Teaching the Truth About Climate Change Is Up to Us, Because Textbooks Lie

Article. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools, Spring 2018.
Every single one of the texts adopted in Portland, known for being green and liberal, misleads young people about the climate crisis.
Time Periods: 20th Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment

Illustration for Bill Bigelow climate article by Michael Duffy

In May, Science magazine reported that the Trump administration eliminated NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, which determines levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. Trump’s latest climate-denial maneuver is outrageous, but for years, school textbooks have taken a similar head-in-the-sand approach to climate change.

Climate Justice More Resources Ad | Zinn Education ProjectIn 2016, the school board in Portland, Oregon, approved a comprehensive climate justice resolution, one part of which mandated that Portland Public Schools “will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

I was a member of the committee of parents, teachers, students, and activists that pushed for the resolution. In drafting it, we knew that there were a couple of especially egregious texts in Portland classrooms, but until we sat down to formally evaluate 13 middle and high school science and social studies textbooks, we had no idea that every single one of the texts adopted in famously green and liberal Portland misleads young people about the climate crisis. Continue reading article.

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Climate Justice Tell Your Story Ad | Zinn Education Project

Lesson originally published by Rethinking Schools | Zinn Education ProjectThis article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Rethinking Schools.

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