Selling Our Souls, one Dollar at a Time….

Odd – one would think that an organization named the National Science Teachers Association would be more than happy to receive an offer of 50,000 free DVD’s of Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. But apparently not – whatever reason would they have to turn down educational resources(something most teachers of my acquantence aren’t exactly overly burdened with)? Oh wait, maybe this might explain it.

Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp.

That’s the same Exxon Mobil that for more than a decade has done everything possible to muddle public understanding of global warming and stifle any serious effort to solve it. It has run ads in leading newspapers (including this one) questioning the role of manmade emissions in global warming, and financed the work of a small band of scientific skeptics who have tried to challenge the consensus that heat-trapping pollution is drastically altering our atmosphere. The company spends millions to support groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute that aggressively pressure lawmakers to oppose emission limits.

But Wait! There’s more;

And Exxon Mobil isn’t the only one getting in on the action. Through textbooks, classroom posters and teacher seminars, the oil industry, the coal industry and other corporate interests are exploiting shortfalls in education funding by using a small slice of their record profits to buy themselves a classroom soapbox.

NSTA’s list of corporate donors also includes Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which funds NSTA’s Web site on the science of energy. There, students can find a section called “Running on Oil” and read a page that touts the industry’s environmental track record — citing improvements mostly attributable to laws that the companies fought tooth and nail, by the way — but makes only vague references to spills or pollution. NSTA has distributed a video produced by API called “You Can’t Be Cool Without Fuel,” a shameless pitch for oil dependence.

Along with propaganda challenging global warming from Exxon Mobil, the curricular offerings included lessons on forestry provided by Weyerhaeuser and International Paper, Borowski says, and the benefits of genetic engineering courtesy of biotech giant Monsanto.

Maybe the NSTA should change their name – the American Association of Classroom Whores, mayhaps


10 thoughts on “Selling Our Souls, one Dollar at a Time….

  1. As a teacher, I am not surprised by this. This whoring ourselves out for more resources has resulted in gaining corporate pimps. This is not new. Pepsi and Coke have been doing this in our schools for decades. They provide exclusivity contracts to schools and then reap the profits on their sugary drug. Chocolate bar companies have provided single-minded texts to ensure the young are ensnared to buy their product. These resources are like drugs to a school. THe money and resources are great, however, our students get a skewed view of these corporations and not the balanced view they should be getting. Of course it is in the best interest of these oil companies to lure young susceptable minds into their way of thinking. It seems the NSTA have been O/Ding on that drug!
    Now having said that, There have been many good things that have come from corporations that have been beneficial to these schools especially when the government can’t or won’t provide the necessary funding the schools need. Through simple donations of books and equipment, students have benefitted greatly. Once a corporation demands exclusivity they cross the line of being a good corporate citizen to a coroporate pimp.

    BTW, at the Mount, all student teachers do a paper looking at the pros and cons of corporations in the school.

    my 2 cents



  2. Just noticed that Olbermann has Linda Froschauer, the president of the association, as his “Worst Person In The World” last night. You can check it out at MSNBC.


  3. Most teachers I know are rabid believers in GW . . . what ever happened to science and reason???
    Algore’s movie is not based on facts . . . here is a review by “real scientists” of Al’s scarey movie. Here’a a few and a link to the rest . . .

    Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Manager, Wildlife Research Section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada: “Our information is that 7 of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world’s estimated total) are either stable, or increasing …. Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other populations, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has.”

    Dr. Petr Chylek, adjunct professor, Dept. of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: “Mr. Gore suggests that Greenland melt area increased considerably between 1992 and 2005. But 1992 was exceptionally cold in Greenland and the melt area of ice sheet was exceptionally low due to the cooling caused by volcanic dust emitted from Mt. Pinatubo. If, instead of 1992, Gore had chosen for comparison the year 1991, one in which the melt area was 1% higher than in 2005, he would have to conclude that the ice sheet melt area is shrinking and that perhaps a new ice age is just around the corner.”

