As many institutions and agencies are shifting their views towards acceptance of climate change as fact, rather than opposing it as theory, a small victory was recently achieved in public schools throughout Portland. They have officially voted that a ban be placed on any materials that cast doubt on climate change. There is still plenty of opposition saying that humans are not responsible for the heating of Earth’s atmosphere, but this ban eliminates all learning materials that contain this opposition as fact.
The Language of Learning
Prior to the ban, textbooks were often thick with language casting doubt on human roles in climate change. This language often came with pressure from fossil fuels companies to ensure that their political agendas were represented to students. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency addresses the issue of global warming as a way to help improve public health. Their administrator, Gina McCarthy, was quoted in telling U.S. News & World Report that it’s more about “public health issues like asthma and kids” and “cardiovascular and pulmonary disease associated with air pollution” than pressing big rules.
Over the past two decades public schools in Nevada have received a variety of grants to focus specialized education efforts in environmental areas. In Nevada, Clark County School District, the fifth largest in the country, several schools have received grants including improving k-5 environmental science education in 1996, UNLV in 1997 for Sustainable Practices, and more recently in 2010 opening the West Career & Technical Academy. In just 2014 the Great Basin Institute in Reno received a $60K+ grant for climate change environmental education for academically low-achieving high school students.
Let us know what you think about Portland schools banning anti-climate-change language from textbooks in the comment section below.