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Readers React: Portland schools’ courageous stand against climate-change denialism

Polar bears, which spend most their time at sea, are classified as a vulnerable species because climate change threatens their habitat.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: The Portland, Ore., school district is right to rid its textbooks of the manufactured doubt regarding the science of climate change. (“Portland schools tried to change how they teach climate change — and ignited a firestorm,” May 24)

Groups like the Heartland Institute have been spinning misinformation and outright lies about the reality of climate change for too long. They are funded by the carbon-based energy industry, the very people who profit from selling dirty energy that is causing our planet to get warmer.

Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely states that the kids are being “indoctrinated instead of taught how the scientific method works.” This is classic “merchant of doubt” doublespeak. What the Heartland Institute has been doing all along is indoctrinating the nation with lies about this very subject.

The Times should refrain from using Heartland as a source in the future.

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Paul Scott, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Even more important than accurate textbooks are well-informed teachers.

A Penn State University study found almost a third of science teachers tell students that recent global warming is likely due to natural causes when, in fact, greater than 95% of climate scientists are convinced that humans are causing global warming by burning fossil fuels. Half of the surveyed teachers allowed the students to discuss the supposed “controversy” over climate change without guiding students through the physics of how greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warm the planet.

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When I present a slide show on climate reality in my work as a Climate Reality Leadership Corps member, high school students are riveted; they intuit the subject’s over-riding significance to their futures. They understand they will soon need to make informed choices regarding conservation, energy sources and carbon pricing.

Updating textbooks will achieve little unless we provide teachers seminars in the science of global warming. Only then will they convey how the scientific method provides comprehension of our impact on the environment and the tools to save our future.

Sharon Markenson, Woodland Hills

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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