May 20, 2001

Miscellaneous Subjects 84: 1. The Musings Of A Minor Prophet + 2. PUTTING IT IN REVERSE & ROLL OUT THE BARRELS + 3. Solstice Rolling Blackouts on a Voluntary Basis + 4. Stop Cheney + 5. The newly announced Energy Policy of G.W.Bush + 6. Bush Picks Industry Insiders to Fill Environmental Posts + 7. How polluters influence environmental education: Smoke and Mirrors


Hello everyone

My first thought was to entitle this compilation "The Fossil Administration" because I have below several elements related to the new, expected and outrageous energy policy of the United States. But then several other unrelated topics had to be included right away - especially "The Musings Of A Minor Prophet" from Michael Lightweaver which is first below and which is why I'm sending this now - and so such a title could no longer apply.

Read on...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000




1.

NOTE FROM JEAN: In view of the escalating violence in the Middle East and in connection with the ongoing Meditation Focus on this troubled area of the world, the following letter from Michael Lightweaver is extremely relevant.

For more details about the current Meditation Focus #38: The Unrelenting Middle East Crisis and the Ever Greater Need for Peace (Web posted on May 12, 2001) please go at: http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus38.htm

---

From: Michael Lightweaver <lightweave@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001
Subject: The Musings Of A Minor Prophet

There is a passage in the Biblical Book of Proverbs that says "He who meddles in an affair not his own is like one who catches a passing dog by the ear."

I am mindful of this as I share this information. I can well understand the resentment that some of my Israeli and Palestinian friends might feel with what could be perceived as interference in their concerns by those of us who live outside the region as we express our concern, opinions and suggestions related to what is taking place in the Land Of Jerusalem.

What many of us understand, however, is that there is a cosmic drama being played out here that is much bigger and deeper than the immediate political situation of Israel, Palestine and the neighboring Arab nations. This is a drama that involves the whole planet and, ultimately, the fate of the Earth. While most of this cannot be explained in third dimensional terms, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are little more than pawns being manipulated via the emotional body by interdimensional forces which have a stake in maintaining and intensifying the current chaos.

At a frequency level, this chaos is destabilizing the entire planet and for this reason, each of us have a stake in the outcome. As much as it might seem otherwise, at the core, this is not a conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian people - or Israel and the Arabs. This is a conflict being perpetuated by "principalities & powers" which are desperately trying to hold on to the dying night even as a new day is dawning upon the planet.

To the extent that we allow ourselves to function from our emotional bodies and get caught up in the drama of this situation - to that extent we are pawns and foot soldiers in service to the forces of chaos. But to be otherwise is easier said than done - especially for those who live in the region and are daily bombarded with news of the ongoing atrocities suffered by both sides.

I received the information below on April 6th and immediately set it aside. I did not what to think about it or consider it's implications. The inner pressure has been building since that time and has reached a point that it is now necessary for me to share this.

What I received and have titled "The Musings Of A Minor Prophet" is only a possibility - a warning if you will. The ultimate outcome is up to us - each of us regardless of where we live on the planet.

To the extent that we are trapped in our emotional bodies by this ongoing tragedy and perpetuate the blame, anger, hatred, revenge & resentment - to that extent we continue to feed & strengthen the forces of chaos at a frequency level.

My appeal to you is to take one step higher - to emotionally step out of the current drama and to begin to hold a vision of the Land Of Jerusalem as a beautiful City of Peace & Brotherhood - and international model of justice, security, peace & prosperity: A city where all religions and ethnic groups are respected and is governed democratically by its own residents.

The next 90 days are very critical. The future of the Land Of Jerusalem hangs in the balance. As Guardians Of The Light, we can tip the scales and help this land, all it's people - and therefore the whole planet - to fulfill it's destiny of Grace instead of repeating its history of destruction.

Let us hold this Vision!

Blessings,

Michael Lightweaver
lightweave@aol.com
Mountain Light
Sanctuary Asheville, NC. USA

---

The Musings Of A Minor Prophet

The "Land Of Jerusalem" stands at a crossroads. This Is A Historic Moment.

Have you wondered why the Israelis are doing what they are doing to the Palestinians? Is it because they are naturally an aggressive, greedy, or hate filled people? Or is it because they are living in a deep state of the inner terror of annihilation as a people and as a nation after finally fulfilling a 2,000 year old dream of returning home?

