Nation Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (Yes, an organization of math teachers thinks we should be metric. And they have good reason to do so.)

Just note the convoluted relationships between our current system versus metric units (abbreviated SI from French: Le Système international d’unités to the rest of the world) per factfeed.me.

We use convoluted measures that were not designed to interrelate to each other, unlike the metric system..

We use convoluted measures that were not designed to interrelate to each other, unlike the metric system.

How can people continue to think our U.S. customary units are a good idea? Of course, we don’t actually use imperial units in this country as the graphic might imply. Sure, we brought them over with us but  then futzed with them so in total  they no longer perfectly align with any other country in the world.

reddit’s helps spur interest in our lack of metric adoption

Peter, a friend of the project, recently became moderator of the metric board on reddit.

For those of you not familiar with reddit, it defines itself (in its FAQs) as:

reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web.

Users like you provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good and what’s junk.

Links that receive community approval bubble up towards #1, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links.

The readers of reddit are a wonderful source of interest in my blog and project (though people actively searching in Google for answers about the U.S.’s lack of metric adoption outstrip everything else).

Not too long ago, he posted a piece about our need to talk metrication outside of the site and made some very concrete suggestions. The intro goes as follows:

If America is to complete its transition to the metric system we need to convince people that it is to their advantage (or to their children’s).

To do this we will need to do more than give upvotes to posts we like on Reddit. We need to reach out to the general public and show them that the metric system makes sense, and that America should adopt it for domestic use in the same way that it has been adopted by science, the medical industry, a lot of manufacturing industry, the armed forces, international athletics and almost every other country around the world.

I was pleasantly surprised two weeks ago when Redditors read a post I had made about a writer criticising the metric system, followed the link and posted comments on his blog. This is the sort of thing we need to do to improve the mostly negative image it as among the general community.

What follows is a proposed list of actions people can follow to help move metrication in the U.S. forward (I’ll admit upfront that my project is mentioned in his list).

Additional comments (110 as of this writing) yield even more ideas and perspectives. Take a look.

Let’s expand reddit’s reach when it comes to metrication

Currently, about six percent of online adults are reddit users according to a recent Pew Research Center study, and most of them are young males.

Current reddit users

Current reddit users per the Pew Research Center

Of course, it doesn’t have to stay that way and you can join in the conversation regardless of your age, sex or other demographic background. Let’s get the discussion of our lack of metric adoption back on the table after a pitiful 30-year absence.

As the saying goes, “many hands make light work” and it will take a grassroots effort for politicians and media to get interested in this topic. It also needs to be a national effort but that doesn’t mean we can’t start with our own local representatives.

Awareness of the issue is the first step

Let’s not continue to handicap our children and future generations by a system that really isn’t a “system” at all but a collection of antiquated measures that trip up our children and anyone from another country who happen to set foot on our soil.

Enjoy National Metric Week with someone you can measure!

Linda

One thought on “America Needs Movement Toward the Metric System and You Can Help

  1. Love that first image – really puts it into context how simple and well-designed the metric system is. As for me, I’m putting all my social media posts in metric from now on, and I’m writing to my Congressman. Love the blog, keep it up, and good luck!

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