    Dr. Gary D. Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, California: “The oceans are now heading into one of their periodic phases of cooling. … Modest changes in temperature are not about to wipe them [coral] out. Neither will increased carbon dioxide, which is a fundamental chemical building block that allows coral reefs to exist at all.”

    Dr. R. M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia: “Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening. The temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than 1 degree C since 1950. And the area of sea-ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years.”

    Dr./Cdr. M. R. Morgan, FRMS, formerly advisor to the World Meteorological Organization/climatology research scientist at University of Exeter, U.K.: “From data published by the Canadian Ice Service there has been no precipitous drop off in the amount or thickness of the ice cap since 1970 when reliable over-all coverage became available for the Canadian Arctic.”

    Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, British Colombia, Canada comments on Gore’s belief that the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) is an “invasive exotic species” that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost: “The MPB is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.”

    Good Read on Algore’s movie . . . http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/harris061206.htm

    In the mid 1990’s the UN recognized the medieval warm period . . much warmer than today, but when the mysterious “hockey stick graph” appeared in 1998 the medieval warm period had disappeared. This was when my relatives farmed and lived in Greenland . . . so what happened???

    And personally
    I’m tired of hearing the phrase “Scientist states global warming is real”, and finding out that the “scientist” in question is a sociologist, or psychologist, or a PoliSci major from Berkeley. None of whom is even remotely qualified to render an opinion on climatology. They “feel” it’s right, so they “know” it’s “true”. Or IOW, it fits with their abject hatred of Western technological civilization and their desire for an agrarian-socialist society operating at roughly Bronze Age levels- with themselves as philosopher-kings, and everyone else (whom they permit to live) as illiterate serfs.
    The only “letter” about GW that interests me is the one they never talk about. In 1973, when the Club of Rome first postulated “humanocentirc climatological change” in “The Limits To Growth”, both GW and the “nuclear winter” scenarios became the rallying points of the neo-Luddite left. The response from the scientific community? A paper stating that (a) there was insufficient evidence to state whther the Earth was warming or cooling, and (b) human activity was insufficient to affect climate on the macro scale- with facts and figures to back it up. The paper, written by Dr. Fred Singer of Caltech, who is a climatologist and meteorologist by profession, was cosigned by 5,000 other experts in the same field. Since then, Singer (now in his 90s) and the others who cosigned still state that they have seen nothing that would change their PROFESSIONAL opinions.
    I admit my training in meteorology is at the high-school level, but I understand enough to be able to read temperature-variance graphs. So far, I haven’t seen anything that would convince me that Dr. Singer, et al., were wrong. So pardon me, but when some “expert” like Dr. John Pike of the Union of Concerned Scientists (who consistently refuses to state exactly what he is a doctor of) tells me the sky is falling, or the world’s about to melt, or freeze, I am somewhat disinclined to take him seriously.


  4. As a brand spankin’ new teacher of Sociology at the Community College level, I have decided that my mission is not to teach about primarily white European theorists – my mission is to give students the tools to think critically and rationally about things in their everyday lives. I’m proud of that, and I think it’s a skill that needs to be introduced earlier.
    Having said that (and given my other profession, I’m going out on a limb here), I deplore the fact that in a country (or on a continent, for that matter) that prides itself on the postindustrial knowledge-based economy we profess to have, that government can shortchange education in any way. It is a disservice to the students and to the society as a whole. There are many complicated factors that cause the shortfall, including the growth in demand for health care (rant coming soon), but if we all think it’s important, we’ll fulfill our obligation to pay for it and not drive schools into the arms of self-interested big business.

    And welcome back to everyone’s favourite right-wing pinata, exdip.

    Providing us with a list of 5,007 mostly unnamed scientists who agree with you does not make you or them correct. The issue is clearly under dispute, but you cite some unrelated phenomena as evidence that do not relate to the issue – volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo, for example. That would constitute an isolated incident, not a thousand-year trend.