Have you ever wondered why the Palestinians are doing what they are doing to the Israelis? Is it because Palestinians are just an evil people and terrorists by nature? Or is it because they are reacting to what they see as foreign troops occupying their land, demolishing their homes, killing their children, and denying basic human rights?

Young Israeli soldiers don't shoot Palestinian children for the fun of it. It is born of deep seated fear. Each time they do, something inside themselves dies as well. They will never be the same.

Young Palestinians bombers don't blow themselves up because they enjoy suicide. It is a desperate act by desperate young men who have given up hope of bringing about change any other way.

And now, with the escalation, there is revenge.

Until each side ceases to see itself as the "innocent & virtuous victim" and the other side as the "evil demon" ......

Until both sides begin to see the humanness of each other; the deep suffering of the other; the legitimate longings and the justified grievances .......

Until this happens, the violence will continue and will escalate.

Both sides have experienced more than enough atrocities.... And perpetuated them.

How much more pain and suffering must both sides endure before everyone wakes up and realizes that THE CURRENT COURSE OF ACTION IS NOT WORKING to produce what each side wants?

How many more children must both sides sacrifice to the false gods of nationalism, fear, hatred & revenge; how many arms, legs and eyes lost, before people are willing to change; before the majority of people on both sides WAKE UP AND SAY ENOUGH !!!

Both sides claim that the violence is only in reaction to the other side. But all of the outward violence is the product of the inner Violence Of Attitude on both sides. Until this changes, the children will continue to die.... On both sides....

Israelis and Palestinians, as historic brothers and the children of Abraham, have the opportunity to offer the whole world a model of cooperation, justice, peace and prosperity. The Palestinians can have Justice and the Israelis can have Security. Both can have Peace & Prosperity. But neither will have what they want until they are willing to grant these to the other.

Jerusalem can fulfill it's destiny as an International Model of Peace & Brotherhood, governed by its own citizens, or it can once again become a city of desolation and despair. This is its fate if everyone doesn't WAKE UP - and very soon.

The frequencies of anger, hatred, revenge and fear are being anchored in the land itself. When these stresses become too intense, the Earth will release them. She will tremble and land will roll like the waves of the sea. She will not distinguish between Palestinian and Israeli; between Christian, Jew or Muslim. All will pay the price and in the silent aftermath, they will call it "The Judgment Of God."

This is NOT the fate of Jerusalem, and it need not be a step toward the fulfillment of its Divine Destiny as an International Model of Peace & Brotherhood. If everyone WAKES UP NOW from this nightmare to remember who they really are, why they are here and the Beautiful Vision Of The New Jerusalem, then everything can change in the twinkling of an eye.

AWAKEN THE PEOPLE NOW! Let the Guardians of Light transmute the anger, fear and hatred, And release the tension from the Earth.

May The Land Of Jerusalem Be Preserved And May A River Of Light Once Again Flow Out Of Zion & Bless The Whole World With Peace & Grace.

Michael Lightweaver April 6, 2001

---

FOR THE LATEST NEWS SEE:

Suicide Bomber Kills 5; in Israeli Retaliation, Jets Kill 9
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/19/world/19MIDE.html

Powell, With Urgency, Seeks End to Mideast Violence
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/19/world/19POLI.html

Full coverage
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Middle_East_Peace_Process/




2.

DAILY GRIST
18 May 2001
http://www.gristmagazine.com

4.
PUTTING IT IN REVERSE
The average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year dropped to the lowest levels since 1980, according to a new report by the U.S. Transportation Department. President Bush's energy plan released yesterday calls for a review of fuel-economy standards once the National Academy of Sciences completes a study of the topic in July. But greenies aren't hopeful about the study because its authors include several people who worked for the auto and oil industries but no environmentalists. The energy plan also recommends a tax credit for consumers who buy gas-electric hybrid cars, but it doesn't specify how large the credit should be.

New York Times, Keith Bradsher, 18 May 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/18/politics/18FUEL.html

New York Times, Matthew L. Wald, 18 May 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/18/politics/18CONS.html


5.
ROLL OUT THE BARRELS
Did anyone expect such early international criticism of President Bush's energy plan? Yesterday, Jan Pronk, the head of U.N. talks on climate change and the Dutch environment minister, described the plan as a "disastrous development" that would "undoubtedly" lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. A press release issued by Friends of the Earth in the U.K. was titled "Bush to Planet Earth: Drop Dead." In the U.S., no surprise, Greenpeace dumped several tons of coal outside Vice President Dick Cheney's residence and blocked an entrance with empty oil barrels. Former President Carter wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing the Bush administration of using "misinformation and scare tactics" to justify attacks on the environment.

