Today’s big People’s Climate Marches in New York City and 150 countries around the world, mark a new stage in the fight to save the planet from what Naomi Klein calls "the raw terror of ecocide." One of the greatest challenges faced by the movement is taking on and countering one of the greatest propaganda and mis-education campaigns in history, underwritten by the biggest and most reactionary corporate defenders of unregulated global expansion of capital. Since school curriculum and education profiteers play a major role in this campaign (see Bill Bigelow's excellent piece on Scholastic Magazine's prettification of the coal industry), a good part of the responsibility for taking on this challenge falls on us educators.
Bill Moyers reports:
Slick public relations and advertising campaigns are underwritten to fool the public and smear the truthtellers. Foundations and think tanks have been created by industry just to create doubt and hammer away against the overwhelming evidence of climate disruption. Last year, the British newspaper The Guardian reported that between 2002 and 2010, via two right-wing groups, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, billionaires had given nearly $120 million to more than 100 anti-climate change groups. And the progressive Center for Media and Democracy revealed that a web of right-wing think tanks called the State Policy Network, affiliated with the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and funded to the tune of $83 million by companies including Facebook, AT&T and Microsoft, was pushing a had right agenda that includes opposition to climate change rules and regulations.
A new study from two groups, Forecast the Facts Action and the SumOfUs.org, says that since 2008, businesses have given campaign contributions to the 160 members of Congress who have rejected climate change that amount to more than $640 million. That includes Google, eBay, Ford and UPS; in fact, 90 percent of the cash came from outside the fossil fuel industry.Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, is a powerful antidote and provides educators with a great resource on the new environmentalism – one that focuses on systemic change rather than just go-green lifestyle choices.
According to Klein, climate change is not a problem that can be solved simply by markets or industry. Instead, it will require a massive reorganization of our political, economic, and social systems – one that, by both practical and moral necessity, must be driven by popular movements.