The fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign to build political power and spread disinformation about climate change is well-documented. It has long kept the American public in the dark and elected leaders in their pocket. Their strategy of denying the causes of climate change has been wildly lucrative for the fossil fuel industry, but devastating for our environment and democracy.
As kids across the U.S. and around the globe rise up to demand action, this disinformation campaign is now being targeted at America’s classrooms.
A spate of bills introduced in states across the country would either prohibit teachers from discussing climate change in their classrooms or require public school teachers to present “both sides” of an issue that has come to dominate American political discourse. This would give science equal weight with flat-out propaganda.
Many teachers are already hesitant to talk about climate change. Some describe fear of backlash from parents. The reality—according to recent polling —is that the overwhelming majority of parents want their kids to know what scientists have to say about climate change. That includes two-thirds of Republican parents. But saber-rattling by elected officials creates a chilling effect that ripples all the way into our kids’ schools. Even if the bills don’t move forward, the simple act of introducing them works to suppress information and hinder awareness.