Planet Ark, Reuters, Paul Casciato, 18 May 2001
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=10852

Biloxi Sun Herald, Bloomberg, Alex Canizares, 18 May 2001
http://web.sunherald.com/content/biloxi/2001/05/18/nation_world/4139598_05182001.htm

Washington Post, Jimmy Carter, 17 May 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37159-2001May16.html




3.

From: Brucie <Spiritedbc@cs.com>
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001
Subject: Solstice Rolling Blackouts on a Voluntary Basis

Sent by a friend who wrote:

"Who knows whether this will even register with the media or the capitalists (probably not) ... but in any case, it's a fine idea in and of itself."

***

HRowntree@aol.com wrote:

ROLL YOUR OWN BLACKOUT THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER JUNE 21, 2001 THURS EVE, 7-10pm worldwide, all time zones

As an alternative to George W. Bush's energy policies and lack of emphasis on energy efficiency, conservation and alternative fuels, there will be a voluntary rolling blackout on the first day of summer, June 21 at 7pm - 10pm in any time zone (this will roll it across the planet). It's a simple protest and a symbolic act. Turn out your lights from 7pm-10pm on June 21. Unplug whatever you can unplug in your house. Light a candle to the Sungoddess, kiss and tell or not, take a stroll in the dark, invent ghost stories, anything that's not electronic - have fun in the dark.

Read the 1999 book "Natural Capitalism" by Paul Hawken (of "The Natural Step") and Amory Lovins (of The Rocky Mountain Institute) to learn that conservation and high efficiency technologies already ARE on-the-shelf. If implemented these revolutionary ideas would pay themselves off within 5 years, after which we'd be pumping far less greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and saving bucks to boot.

Forward this email as widely as possible, to your government represent atives and environmental contacts. Let them know we want global education, participation and funding in conservation, efficiency and alternative fuel efforts -- and an end to over exploitation and misuse of the earth's resources.

Anyone knows that the Cheney-Bush team is blowing smoke when they tell us that "... conservation can't help, it'll just be too expensive to implement those technologies..." While on the other hand, technology to develop and deploy weapons to blow incoming ICBMs out of the sky are easy to come by.

Wendy Strickland
Development Director
Bluewater Network
300 Broadway #28
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 788-3666 x120
(415) 788-7324 fax

Bluewater Network is a national environmental organization aggressively confronting the root causes of climate change and fighting environmental damage from the shipping, oil, and motorized recreation industries.

Join Bluewater today at http://bluewaternetwork.org Members receive a one-year subscription to the award winning quarterly Earth Island Journal. Join the FREE eActivists network to receive bi-monthly eNewsletters and Action Alerts. Send an email to bluewater@earthisland.org to subscribe.

***

There is growing understanding among people that the power to control energy bills can be as close as your own fingertip--switching off lights, appliances and keeping thermostats to the tolerable levels will save energy, money and lessen the impacts on global warming. Grassroots efforts are working; I monitor residential and municipal energy bills from several sources, and have seen these efforts working.

Spread those conservation tips around!

- Alice LaPierre

---

"Each year the amount of energy lost through UN-INSULATED homes in the United States is equivalent to the amount of fuel delivered through the Alaskan Pipeline."




4.

Date: 17 May 2001
From: akeenan@logan.net (annette keenan)
Subject: Stop Cheney

Dear Friend of MoveOn,

Electricity and gasoline price are skyrocketing and energy companies are taking record profits. What's the Cheney response? More goodies for energy tycoons.

Instead of challenging monopolies run amok, Cheney has come up with an innovative three point plan: rape, burn and pillage. Rape the environment. Burn fossil fuels 'til we choke. Pillage the consumer's pocket book.

Speak out against this gift to the administration's oil buddies. Go to:

http://www.moveon.org/stopcheney/

The keys to a sensible long-term policy are conservation, efficiency,
and aggressive development of renewable energy sources. We don't have
to wreck the environment to live well.

It's time to speak up. Go to:

http://www.moveon.org/stopcheney/

Thank you. We can't remain quiet while big oil adds insult to injury.

Sincerely,

- Wes Boyd
MoveOn.org




5.

