In the 1970s, we were warned about an oncoming ice age. In the ’80s, acid rain warnings were prevalent. In the ‘90s, we were told that the ozone layer was imperiled. In the aughts, the polar icecaps were said to be endangered.
None of the above happened, of course, but when you are a true believer, little things like reality are shoved aside.
The mainstream media does its share to perpetuate the mindset. Most recently, a USA Today piece informed us that “temperatures have reached record highs, and the number of weather-related disasters continues to rise.” While many of us can dismiss the hysteria with an eye roll, the effect on children has been quite detrimental.
In fact, schools are front and center for the climate crazies. Yes, in addition to teaching white six-year-olds that they are oppressors, that there are 87 genders, and that men can breastfeed, kids are being warned that the planet is going to become a living hell because of man-made global warming unleashed on us by evil corporations.
A poll by the North American Association for Environmental Education in 2022 shows that 75% of teachers and 80% of principals and district leaders agreed that “climate change will have an enormous impact on students’ futures, and it is irresponsible not to address the problem and solutions in school.” These results are similar to a survey of educators from the EdWeek Research Center also conducted last year.
These days, the climate zealots are demanding that their religion be a part of all curricula. To that end, in 2020, the New Jersey Board of Education passed new learning standards that require climate issues be taught across content areas, including phys ed, science, technology, the performing arts, etc. And now the Garden State board is in debate over climate change inclusion in language arts and math.
Not surprisingly, the teachers unions are all in for climate alarmism. The National Education Association website proclaims that the union “recognizes the scientific consensus that global climate change is largely caused by human activity, resulting in significant, measurable damage to the earth and its inhabitants. The Association believes that humans must take immediate steps to change activities that contribute to global climate change.”
Sadly, the climate fanatics in our schools don’t address the fact that there is a load of scientific evidence that shows climate fears are totally unwarranted. Typical of scientists who are not buying into the dogma is John Clauser, recipient of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to quantum mechanics. He recently joined with 1,600 professionals in signing the World Climate Declaration (WCD) organized by Climate Intelligence. This declaration asserts that there’s no “climate emergency,” that climate change science “isn’t conclusive,” and that the Earth’s history over thousands of years “shows a consistently changing climate.”
On a similar note, in 2019, 500 experts in the sciences, academia, economics, business, law, and other fields sent a “European Climate Declaration” to the Secretary General of the United Nations asking for a high-level, open debate on climate change. “There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts and suchlike natural disasters, or making them more frequent. However, CO2-mitigation measures are as damaging as they are costly. For instance, wind turbines kill birds and bats, and palm-oil plantations destroy the biodiversity of the rainforests.”
The signatories of the declaration also maintain that public policy must “respect scientific and economic realities and not just reflect the most fashionable frenzy of the day.”
Additionally, Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace Canada, claimed in an interview last month that “climate alarmism is 100% untrue.”
Moore adds, “They said it was the hottest year in the history of the earth the other day, and it’s not.” That’s just, period, a lie.”
William D. Balgord, who heads Environmental & Resources Technology, Inc. Middleton, Wisc. writes that, as a group, climate realists believe that climate changes naturally. “Climate has changed at its own pace—at times faster, at other times more slowly—ever since Earth first acquired its oceans and atmosphere.”
He adds, “These conscientious skeptics just don’t believe humans play an important part in the overall process. Anthropogenic effects are mostly confined to highly developed urban and industrialized areas, where the urban heat island effect and changes in land use practice play important roles—and where the majority of weather stations used to compile the record are actually cited.”
If you have any doubts that “climate alarmism” is a religion, the University of Helsinki confirmed this in March when it announced that it was bestowing 20-year-old climate evangelist Greta Thunberg with an honorary doctorate in theology.
Worth noting is that Thunberg admitted in a 2019 interview that what she knew about climate change she learned in school. But of course, her school never explained that climate change is anything but “settled science.” Her school didn’t teach her that before it was called climate change, it was known as global warming, and before that, global cooling. It is highly doubtful that her school taught her about other cases of apocalyptic prophecy like acid rain, the population bomb, and, notably, Chicken Little. Her school probably never taught her about the Salem witch trials, where mass hysteria took over a town in Massachusetts in 1692, and people were tragically imprisoned and hanged.
To be blunt, climate alarmism is needlessly scaring the crap out of many kids. According to a 2021 poll, 19% of American kids are “extremely worried” about climate change and 75% are at least a little worried. In Britain, one in five children has nightmares about climate change.
The reality is, yes, the climate is changing, but then again, it always has. And, while it is possible that we may need to do some very minor adjusting, the academic alarmists and their hysterical media toadies are doing damage far greater than anything climate change will ever do.
Climate change is strictly a religion of the left. The messaging is as heavy-handed as catechism in a religious school. And, at the same time, critical thinking is becoming a truly endangered species in our schools and throughout much of society. This is a truly apocalyptic problem.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.