February 22nd, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
The Heartland Institute is in the midst of a huge controversy (or, a few, to be honest). If you’re not familiar with the institute, it’s been one of the leading “think” tanks denying the harmful health effects of smoking and, now, second-hand smoking. Yep, it’s classy. It’s also been one of a handful of such groups trying (quite successfully) to confuse the public on the topic of climate change.
The fact that the world is warming, humans are causing it, and the potential effects are catastrophic is sound. Sound, as in, nearly every climate scientist in the world backs up this scientific conclusion (there are just a few contrarians who are heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry or who just seem completely confused by their own pride or old age remain ‘unconvinced’), and nearly every overarching scientific body in the world backs up this conclusion.
BUT, the Heartland Institute wants your kids to think there is scientific uncertainty about this.
John Mashey, of DeSmog Blog, who has done great research on this matter, writes:
The NY Times, LA Times and many otherscriticized Heartland’s inept plan to hire David Wojick to create an alternate-reality K-12 climate science curriculum. But Heartland’s school ground attack on science is nothing new, as is evident in the organization’s own commentary: “Heartland has tried to make material available to teachers, but has had only limited success. Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.”
One of the best known Heartland incursions into the schoolyard occurred in 2008, when the institute mailed teaching materials to 11,250 schools in Canada. In 2009, Science derided Heartland for sending copies of The Skeptic’s Handbook to 14,000 US school board officials. Heartland’s Environment and Climate New mocked one school board president for his refusal to use it.
But Heartland began its classroom misinformation campaign much earlier. During 2002-2003, E&CN ran ads exhorting readers to “discuss an E&CN article with your school-age child… and his or her teacher.” I hope parents avoided the common “Smoker’s Lounge” ads in those issues.
Yep, alongside teaching us all that smoking is actually not so bad after all, the institute is trying to teach your kids that climate change really isn’t the concern those ‘crazy’ scientists think it is.
It’s a real shame we have to go through this again, that we didn’t learn our lesson from the smoking propaganda and lies, and that it’s even infiltrating our children’s classrooms this time.
Mashey has more, if you’re interested, at: Fakeducation For Years From Heartland.
You may also want to check out an earlier piece on this matter by Brad Johnson of Think Progress: INTERNAL DOCUMENTS: The Secret, Corporate-Funded Plan To Teach Children That Climate Change Is A Hoax
Schoolkids via shutterstock
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