From: David Allen Stringer <universalalliance.org@tinyworld.co.uk>
Subject: The newly announced Energy Policy of G.W.Bush
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001

Dear friends of Life on our Planet,

On thursday May 17th on our British T.V. Channel 4 News, we saw the announcement that G.W.Bush is behaving in his usual maverick manner yet again and intends, in spite of our experiences in the past of "Three Mile Island" in the USA, Sellafield in the U.K. and Chernobyl in the then USSR, to set up a programme to build a large number of Nuclear Power Stations as well as to drill for oil and gas in the ecologically sensitive Alaskan Wilderness.

Is there no end to the potential for evil & destruction that he is manifesting?

His policies in the context of our Planet are worse than a virus in a computer and must be prevented by all possible means short of violence against persons.

We sincerely hope that militant action in the USA & across the Planet will bring to a halt this intended programme which needs to be stopped before the Nuclear Power Plants are built as once built, we are cursed with them for generations.

Contamination from nuclear accidents is shared by everyone everywhere - it was the spread of radioactive fall out from Chernobyl across much of Europev in 1986 that first motivated me to go beyond a "philosophy" of one humanity to more positive involvement in the means to unite us as one, sharing all, the bad & good!

If you wish to send a personal message to Mr Bush protesting about this his email address is president@whitehouse.gov . Has he not heard of "natural energy"?

So let us start now, before these policies are implemented, to think about what actions we can take to counteract this new potential threat to all the life of the Planet and the actual immediater threat to the flora and fauna of Alaska and do keep us informed, at the above email address of any such campaigns that you might already be thinking to put into operation which we will pass on to as many people as possible through our contacts!

Yours for a 100% "green" Planet and society

David Allen Stringer
International Coordinator, The Universal Alliance




6.

From: "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@islands.vi>
Subject: NY Times: Bush Picks Industry Insiders to Fill Environmental Posts
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/12/politics/12NOMI.html

Bush Picks Industry Insiders to Fill Environmental Posts

WASHINGTON, May 9 - President Bush has filled several senior environment-related jobs in his administration with pro-business advocates who have worked on behalf of various industries in battles with the federal government, largely during the Clinton years.

Mr. Bush has announced his intent to nominate a mining industry lobbyist as the No. 2 person at the Interior Department. He has chosen a lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to be the department's chief lawyer.

His choice for No. 2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was a lobbyist for Monsanto, the chemical company now devoted to agribusiness. He wants as chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality a lawyer who represented General Electric in its fight with the E.P.A. over toxic waste sites.

Many of these candidates share a pro-property rights philosophy as well as a libertarian leaning, and conservatives find this just the right approach. Supporters also say that the individuals selected are deeply familiar with the issues that will come before them, and that they will know how to balance environmental protection and economic interests.

"We're real happy with the team that Bush is putting in," said Mike Hardiman, legislative director of the American Conservative Union.

"After eight years of the extremist, anti-people, anti-access policies of the Clinton administration and its overzealous application of the Endangered Species Act and the shutdown of recreational access to public lands as well as the commercial access, we're now going to have more of a balance," he said.

The list of intended nominees ==most have not been officially nominated ==is notable for the absence of picks from the environmental movement. Mr. Bush was considering John Turner, president of the Conservation Fund, for the No. 2 job at Interior, but Mr. Turner was dropped after strong opposition from Mr. Hardiman's group and others.

In Mr. Turner's place, Mr. Bush has nominated J. Steven Griles, a mining industry lobbyist who once worked in the Interior Department under James Watt, President Reagan's first Interior secretary.

"They are lawyers and lobbyists who built their careers by helping industry get out of environmental regulations," said Maria Weidner, policy advocate for the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. "Now, assuming they're confirmed, they will be doing the same thing, only the taxpayers will be paying for it."

Business advocates assert that the industry credentials of the nominees does not necessarily foreshadow their approach in their new jobs.

William L. Kovacs, vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the United States Chamber of Commerce, said that critics had portrayed the Bush team as anti-environment even as the president let stricter standards concerning diesel emissions and reporting on lead emissions go into effect.

"I don't think that just because these people worked for business, you can call them pro-business," Mr. Kovacs said. "They're not as clear- cut as the enviros would like to paint them."

Guided by the tone set at the top ==from Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to Gale A. Norton, the Interior secretary, and Christie Whitman, the E.P.A. administrator ==these nominees will help determine what policies to advocate, what regulations to enforce and what litigation to pursue.