    Regardless, I am somewhat annoyed at the reductio ad absurdum, or the use of the most extreme and non-mainstream idea to represent the opposing viewpoint. I can’t use you as an example of people who disbelieve global warming, unless I want to assume that they’re all right-wing, narrow minded idiots. I’m not prepared to do that, not by a long shot. Those that disagree on the basis of scientific investigation are disagreeing for what they perceive as valid reasons. Ultimately who is correct and incorrect may come down to the moment when a scientist looks at his colleague and says, “Ooops.” The beauty of science is that the true picture will eventually emerge from controversy and debate, as it always has.

    Nobody, and I mean nobody is advocating a return to a Bronze Age existence. Are you advocating a complete disregard for the environment, the unregulated dumping of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals, the return of women to being the ‘property’ of their husbands, the execution of the disabled, homosexuals and immigrants? I didn’t think so. Stop throwing around patently absurd assertions based on your prejudices. You could say I’m picking on you because of my prejudices, and I’ll cop to that. I’m annoyed at anyone who is narrow-minded and misleads others through falsehoods.

    You are also using the same rhetorical ‘tool’ you accuse those that disagree with you of using: the Argument from Authority. Lining up all those opinions behind you, fine, that’s a rehetorical tool that has been effective for a long time (just ask Bruno LaTour), but you don’t identify what your ‘team’ has in terms of qualifications either – Dr. this, Dr. that, but Doctor of what? You are using a double standard.

    I’d just like to point out again that the Canada Free Press is a partisan, pro-right wing and religion opinion source. If you can point to a peer-reviewed journal that says exactly the same thing, I would take you seriously. As it is, I don’t. Your sources are as opinionated and transparently biased as you are.

    So nice to see you. Have a fabulous day, ‘kay? Buh-bye.


  5. Hey Flash . . . the UN is partisan . . . in the 1990’s they recognized the medieval warming period in their literature from 800 to 1200 . . . by 1998 when the famous “hockey stick” graph appeared, this period had disappeared . . . my relatives lived and farmed in Greenland during this period for hundreds of years . . . and they named it Greenland . . . cause it was an ice cube, I guess.
    When I show you comments of real scientists, who comment, about 16, not 5000, in their field of expertise . . . you say they are bias . . . where are the “Real Scientists” that believe in GW???? David Suzukki does not qualify . . . he is a zoologist. I am waiting for the real facts, Algore’s movie doesn’t have any facts, just scarey shit . . . your only defence is they are biassed or some oil company fananced them. That is Bullshit . . . real scientists, like the 60 that sent the letter to Harper, signed their names, only the clowns like Club Sierra and other inviro nuts say “Scientists Believe”. Belief is a religious experience, I am not prepared to just follow blindly.
    Do you remember 1975, when Newsweek, the NY Times, Time magazine . . . told us, we have 10 years left, we won’t be able to grow crops, we are entering an Ice Age, human life on the planet is finished.
    Fortunately the folks back in the 70’s were a lot brighter than the masses today, they thought these “Chicken Littles” were just plain “NUTS” and of course they were. Now we have a new batch of CL’s and the dummies of today fall right in line.
    Here’s another read on the GW stuff . .

