Targets: Oklahoma Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage, Colorado Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino, Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell
Goal: Don’t allow the oil industry to influence instruction on climate change in schools
Legislators in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona recently proposed bills that would change the way schools teach students about climate change. Instead of presenting global warming as scientific fact, teachers would be required to encourage students to view climate change as a debatable theory. The bill’s supporters claim that the purpose is to present students with several different perspectives on the topic of the environment to encourage students to think critically. However, all three bills have been linked with an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is funded by corporations that benefit from teaching young people to deny that human activities have led to significant negative changes in the environment.
The three bills are based on an outline created by ALEC called the Environmental Literacy Improvement Act that instructs teachers to present the pros and cons of scientific theories. Corporations that benefit from preventing action to stop climate change, such as oil and coal companies, are responsible for funding ALEC. These companies might not be able to continue profiting from harming the environment if the next generation continues the trend of increasing awareness about the harmful effects of using non-renewable energy sources. Therefore, it is necessary for them to mislead children into believing that there is no consensus among scientists about the causes of changes in weather patterns.
In addition to being supported by the oil industry, a large number of right-wing lawmakers are members of ALEC. Because it has so much support from members of Congress, similar bills encouraging schools to teach climate change denial have already passed in four states. Corporations that benefit from hurting the environment should not be permitted to influence policies and change the way schools teach science. Urge legislators in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona to reject these climate change denial bills to ensure that science lessons are fact-based and continue teaching young people environmental responsibility.
Dear Representatives Burrage, Ferrandino, and Campbell,
Lawmakers recently proposed bills in each of your states that would change the way schools teach students about climate change. Instead of fact-based science lessons, schools would be encouraged to teach students to be skeptical about global warming and to consider a variety of perspectives on the subject.
Although the bills are presented as a way of encouraging students to think critically, they were developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization funded by corporations that benefit from producing climate change skeptics. These companies are only interested in keeping states from taking action to stop climate change, and these bills are intended to prevent the next generation of voters from demanding a switch to renewable energy sources.
Similar bills have already passed in four other states around the country, giving corporations the power to control the way young people understand climate change. Please make sure that these bills are unsuccessful in your states so that our country can continue to make progress in preventing the oil industry from damaging our environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Takver via Flickr