Long a leader in the fight to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, the National Center for Science Education now sees creationist-like tactics being used in the attack on climate education. A recent survey of science teachers found over half had encountered skepticism from parents, and a quarter dealt with climate-denying administrators. Climate deniers are increasingly sending hate mail to scientists and teachers. As the Los Angeles Times reports, state legislators are increasingly promoting climate denial in classrooms:
Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.
After decades in which climate denial was driven primarily by industrial polluters, much in the way the tobacco industry lied about the dangers of smoking, the climate fight is becoming more intensely personal and political. As extreme weather disasters rise and the effects of global warming become unmistakable in daily life, right-wing climate deniers are trying to subvert the obvious moral and ethical necessity of action, trying to tie their fossil-fueled denial to religious faith.
“We consider climate change a critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science education,” said Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, NCSE’s executive director, announcing the new initiative. She discussed the parallels and differences between creationism and climate denial in a podcast with Steve Mirsky.
Mark McCaffrey, a climate and environmental education expert, has joined the NCSE as its new climate change programs and policy director. Mark is a co-author of the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy and co-founder of the Climate Literacy Network. Pacific Institute hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick, one of the leading climate communicatiors in the nation, has joined their board of directors.
NCSE’s stellar Josh Rosenau has more details as his blog, Thoughts From Kansas.