They replace Clinton loyalists who came largely from strong environmental backgrounds. When President Bill Clinton took office, for example, his Interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, was a former governor of Arizona but also head of the League of Conservation Voters. Mr. Babbitt put George Frampton, a former head of the Wilderness Society, in charge of fish, wildlife and parks; Mr. Frampton ended up in charge of the White House environmental council.

Now, some former Clinton officials ==many of whom work for environmental lobbying groups ==complain that the Bush team generally views the environment as resources to be mined, logged and drilled.

"Their collective orientation is clearly pro-development and pro-exploitation of public resources for the personal profit of various industries," said Dave Alberswerth, who worked at the Interior Department under Mr. Babbitt and is now at the Wilderness Society.

Some holdovers ==like Dale Bosworth, the new Forest Service chief, who was a regional forester in Montana ==have not drawn environmentalists' fire. And Mr. Bush has yet to name picks for a handful of key posts.

But many of those he has named at Interior, E.P.A. and other agencies with environmental oversight have corporate backgrounds and appear skeptical of the regulatory process. Most candidates declined to discuss their prospective roles before their Senate confirmation hearings.

One of Mr. Bush's most influential choices would be John D. Graham as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, Mr. Graham, a Harvard professor who has argued that the costs of most environmental regulations exceed their benefits, would be in charge of reviewing all regulations proposed by federal agencies.

As he said in a 1996 speech at the Heritage Foundation, "environmental regulation should be depicted as an incredible intervention in the operation of society."

Mr. Bush has also said he would nominate Linda J. Fisher to be deputy administrator of the E.P.A. Most recently she headed the government affairs office at Monsanto. Ms. Fisher served at the E.P.A. in the Reagan and first Bush administrations as director of the office of pesticides and toxic substances; assistant administrator for policy, planning and evaluation; and as chief of staff.

Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, called her a "moderate, corporate-style Republican, not a hidebound conservative" and said Ms. Fisher was seen as "pretty reasonable by environmentalists" during her tenure as head of the agency's pesticide office.

"But afterward," he said, "she headed Monsanto's lobbying operation while the company was trying to head off any government oversight of genetically engineered crops."

Mr. Griles, the mining lobbyist picked as deputy Interior secretary, worked in the Reagan Interior department at a series of jobs, ending up as assistant secretary of lands and minerals management.

He then became an executive at the United Company, a coal, oil and gas development company. Until recently he was a lobbyist for National Environmental Strategies, with clients including the National Mining Association, Occidental Petroleum, Edison Electric and the Coalbed Methane Ad Hoc Committee.

John Grasser, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, said that Mr. Griles's industry experience was an important asset for his new post. "You've got to get the people who understand the issues," he said.

And he disputed the complaint of environmentalists that the candidates were captives of industry. "When they get into these jobs, they have to walk somewhat of a middle line," Mr. Grasser said.

William Geary Myers 3d is Mr. Bush's choice to be solicitor for the Interior Department. As lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, Mr. Myers advocated pro-rancher positions. While most issues involved land access and water allocation, he also opposed reintroducing wolves in Yellowstone National Park and Idaho and supported the state of Montana in the killing of bison that wandered out of Yellowstone.

Mr. Myers said this week that as the potential lawyer for the department, "my primary clients will be the president and the secretary." He said he would not characterize himself as pro-industry or anti-industry.

For chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Mr. Bush has picked James Connaughton, a partner at Sidley & Austin, a law firm that advises corporate clients and trade groups on environmental law. He has represented General Electric and Atlantic Richfield in fights against the E.P.A. about cleanup of Superfund sites.

Mr. Bush's choice for assistant attorney general at the Justice Department for the environment and natural resources is Thomas Sansonetti, a lawyer from Wyoming who specializes in minerals and energy and is a member of the libertarian Federalist Society. As the solicitor at Interior in the first Bush administration, Mr. Sansonetti helped negotiate the Exxon Valdez oil-spill settlement.

Other Interior nominees include Bennet William Raley, a lawyer who has represented farm interests, as assistant secretary for water and science, and Lynn Scarlett, president of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian group, as assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.

"I don't like to tell people how to live their lives," Ms. Scarlett said. "If that means I'm gun-shy of mandates, where they'll undermine environmental performance, stifle innovation and heighten conflict, then I'll say so. But I think too often we judge environmentalism as being the equivalent of adherence to a particular statute rather than achieving specific results, and they're not the same thing."




7.