    A new study provides experimental evidence that cosmic rays may be a major factor in causing the Earth’s climate to change.
    Given the stakes in the current debate over global warming, the research may very well turn out to be one of the most important climate experiments of our time – if only the media would report the story.
    Ten years ago, Danish researchers Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen first hypothesized that cosmic rays from space influence the Earth’s climate by effecting cloud formation in the lower atmosphere. Their hypothesis was based on a strong correlation between levels of cosmic radiation and cloud cover – that is, the greater the cosmic radiation, the greater the cloud cover. Clouds cool the Earth’s climate by reflecting about 20 percent of incoming solar radiation back into space.
    The hypothesis was potentially significant because during the 20th century, the influx of cosmic rays was reduced by a doubling of the sun’s magnetic field which shields the Earth from cosmic rays. According to the hypothesis, then, less cosmic radiation would mean less cloud formation and, ultimately, warmer temperatures – precisely what was observed during the 20th century.
    If correct, the Svensmark hypothesis poses a serious challenge to the current global warming alarmism that attributes the 20th century’s warmer temperatures to manmade emissions of greenhouse gases.
    Just last week, Svensmark and other researchers from the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Centre published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A – the mathematical, physical sciences and engineering journal of the venerable Royal Society of London – announcing that they had experimentally verified the physical mechanism by which cosmic rays affect cloud cover.
    In the experiment, cosmic radiation was passed through a large reaction chamber containing a mixture of lower atmospheric gases at realistic concentrations that was exposed to ultraviolet radiation from lamps that mimic the action of the sun’s rays. Instruments traced the chemical action of the penetrating cosmic rays in the reaction chamber.[Click here for more details about Svensmark’s hypothesis and experiment, including high-quality animation].
    The data collected indicate that the electrons released by the cosmic rays acted as catalysts to accelerate the formation of stable clusters of sulfuric acid and water molecules – the building blocks for clouds.
    “Many climate scientists have considered the linkages from cosmic rays to clouds as unproven,” said Friis-Christensen who is the director of the Danish National Space Centre. “Some said there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could influence cloud cover. [This] experiment now shows they do so, and should help to put the cosmic ray connection firmly onto the agenda of international climate research,” he added.
    But given the potential significance of Svensmark’s experimentally validated hypothesis, it merits more than just a place on the agenda of international climate research – it should be at the very top of that agenda.
    Low-level clouds cover more than a quarter of the Earth’s surface and exert a strong cooling effect. Observational data indicate that low-cloud cover can vary as much as 2 percent in 5 years which, in turn, varies the heating at the Earth’s surface by as much as 1.2 watts per square meter during that same period.
    “That figure can be compared with about 1.4 watts per square meter estimated by the [United Nations’] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the greenhouse effect of all the increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the Industrial Revolution,” says Svensmark.
    That is, cloud cover changes over a 5-year period can have 85 percent of the temperature effect on the Earth that has been claimed to have been caused by nearly 200 years of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. The temperature effects of cloud cover during the 20th century could be as much as 7 times greater than the alleged temperature effect of 200 years worth of additional carbon dioxide and several times greater than that of all additional greenhouse gases combined.
    So although it has been taken for granted by global warming alarmists that human activity has caused the climate to warm, Svensmark’s study strongly challenges this assumption.
    Given that the cosmic ray effect described by Svensmark would be more than sufficient to account for the net estimated temperature change since the Industrial Revolution, the key question becomes: Has human activity actually warmed, cooled or had no net impact on the planet?
    Between manmade greenhouse gas emissions, land use patterns and air pollution, humans may have had a net impact on global temperature. But if so, no one yet knows the net sign (that is, plus/minus) of that impact.
    Not surprisingly, Svensmark’s potentially myth-shattering study has so far been largely ignored by the media. Though published in the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society A, it’s only been reported – and briefly at that – in The New Scientist (Oct. 7), Space Daily (Oct. 6) and the Daily Express (U.K., Oct. 6).
    The media’s lack of interest hardly reflects upon the importance of Svensmark’s experiment so much as it reflects upon the media’s and global warming lobby’s excessive investment in greenhouse gas hysteria.

    GW is about CONTROL, WEALTH TRANSFER and GLOBAL SOCIALISM . . . nothin more . . .
    I would love to see you list of real scientists the come out in “Support of GW” . . . no one has yet been able to provide me with this information.


