Stung by the documentation of children manipulation, defenders of those powers
who abuse resources and try to hoodwink teachers into using manufactured lies
about old growth forests or global warming have struck back with vicious accusations.
An expose titled, “Bastion of Ecological Literacy Under Siege: Our Public Schools”,
offered insights into the powerful “Wise Use” movement’s foray into environmental
education and documented their fabrications, allegiance to corporate polluters
and utter shamelessness in using children as mere pawns to further their agenda.
Having penned this piece, I have received blistering email. There is a common
thread in these diatribes, a redundant use of words like communist, socialist,
eco-maniac, and wacko-environmentalist. My favorite was a commentary written by
Alan Caruba for CNSNews.com entitled, “Specious Science in Our Schools”. And the
outcome was predictable and seems to take on a well-worn, yet effective pattern:
use aggressive language, invent data, and ignore scientific truth and defend rape
and pillage of nature as humankind’s birth- right.
As an ex-iron worker, now teacher of environmental science for two decades,
I have come to a gut felt conclusion: despite their lies, the friends of environmental
despoilers play hardball. They make no excuses, they stay on message, they use
fiery rhetoric, and they give no apologies for misinformation or inaccuracies.
Some members of the environmental community, especially the environmental education
community, have chastised me for what they call, “playing the bad guy’s game”
or using inflammatory responses. Based on the current state of globe’s the ill
health, I say, “Take off the gloves green team.” When your children’s future is
being mortgaged, when corporate America sees your children as part of a cost/benefit
analysis that justifies profit over illness and the sanctity of public school
is threatened to be flooded by the worst of PR campaigns to purport the myth of
sustainable growth, it is time to say: no more.
Pragmatists in the environmental movement, an eclectic hodgepodge of entities
that rarely agree on any forceful strategy to combat those who defend tobacco
or DDT needs to make a comeback, will claim; “woe is us”. The bad guys have appurtenance
beyond a calculator’s count, intoxicating arrogance of having one too many politicians
in their stables, and surrogate mouthpieces galore on the television and radio.
Yes, their propaganda ability is legendary and they have clones that preach the
doctrine of ecological illiteracy. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alan Caruba, Steve
Milloy, John Stossel, and Tony Snow form a puppet troupe that predictably refute
the danger of climate change, our mass extinction of species and our shrinking
supply of drinkable fresh water.
I pray a clarion call will rise from parents. Their maternal and paternal instincts
will trigger a mass response to the theft of their children’s inheritance and
this document may be the catalyst.
One reasonable glance at the World Wildlife Fund’s “Living Planet Report 2002”
a remarkable document by an environmental organization with some backbone illuminates
scientific trends that are undeniably sobering.
- Human economic activity has reduced by 35% the number of surviving animal
and bird species, as well as freshwater and marine fish species.
- Led by the United States’ consumptive prone lifestyle, we are using the world’s
resources by more than 20% higher than replacement levels.
- Within 50 years the planet will face a sharp drop in living standards.
This ominous set of facts is no surprise for the ecologically literate. And
you can be sure that industry’s “Pinocchio’s” (Hannity, Limbaugh, and their merry
band of obfuscators and illusionists) will put the best spin on this information.
The mean, anti-green team has an Achilles’ heel of immense proportions, and
now is the time to sever it. Despite their bite, pundits like Caruba and Stossel
epitomize the weakness in their common used arsenal. They are woefully ignorant
in ecological science and never will deal with hard questions. I have emailed
a number of these charlatans and they never address the direct questions.
I call it the Project Learning Tree strategy (Project Learning Tree is the
vehicle for the timber industry to avoid answering hard questions in schools)…or
the worst type of a lie is omission. The Alliance for America, who defends the
likes of Weyerhaeuser, Peabody Coal, and Exxon will not answer my questions about
why they are mute on the 1872 Mining Law, massive timber subsidies and illegal
timber cutting on public lands and the slaughter of predators on federal lands.
And their silence speaks volumes about the contempt they have for common working
people, their health, their communities, their children and their right to a sustained
planet. When was the last time you saw or heard an educated environmentalist on
the talk show circuit? Why…because once confronted with the truth, these pundits
dry up and blow away. John Stossel will not answer questions about using children
to further his anti-environmental education mantra, even though his own producers
tried to dupe me into being on his “Tampering With Nature” debacle and lied several
times when questioned.
Environmental activists need to turn up the heat on these empty suits, and
show them for what they are: highly paid liars and cheats. Parents must demand
that environmental science be a prerequisite for graduation of high school, citizens
must boycott television stations that refuse to have rational discussions on pressing
issues like extinction or corporate sponsored educational materials in schools.
Politicians who use the Senator John Kyl approach (Kyl glibly stated that environmentalists
are to blame for forest fires on national forests, and when he found out his data
was wrong, he didn’t apologize) must be shamed in public and held to the highest
standards of representing the will of the people, not the will of their corporate
There are no “win-win” scenarios, to be found with those who spike tobacco
or justify poisoning children to sell pesticides for profit, there is no compromise
to be made those who are liquidating our children’s options in the future. We
must act like elders and protect our offspring and we must start now.
There are those who question the act of “standing up in defiance of tyranny.”
And they say, put your trust in God. I do. I walk in the shadow of my savior.
And when Jesus stated, “turn the other cheek”, he didn’t intend for us to take
a beating. This action meant, “I am not afraid of you, and you will acknowledge
me.” And for those who twist religious words, I say shame. Matthew stated in the
bible, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the
other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both
God and Money.” In protecting children, we serve God. In protecting the creation,
we fulfill a promise to be the stewards of creation. Only the educated and motivated
masses can tear down the idols of greed and deceit that falsely shape our economic
and cultural status. Knowledge can be the sword and the eyes of our children our
The road to sanity will begin with a solitary stare…and the message that the
gloves are off. Anything less is morally inexcusable.
John F. Borowski is an environmental and marine science teacher of two decades
who lives in Philomath, Oregon. firstname.lastname@example.org.
His pieces have appeared in the UTNE Reader, N.Y. Times, PR Watch, Forest Voice,
CommonDreams.org, Liberal Slant, and CounterPunch.