While the following report is from a non-Sierra Club organization, the Sierra Club's
Environmental Education Committee has formed an "Attacks on Environmental Education
Task Force" to deal with this critical issue, which is another example of the
"War on the Environment" fostered by some corporations. If you are interested in
helping, please contact Susie Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right-Wing Think Tanks, Corporate Polluters Behind Recent Attacks on Environmental
Wednesday April 9, 1997
WASHINGTON, DC - Far from a broad-based backlash led by outraged parents, recent
attacks on environmental education in the classroom are part of a sophisticated media
effort aimed at de-funding environmental education at the state and federal levels,
according to a major report released today. "This effort is being funded by corporate
polluters with a vested interest in overturning environmental education," states
Endangered Education, a report produced by the Center for Commercial-Free Public
Education, an Oakland, CA-based advocacy group.
The report was produced in response to recent media articles and Facts Not Fear, the
December 1996 book which painted the movement against environmental education as a
broad-based effort to eliminate bias in the classrom. "These attacks have been
falsely presented as a grassroots movement concerned about the health of our kids,"
said Marianne Manilov, director of the Center. "In fact, they are carefully
masterminded ploys by industries with an anti-environmental agenda."
The report finds that the Heritage Foundation, the George C. Marshall Institute, the
Political Economy Research Center, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, among others,
are behind the attacks on environmental education. All these organizations are funded by
corporate polluters such as Amoco, Dow Chemical and Shell. Their ultimate aim, critics
say, is to derail the National Environment Education Act, and de-fund environmental
education in the U.S.
The report traces the genesis of recent stories slamming environmental education and
finds a trail of distorted facts and misrepresented sources. One New York mother was
dismayed to discover that her story about her daughter's concerns over the origins of her
maple bed has been misrepresented by the anti-environmental lobby and appropriated as an
argument against environmental education. "I never suggested backing down from
teaching kids what is happening in our environment," said Nancy Bray Cordozo.
"In fact, [environmental education] should be expanded."
But even as they denounce the so-called bias of environmental education, polluting
corporations produce their own skewed materials for use in schools. "Talk about
double standards," says Manilov. "While Dow Chemical is funding these right-wing
think tanks, it distributes "Chemapalooza," a music video which tells children
'everything is made of chemicals,' as if there's no difference between water and bleach.
It's the lessons planned by corporations, not environmental education, that parents should
The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, home of the UNPLUG campaign
360 Grand Avenue, #385
Oakland, CA 94610
phone: (510) 268-1100
fax: (510) 268-1277
To view a copy of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education
report on the attack on environmental education please see the following web link: http://www.corpwatch.org/trac/greenwash/
For further information, please visit CLEAR (Clearinghouse
on Environmental Education Advocacy and Research), a web site by the Environmental Working
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