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Sierra Club Environmental Education Program
Attacks Aiming to De-Fund Environmental Education

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,

Right-Wing Think Tanks, Corporate Polluters Behind Recent Attacks on Environmental Education

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 fear."

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:

For further information, please visit CLEAR (Clearinghouse on Environmental Education Advocacy and Research), a web site by the Environmental Working Group.

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