  6. NDIP,
    There really is no need to compile a list of the “real scientists” who “believe” in global warming, because it is effectively all of the publishing scientific community outside of the list you’ve cited. If you care to take a look at any climate or general science journal (like Science) you will see that most of the talk these days is not about whether global warming is taking place, rather it is about trying to predict localized effects in the near-term based on the increasingly-detailed mathematical models. D

    That is not to say that global warming critics do not have anything useful to add to the discussion. There is certainly something to be said for extra-terrestrial contributions to climate, but it would be very curious indeed if these contributing factors all pointed in the same direction at the same time as measured CO2 in the atmosphere is at historic highs and temperatures are at or near historicly high levels. Strictly speaking, it is possible, but not as likely as anthropogenic global warming. And that is what science is all about – finding the most likely cause or process that describes the observed phenomena. Not finding the most convenient one, and not finding the one that you are paid to find.

    For the record, you are the one who brought the term “belief” into the discussion, inferring that teachers “believe” global warming, but only your list of scientists actually are qualified to not. Or something – I can’t really figure exactly what your argument is to be honest. Nice little strawman there, NDIP. Scientists that “believe” in global warming do so after evidence, experimentation, and modelling proves it to them to whatever level of prove they need. This is not called “belief”, this is called “being convinced”. Thirty years ago, when climate models were simple two-dimensional affairs and didn’t even include ocean/atmosphere interactions, perhaps then one could infer “belief” on the part of those that advocated global warming. However, the models have become far more sophisticated and the contributing information far more detailed and therefore the argument far more persuasive. These people have become convinced by the evidence and the arguments provided by the mathematical models.

    About mathematical models, have you noticed that the arguments espoused by the anti-global warming cabal are generally not backed up by mathematical models? Many of them have some potential real effects (such as deep-ocean heat transfer in salt water, which I can’t figure out if you mentioned or not), but there is no model to estimate its effects. I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t know that because you just clipping favorite paragraphs from articles that say things you like to hear. Modelling is cheap and relatively easy – even I could afford to buy MathCad, and even I could do a few simple things with it, but not even oil-company financed organizations like API have managed to put together a convincing model that explains even half of the existing data in any other way. Why is that, do you think?

    Anyway, I’ve had enough of this twaddle.


  7. I’m going to say nothing more of substance, because I’m raising my blood pressure to no good effect. I must congratulate you on the most confusing non-sequitur I’ve ever seen: “The UN is partisan.” What the bloody hell does that have to do with anything?

    So your ancestors farmed Greenland, huh? You ever heard of the historic accounts of vikings lying to get people to come to new colonies? Ever wonder why Newfoundland was referred to as Vinland, land of the vines? Ain’t no damn vines, idiot, it was a sales pitch.

    By the way, where is your blog, exactly? Given you have such strone opinions, i’d be interested why you don’t see fit to share original ideas and opinions rather than demonizing those you disagree with. Put up or shut up.

    I have no doubt that your ancestors did farm in Greenland. And I have no doubt whatsoever that they were closely related to one another. Your inability to distinguish science and religion and separate fact from propaganda is proof that you are not worth bothering with. I’m with Kevvy. I’ve had enough.


  8. Can you even read NDIP’s (lol at the mispelled acronym) second post? I think we’re witnessing a meltdown of Chernobyl-like proportions.

    I’ve been watching this debate unfold in the pages of AAPG Explorer over the past couple of years. The AAPG officially denies climate change right now, even though probably 90% of it’s members know that it’s happening and disagree with the AAPG’s ‘official’ position. At my last reading (the June 2006 issue), the denial crowds argument reduced to this: Because there has been astronomically forced climate change in the geologic past, anthropomorphic climate change isn’t happening.

    I leave it as an exercise to the reader to spot the logical “whaaaa?” in that argument.


  9. Because there has been astronomically forced climate change in the geologic past, anthropomorphic climate change isn’t happening.

    It kind of reeks of the neocons optimism about Iraq, no?


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