From: "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@islands.vi>
Subject: How polluters influence environmental education
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001

May 17, 2001

Utne.com

Smoke and Mirrors

By John F. Borowski, Utne Reader

Florida's Orange County Convention Center is big. Big enough to hold the Sears Tower, if you laid it on its side. So big you could walk 10 miles and never leave the cement behemoth. A hulking structure like this was necessary to host the recent National Science Teachers Convention, the largest gathering of educators in the nation: more than 14,000 science teachers, and hundreds of exhibitors passing out armloads of pamphlets, packets, books, stickers, posters, and other goodies.

A handful of conservation groups were on hand offering teachers inspiration and information on how to teach about environmental issues, but they were clearly in the minority.

When I started teaching 20 years ago, I could not have imagined such a perverse display: industries and their front groups trying to justify everything from deforestation to the extinction of species

* The coal industry's Greening Earth Society passed out videos and teacher guides on the "fallacies" of global warming. * The "Temperate Forest Foundation" offered a video titled The Dynamic Forest, in which insects and fire hurt forests, but industry provides the needed remedies--with the help of chain saws. * The American Farm Bureau, avowed enemies of environmental education, propositioned teachers to reconsider the dangers of chemical herbicides and insecticides.

They were selling lies, and the teachers were buying--quickly filling their bags with curricula as corrosive as the pesticides that the Farm Bureau promotes. Where were the largest environmental groups to counter this frontal assault on environmental education? Where was the outcry of the educational community? Most Americans consider our public schools to be hallowed ground, where young people learn about the world through carefully chosen curriculum. Yet corporations now view schools as convenient locations for the dissemination of propaganda debunking environmental concerns.

Environmental education is under assault on two fronts. First, multinational corporations are designing and distributing environmental curricula that are professionally produced, easy to use, often free, and incredibly biased in favor of industry. Second, some of the most prominent conservative think tanks in America are mounting a well-funded attack on genuine environmental education.

Their objective is simple: protect industries that despoil the planet and put the brakes on the emergence of environmental awareness among young people. The spectrum of curricula is breathtaking and its shamelessness is overt. The American Nuclear Society provides "Let's Color and Do Activities with the Atoms Family." Materials I received from Exxon portray the Prince William Sound cleanup as a victory of technology, brushing over the cause of the disaster: the Exxon Valdez. But the most brazen miseducation campaign is carried out by the timber industry.

Big timber spends millions on so-called educational programs (which, of course, they generously donate to public schools). They offer hikes, presentations, and paid workshops for teachers. They distribute books, posters, videos, lesson plans, and other materials. Through the looking glass of big timber, old-growth forests become biological problems that require clear-cutting in order to survive. Logging companies are not cutting the forests, the propaganda explains, it is "managing" them, acting as their stewards--even saviors.

Truax, spun from Dr. Suess' conservationist classic The Lorax, is one of the "educational" materials distributed to schools produced by the Hardwood Forest Foundation and the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association. The colorful book, written and illustrated in the Suess style, chronicles Truax, a calm and thoughtful logger, who tries to explain the "facts" of forest management to the psychotic treehugger Guardbark.

CLIP

Often, the very organizations that preach the gospel of environmental education are actually industry shills. They have earthy names but clandestine roots. The American Forest Foundation (AFF) has a list of co-sponsors, cooperators, and partners that includes some of the most egregious despoilers of our forests: Sierra Pacific Industries, champion of clear-cuts in California; The Pacific Lumber Company, loggers of the redwoods; MacMillan Bloedel Packaging; Willamette Industries; Boise Cascade Corporation. One AFF project, Project Learning Tree, which works to promote logging and industrial management of our nation's forest, has reached more than 500,000 teachers and some 25 million students from prekindergarten to 12th grade.

Surreptitious public relations campaigns and deceptive advertising are battling today for the hearts and minds of our children. And they're winning. The North America Association of Environmental Education (the largest environmental education group in the world) has endorsed Project Learning Tree. Parents and citizens in general must assume the role of frontline warriors if environmental education is to remain meaningful. They must demand that any curricula provided by corporate sources be reviewed, just as textbooks are reviewed prior to being adopted. They must challenge their local boards of education to keep schools free of corporate propaganda. They must study the materials children receive at school. Corporate PR campaigns in classrooms are reminiscent of tobacco companies' secretive strategy of peddling cigarettes to teens. Their effort must be brought into the full light of day.

-- John F. Borowski From Utne Reader







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